Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January Meeting Wrap-Up & Author Interview!

The Book Buddies Book Club met this past Monday, January 26th to discuss The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. We had a wonderful book discussion beginning with the topic of historical mysteries and other books of that genre that we've read and enjoyed. We talked about Sherlock Holmes and what we knew about him prior to reading the Enola Holmes mystery. We also talked about codes and ciphers and why Enola's mother chose to communicate with her that way.

Most of our club members really liked Enola because they felt she was adventurous. They all thought she was very brave for searching for her mother on her own. We all unanimously agreed that it was okay for Enola's mother to hide the money Mycroft sent her, money that was intended to be used around the estate. We decided she had no other choice because the Victorian rules concerning inheritances after a husband's death were very unfair. She should have been left her husband's money instead of it going directly to the oldest son (Mycroft). We also felt it was right since she left the bulk of it to Enola for her future.

We talked about how things might have been different for Enola and her mother if her father were still alive and why Enola put her own plans aside to help solve the case of the missing Lord Tewksbury.

Finally we discussed whether or not Enola will make it on her own in London (we were split on this - some of us felt she would make it because she had a lot of money and was very smart, others felt she was too young and it would be too much responsibility to take care of herself) and whether or not Sherlock and Mycroft will ever catch up with her (everyone felt that eventually Sherlock would catch her, if only because he's a great detective). I guess we'll have to read on in the series to find out for sure!

The highlight of our meeting was our phone interview with the author, Nancy Springer. We asked her how she decided on the case of the missing marquess as Enola's first case. She said that she couldn't just have the case of Enola's missing mother because if that was solved right away there woudn't be a series of books. Enola on her own and running from her brothers who want to send her to boarding school is the premise of the series. She needed to bring in a second case, something that Enola would stumble onto by accident. Also she was reading a book about a missing boy whose clothes are discovered torn up in the woods and that gave her the inspiration for Lord Tewksbury.

We also talked about the wonderful cover which Ms. Springer is very happy with, although she doesn't have any direct involvement with the design of her books. She pointed out the hidden letters and numbers in the trees, including the numbers 221 for 221 Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes.

In terms of her favorite author, she's always been fond of Tolkien but her favorite changes according to her mood and who she's reading. She's also a fan of Patricia MacLachlan. When asked if she likes to solve mysteries she said that she's not good at finding lost things but that she writes about what she wishes she could do. She's fascinated by different ways to hide things and finding great hiding places that people wouldn't expect. She had fun thinking of all the hiding places for Enola's mother to hide all of Mycroft's money.

She described her writing process for us and said that it takes between 3 - 5 years to write a book from the very beginning to the final version.

Finally her idea for a younger sister for Sherlock Holmes came out of her being a feminist and wanting to write from the female point of view. She said that she'd been reading Sherlock Holmes since she was a child and that he doesn't have much use for women. Sherlock doesn't understand a lot of things about women and that made her want to create a sister for him, someone who would understand Victorian women and things like the language of flowers and how a home works.

The best part of writing for Ms. Springer is the writing itself. She has written more than 50 books and loves to write. She's grateful to be able to do something that she loves and something that allows her to create her own schedule. She also said that there will be a total of 6 Enola Holmes stories.

Ms. Springer was delightful to talk with and thoughtfully answered all of our questions. We thank her for her time and are eager to continue our journey with Enola in her next adventure!

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