Tell us a bit about your book.
Pandas on the Eastside is a historical middle grade fiction set in the downtown east side of Vancouver in the early 1970s.
What was the catalyst for your story?
My daughter was talking about pandas one day and she said something about the Eastside and I thought that sounded interesting, so it went from there. I decided to use the real life arrival of Ling Ling and Hsing-Hsing
What was your favourite book as a child and why?
I read The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards over and over and I loved it. I think it was because of the idea of a portal to another world. I loved the Narnia books for the same reason.
In your opinion, what makes a compelling story?
The main character has to be strongly motivated to their goal and the consequences of not attaining the goal need to be dire, either physically or emotionally.
Does your book have a niche or specialty market?
I aimed to write a sophisticated novel that was suitable for kids graduating from early chapter books.
Do you gravitate toward a certain genre or type of writing? Why?
I write a lot of different genres but I tend to go for very character driven narratives and very personal voices.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
I hope people can talk a bit about how far we’ve come since the early 70s with regards to education, race, disability and politics. What things have changed? What hasn’t changed but should?
Tell us a little known or interesting fact about yourself.
I design book covers for romance authors.
Gabrielle Prendergast is a UK-born Canadian/Australian who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and daughter. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. A part-time teacher and mentor, Gabrielle is the author of the verse novels Capricious and Audacious, which was shortlisted for a CLA Award, and The Frail Days in the Orca Limelights. For more information, visit www.angelhorn.com.