Q & A with Christine Brodien-Jones
Enter to Win an special give from Christine…
an Owl Adoption!!
A big BotH welcome to Christine Brodien-Jones, author of The Owl Keeper.
Welcome to Books on the House, Christine! I’ve always been fascinated with owls. Why did you choose an owl as a central figure in your book?
I’ve always found owls fascinating too! They’re silent, stealthy predators who possess this ethereal quality, as if they’ve flown down to earth from some other world. Over the centuries they’ve symbolized good fortune, wisdom, magic, the ability to see things that are hidden, and sometimes death. Owls are elegant, fierce and eerily beautiful.
Also owls are nocturnal and most of “The Owl Keeper” takes place in the night. I loved the idea of owls with silver feathers, and it was fun creating a myth around these magical creatures.
Tell us about the title, The Owl Keeper.
My agent, Stephen Fraser, suggested “The Owl Keeper” as the title, and I think it’s perfect. Like the cover illustration, the title is mysterious and evocative. It goes straight to the heart of the book, which is the story of Max and Rose’s journey in search of the Owl Keeper, an elusive being who must be summoned in times of great peril.
Your book has a really interesting element… Max is allergic to the light. Would you tell us about that element in The Owl Keeper?
While writing The Owl Keeper I was intrigued by a New York Times article
about children who attend camp held in the night-time because they’re unable to tolerate ultraviolet light. I also saw “The Others,” a spooky Gothic film about two siblings who are fatally allergic to sunlight. I kept trying to imagine what kind of life a child with this condition would have.
I knew from the beginning of “The Owl Keeper” that Max would be an outsider, cut off from the other children, so to make him even more solitary I decided to make him averse to sunlight. In the daytime he’s basically a prisoner inside his home and can only leave his house at night. Yet even though Max loves the darkness, he carries this special light inside him: I guess you could call it hope.
I love that you named your main female character Artemis. Does she have Artemis qualities? Did you give her this mythological name purposely?
Oh yes, I named her Artemis intentionally! And although she refers to herself as Rose, she identifies with the mythical Greek goddess. Artemis was known as the goddess of the night, the goddess of wild places and wild animals, the woodland goddess, the moon goddess. She was often depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.
Artemis Rose Eccles sees herself as wild and fearless and, like Max, she loves the night. The first time she meets Max she tells him “I’m named after the moon goddess Artemis! She was a free spirit who ran through the forest and shot her enemies through the heart with arrows.” That’s Rose in a nutshell.
Tell us about the adopt an owl program?
I adopted a rescue owl named Bianca through The Center For Wildlife (), a private nonprofit organization in Cape Neddick, Maine. Bianca, a barred owl, was hit by a car fifteen years ago and because of her injuries they were unable to release her into the wild.
The Center For Wildlife is dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned wild animals. Along with owls, they treat falcons, hawks, kestrels, turtles, opossums and bats, with the hope of returning them to their natural habitats. However, animals with severe injuries like Bianca’s remain at the Center to become “ambassadors” of their species. These animals are used in education and outreach programs to promote knowledge and appreciation of wild animals and their habitats.
By adopting an owl, the sponsor helps cover costs of food, medical treatment and daily care for one year. Sponsors receive a certificate naming them as the owl’s sponsor, a photograph of the adopted owl, information on its living habits, and the story of how the owl came to be living and working at the Center. It really is a special opportunity to bring a wild animal into your life!
That’s awesome! And as well as giving away 2 copies of The Owl Keeper, you’re also giving away an owl adoption. That is SO cool! Thank you for being here, Chris! I love this book and hope it soars!
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Misa, it’s been fun!