Author: Cat Bordhi
ISBN Number: 0968236480
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
The following interview was conducted by E.Dian Moore & To read more about Dian Moore’s reviews click HERE
To read Dian's review of the book click HERE
Welcome, Cat, to BookPleasures. Thank you for this opportunity, and for the pleasure of being lost in the woods for a while.
Dian: There are many elements in this first book of "The Forest Inside" trilogy. Can you share some of your inspiration for
a. The knitted tree-house
Cat Bordhi: I love trees - and spent hours and hours in them as a child. I am a knitter as well, actually a knit designer and author, and it was natural for me to segue from knitting into knitting a tree house. It turns out to be a profoundly practical method of making a tree house which goes up and down quickly, does not harm the tree, and is very safe because it involves no nails or splinters, and you can cling to it anywhere with fingers or toes.
b. The seven acorns
Cat Bordhi: The tree I spent the most time in as a child was a California Live oak, with wonderful acorns. They always seemed magical to me - and still do.
c. The mystical Esther and who or what she represents:
Cat Bordhi: Esther just appeared. She represents the wisdom that comes from being old enough to have lived many lives and also old enough to be unattached to appearances, ideas, or other footholds in the ego's struggle. I did not invent her or think about her - she just "is".
Dian: Some of the situations Ben finds himself in are dangerous, and he gets into these situations by disobeying his parents. Young Adults will appreciate the small rebellions, but parents may be concerned, especially with the explicit scenes about the quicksand and using rope to climb the forbidden cliffs. With this in mind, what advice do you have for your young readers and their parents?
Cat Bordhi: This is a good question, one which my brother asked me after reading the book as well. I grew up in a large family and also spent a decade as a school teacher, so am very familiar with mischief and children's fondness of trying the "forbidden". The last thing I would want is for anyone to become harmed through reading my book, but I feel I have been very careful to safeguard against such things. The information about quicksand is accurate and who knows, it may save a life sometime if a reader knows to relax and not struggle. I do feel that the level of misbehavior the kids get into is very realistic, and in my opinion, realism offers parents and children a good forum for discussion. It is much safer to talk about what happens to characters in a book than to have your child try things out him or herself; my hope is that the book acts as a caution to children in certain areas.
Dian: Daggett is a complex character. Did you have a role-model for Daggett and will he have a larger role in subsequent books?
Cat Bordhi: My role-model for Daggett comes from several places. One, Ishi, the last Yahi Indian, and the subject of many books, this Rousseau-like man of nature also inspires Daggett as a boy when he discovers Ishi's artifacts in a museum in San Francisco. The other model for Daggett is far darker and not directly mentioned - and this is Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. I do consider Daggett to be "Everyman", the seemingly "bad" person who is in truth deeply good. Yes, Daggett will have a large role in both remaining books. In the prequel he will be a pivotal character - appearing as a youth along with the other older characters of Treasure Forest, also appearing in their youth. In the sequel Daggett will surprise you with what happens to him as he must continue his life "homeless" and far away from his kingdom of nature.
Dian: Have you knitted your own tree house?
Cat Bordhi: I have knitted several. In fact, if you go to my web site, catbordhi.com, you will find photos and directions and also several very detailed interviews with me about the book.
Dian: Where did the phrase, "the dearest freshness deep down inside" originate?
Cat Bordhi: This phrase comes from Gerard Manley Hopkins, the poet, from the most delicious poem, "God's Grandeur".
Dian: Will all the character introduced in Book I make an appearance in Book II?
Cat Bordhi: All the main characters, including Matthias the bloodhound, will appear in all three books.
Dian: This book is a journey of discovery into our inner-man and the intertwining spirits of all living creatures. Readers will absorb the meanings in this story based partly on their own spirituality, their understanding of fantasy and other things you have no control over. Ultimately, what is the message you wish your readers to take away from the book?
Cat Bordhi: My wish is that readers awaken from their time with my book with two things. One, a feeling that cannot be put into words, a feeling that the world is good and life is good and that the dearest freshness deep down things is indeed in all things and all beings. Two, I hope that readers find themselves experiencing life with a greater innocence and faith in themselves and others, that they notice that which is "invisible" yet powerfully felt in other people is of enormous value and worthy of love and respect. And I wish to bring people's awareness to nature more than it may be now.
Again, thank you for the opportunity.
Dian: Thanks so much for sharing your imagination, love for nature and for re-awakening the child in myself.