Brandon:  Glad I caught you out here on your porch, Mrs. P-V. Do you have a few minutes?

 Mrs. P-V:  For you, Brandon, certainly.

Brandon:  Our English class nominated you ‘Writer in Residence’.

Mrs. P-V

Mrs. P-V:  An honour … to be sure. Am I required to do anything?

Brandon:  Nothing too demanding. You’ll be the resource person for the seven of us doing book reports on your writing.

Mrs. P-V:  That’s nice, Brandon. I’ll make sure to give each of you some time…

Brandon:  You wouldn’t have some time right now, would you? I’m reviewing The Shushan Citadel, and I brought a notebook … just in case.

Mrs. P-V:  Have you read the book yet?

Brandon:  Of course… suspense, intrigue, espionage, romance!

Mrs. P-V:  Well then, have a seat.

Brandon:  Let’s start with the genre. I love science fiction, but I understand this book is a work of speculative fiction. What exactly is that?

Mrs. P-V:  It’s a sci-fi subgenre, and in the case of The Shushan Citadel, it’s a what-if look at the world following a global disaster known as the Desolation.

Brandon:  Did you have to do a lot of research on comets and meteorites for the Desolation stuff?

The Desolation

Mrs. P-V:  Every book I write is thoroughly researched because readers enjoy fiction infused with reality. Plus I like to surprise them with interesting tidbits of information.

Brandon:  So the same would be true of harems and monasteries and citadels, I’d think.

Mrs. P-V:  Most definitely.

Brandon:  Do you enjoy doing research and, secondly, how do you go about it?

Mrs. P-V:  I can honestly say I love researching. It’s the fun part of writing. How do I go about it? I read, visit places, take photos, talk to people.

Brandon:  And then what?

Mrs. P-V:  I daydream.

The Book of Esther

Brandon:  It’s cool the way you use the Book of Esther as the foundation of your story. Who is your favorite character?

Mrs. P-V:  Perhaps Abbess Brigid, but I’d enjoy spending time with several of the characters.

Brandon:  I like how General Haz morphs into a tyrant, then builds a palace fortress and creates a harem.

Mrs. P-V:  What do you think about the way he treats the Shushan population?

Brandon:  Oh, he’s heartless for sure. He even includes students attending Shushan University and tourists stranded at Shusha World, his amazing theme park, as his so-called subjects.

Mrs. P-V:  Right.


Brandon:  But it’s good his neighbours at the monastery island and in the First Nations community aren’t defenseless.

Mrs. P-V:  Did you pick up that the dún in Abbey Trádún and DúndirkaNoka means fort.

Brandon:  I did, which brings me to the next question. Can you talk a bit about the Intelligence forces?

Abbey Tradun

Mrs. P-V:  The abbey and indigenous people had their own undercover arrangements prior to the Desolation.

Brandon:  To protect themselves against terrorist attacks.

Mrs. P-V:  Yes, and now the Jewish underground develops at the Citadel to thwart General Haz and his Governors. It’s inevitable for the three services to work together against a common enemy.

Harem at the Citadel

Brandon:  Hadassah – who becomes Esther – is the perfect recruit to plant at the Citadel.

Mrs. P-V:  Guess what, Brandon. I’ve just had a book trailer created for The Shushan Citadel.

Brandon:  Awesome. When can I see it?

Mrs. P-V:  I’ll be revealing it on Facebook and Twitter in another few days.

Brandon:  Perfect timing for my book report.