I’m hosting an interview today with a very special character: Mat, the Basement Brownie. Mat is a character from young adult fantasy “Root Bound”. If you want to find out more about “Root Bound”, you can find more info below the interview.
Hello and welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Oh, yes! Thank you so much for having me. I’m very happy to be here, wherever here actually is. Where is here? Oh, never mind. I’m sure it’s not as interesting as the Brownie Burrow. You should see it, especially in springtime. The smell of fresh root stew wafting across the Central Market is just heavenly. Heavenly, I tell you.
I’m sorry, what was the question, again?
Um, I asked you to tell us about yourself.
Oh, yes, right. I am Mat Rubblemaker. I am a basement brownie, obviously. What do you mean, that`s not obvious? Look at me! Brick red skin, dazzling intellect, standard issue brownie tunic. Oh, wait, you’re one of those human-monsters, aren’t you. And not very bright, hmmm? I thought that Emma-monster was the only one. Are ALL humans this dumb? How interesting. I’ll have to report this to the Upper Worlds Encyclopedic Knowledge Brigade. This will throw their whole Dewy Decibel system off, I’m sure. I’m sorry, why are you frowning and waving your hands around like that? Oh, I see. <clears throat>
As I said, I’m Mat Rubblemaker, and I’m a chief archivist and translator at Mr. Walter Widget’s Academy. Well, not a chief archivist, exactly. More like a standard archivist. A standard archive…assistant, actually. I help the chief archivist do very important work. Ok, Ok, I’m a student. But I did meet the chief archivist once. Really, I did.
Can you tell us more about Mr. Walter Widget’s Academy? What is school like for basement brownies?
Oh, it’s LOVELY! My favourite place in the universe. What’s that? No, I’ve really only ever lived in the Brownie Burrow, and the only time I left was to go fetch Emma from Over. But honestly, how much better can the universe be? Mr. Walter Widget is a genius, my teacher and mentor. For me and the other sixty hundred other students, I mean. I want to be like Mr. Walter Widget someday. Mat Rubblemaker, Genius. Yes, I can see it now. What’s that? Well, you don’t have to be so mean about it. Where was I? Oh, yes…the school.
The school is simply WONDERFUL. I mostly work in the Translations room when I’m not off adventuring and saving the world. I do that sometimes, you know. It would be SOOOO much easier if we didn’t have to drag that monster Emma around with us, though I will admit she did help a bit. In Translations, we turn stories into moving word pictures. It’s a bit difficult to explain here, but if you read ROOT BOUND, you’ll see us in glorious action.
I’m familiar with traditional brownies from Scotland and England. They live in people’s houses and sometimes do housework and small chores in the middle of the night. How are basement brownies different?
Ah, yes, the ancestors. Back in the old country, brownies quickly discovered that it was much more pleasant living inside people’s homes than shivering out on the heath. We’re naturally shy, though, so my ancestors kept hidden in the walls and only came out at night. But they were grateful for the hospitality, so they did housework as a way of showing their thanks.
We basement brownies are a bit different. We came to the big cities as they grew, and it wasn’t all that easy finding places to hide in apartments. So we burrowed down into the ground, below the buildings that had the most magic, and we created our burrows among the roots below. My personal biographer, Tanya Karen Gough, has written an longer explanation on her blog (http://emmaseries.blogspot.ca/2013/04/a-brief-history-of-brownies-fae.html).
You were part of the group of brownies who made first contact with humans when you discovered Emma. What was it like, interacting with people for the first time?
Oh! It was quite terrifying! First of all, we had no warning that the house would summon us when it did. The four of us – Piers, Truss, The Master Surveyor and myself – we were just minding our own business in the burrow, when suddenly SWOOOSH! Off we went, up through the gate that protects Under from the human world, through all sorts of pipes and hollow spaces in the walls until we came tumbling into Emma’s room through the vent. I’m telling you, it was horrifying! Tumbling around in the dark, all that swishing and swooshing…and then, at the end, to be confronted by that…that…MONSTER! Oh, it was dreadful! Dreadful, I tell you! By Foundation, I’d never seen anything so horrifying in my short little life! She was enormous. No, not enormous…eNOOORmous! Yes, that’s it. And pale…so pale…like a ghost or a ghoogily thing. Great shivering timbers, the memory is making me woozy. I think I need to go lie down now. Maybe have a nice bowl of root stew. So nice to meet you, though. Please read ROOT BOUND to learn more about me and my friends!
About Root Bound
Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Genre: YA Fantasy
How far will you go to find your way home?
Emma and her father 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.
Haunted by visions of her mother, 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 release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
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.