written by Tanya Karen Gough
published by Baba Yaga Press
About the book: Root Bound is a fast-paced, action fantasy novel about a young girl finding her place in the world through a series of adventures involving magical creatures, and a journey to the centre of the earth. Root Bound is both a topsy-turvy riff on traditional literary children’s fantasy and an allegorical coming-of-age tale.
Emma and her father, a jazz musician, are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside.
School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom. They are searching for the Wanderer, a powerful being who can help free the Crown Prince of Under from the black magic prison that holds him. Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world. There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to free the prince, release her mother from the sea of memory, and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
The steps grew louder, until they were right outside the door. The brownies clung to Emma, shivering in fear.
“What do I do?” Emma whispered, the words sticking in her throat. The brownies looked around. Truss tugged at her shirt frantically and pointed.
“There!” she gasped. Emma followed her arm, which pointed toward the wall.
“There’s nothing there. Just a wall.”
“Not the wall. The vent,” Piers cried out, clutching her collar. “Down there, along the baseboards.”
“But I can’t fit in there,” Emma whispered urgently. “I’m too big!” Just then the doorknob rattled.
“GO!” the brownies screamed in unison as the knob turned and the door began to creak open.
Emma didn’t know what else to do, so she scooted out from under the bed and ran toward the air vent. The brownies clung to her, grabbing her ears, her nose and even the edges of the book, hanging on for dear life.
“Jump!” Mat screamed in her ear.
“There’s no time! Jump! Jump NOW!”
She was so afraid, she couldn’t even think straight.
“Jump NOW!” Piers shouted.
“Slip through! You can do it!” a voice echoed in her ears. She did not know if it was one of them shouting or herself.
Emma took a deep breath and looked once more toward the bedroom door. It rattled and shook, and the doorknob started to turn. She turned back to the wall and looked at the tiny vent near the floorboards. Then she did something she never thought she would do.
About the author: Tanya Karen Gough owned and published The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue from 1997-2007, earning a strong international customer base of world class academics and high school educators.
Tanya was also a contributing editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria (BC), audio advisor for the Sourcebooks Shakespeare textbook series, and theatre reviewer for Playshakespeare.com. Tanya grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.