Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Mystery Guest -- Revealed!

Here we are again (after a brief weekend pause) to enter into our final week of celebrations for the launch of my story A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.

Sharing our celebration today is this mysterious horsewoman, author, mother, teacher and editor. (Whew!)

Let's unmask (and in the case of the horse, unmoustache) them both, shall we?

It's Anita Daher! Anita is the author of a whole pile of books for kids and teens -- her most recent middle grade adventure story is called POACHERS IN THE PINGOS, and just last week her young adult novel SPIDER'S SONG was nominated for a Manitoba Book Prize.

Darby Christopher: Welcome, Anita! A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

Anita Daher: I was born in Summerside, PEI, but left there when I was five years old, and continued moving. Seventeen times thus far. I consider myself pretty lucky to have lived in some pretty amazing places growing up—Baker Lake, NU, Churchill, MB, Moose Jaw, SK.

It was tough “reinventing” myself with every move, but this probably helped make me the writer I am today…scattered, confused about where I am at any given moment, and constantly shifting personalities. Oh…did I say that out loud? Kidding!

DC: Summerside! My new story takes place very nearby, in Charlottetown, PEI. So where do you live now?

AD: Winnipeg, Manitoba. My husband was born and raised here, and early in our marriage would go on and on about how Winnipeg produces the best in Canada—best chocolate, best sausage, best artists, best speed-skaters, best politicians, best media moguls, best TV game show hosts…it went on and on and drove me crazy! Now that I’ve lived here five years I see his point.

DC: Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid? Can you tell me one?

AD: Sure! One of the things that happens when you move around as much as we did, is you talk a lot about where you came from. There are many interesting stories, but the one that has intrigued and confounded me most is the mystery of my mom’s family name.

The story goes that many years ago during times of conscription, two brothers from Ireland were away attending school, and one day while walking down the road in Liverpool, minding their own beeswax, they were scooped up and forced to join the British Navy. They didn’t want to be there, and after docking in Nova Scotia in 1819 they jumped ship. So that they wouldn’t be easily tracked (and no doubt executed for desertion) they took the name of their oldest brother—who was still in Ireland—as their family name: Job. Over time the name morphed to “Jobe” and for my cousins, “Jobes” (mistake on the birth certificate). The original family name has been lost, though my mom’s aunt remembered hearing the name when she was a child.

Beyond family story I have a record of Nova Scotia pioneer families called Cape North and Vicinity by Rev. D. MacDonald published in 1933. In it he writes: “Donald Job Shipped on a brig in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the spring of 1819, bound for Quebec, but calling at Sydney, C.B. (Cape Breton), on the way, he deserted, and hired for a year with James A Wilkie.” The accounting carries on with an accounting of Donald’s spouse, children, and his children’s children. It is an amazing record to have.

DC: That is a very cool mystery! In my new story, I got a taste of what it was like to immigrate to Canada from Ireland. It was NO FUN at all. But to bring us back to the present, can you ride a skateboard?

AD: I am famously uncoordinated, so no. My characters can, though!

DC: AND the characters in your story TWO FOOT PUNCH can do Parkour, too. So I guess that makes up for it. Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

AD: Well, I am very good a baking, and not terrible at playing my guitar when no one is around to listen. My music talent is like the magic carriage that turns back into a pumpkin after midnight, except it is after midnight as soon as anyone enters a room I am playing in. I am an excellent horse groomer (the owner of the stable where my daughter and I board horses keeps offering me a job), and I’m learning to be a much better rider.

DC: I have to admit, I am a city girl, so horses make me a little nervous. But when I was in Charlottetown, I had a chance to take a peek into the past. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

AD: Europe, early 20th century: Ezra Pound, DH Lawrence, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway…oh yeah!

DC: Anyone special you’d like to meet?

AD: I would like to sit down at a cafĂ© table with James Joyce and D H Lawrence. They might not have cared for each other, but I’ll bet they could still have an interesting and stimulating conversation. I’d also like to meet Johnny Depp. Can you help me out with that, Darby?

DC: to tell you the truth, not one of the pirates I met on board The Elizabeth looked anything like Johnny Depp. Sorry about that, Anita! Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

AD: Oh gosh, which one? I will launch the 3rd in my JCR series on April 29, am finishing a northern teen thriller, and am researching a next teen book. This last I am very excited about, as in the name of thorough research I will be helping to herd and work with free-range horses in northern BC this summer! It doesn’t get much better than that!

The next JCR book is called ON THE TRAIL OF THE BUSHMAN. JCRS Tommy, Jaz and Colly are all back, and while narrowly avoiding disaster at a summer camp south of Whitehorse, Yukon, they end up in the mountains on the trail of a bushman…who might actually be trailing them. But, is it a bushman, or is it the terrifying Windigo?

DC: WHOA! Now that sounds exciting! I'm going to have to meet Tommy, Jaz and Colly one day. So, when Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?

AD: Mmmm…nothing beats jellybeans. I LOVE jellybeans!

DC: If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

AD: Actually, I’m pretty much all over the Internet. You can find out a whole lot if you just Google my name…but don’t go believing those rumours about me and Johnny Depp. They aren’t true! Well, not all of them…

DC: Okay, if you say so. I'm going to go look you both up, just in case. Thanks for being here, Anita!

And if you'd like to win a copy of one of Anita's very cool books, why not leave your name in the comment section below. How about letting me know which scares you the most -- skateboarding or horseback riding! Special bonus points for those who have tried parkour and want to tell me about it.

Back tomorrow with our Tuesday Mystery Author. See you then!



  1. Skateboarding scares me - I love horses! I ride my sister's every chance I get!!!

  2. Totally horseback riding! I think I did it briefly once in my life (can not recall) but it would be so much fun! Haha, sorry, skateboards would give me much more bruises!

  3. I've never been on a horse but I have ridden a camel and I can tell you it is a pretty scary experience!!!!


  4. Gosh, I can't say that I'm scared of either. I love horses and I've tried skateboarding. However, even contemplating Parkour scares me. I tend to trip over my own feet and walk into walls when turning corners. :)

  5. Spider's Song sounds like a great book. I can't say I am scared of either but I don't think I am particularly good at either.

  6. i think horse back riding is definitely scarier, i mean there is this horse that got it's own mind and can decide to not listen to me, now compared to that a skateboard is so tame :)

  7. I've never tried skateboarding before, but it's something I feel like I would like, since I also like to ride horses. (Don't get to do that very often though!)