When Sammy loses the part in the school play, she becomes extremely angry and says cruel things to Kerri. Isn’t she overreacting a bit?

Of course she is. That’s what angry people do. I wanted to show that Sammy has a developing anger problem. When a person “loses his temper” that means he loses self-control, and almost anything can happen. Hasty words can destroy friendships and even spark long-term feuds. Sammy only resorts to words, but others may turn to physical violence to express their anger. We read stories in the paper nearly every day of adults becoming so angry that they run amok, hurting and even killing others. I think it’s important for young people to understand the hazards of indulging in a “temper tantrum” and to learn coping skills for defusing their anger before it blows up.

In the Mirror Door, Sammy and the cats go through many of the magical doors or gates. Sometimes there’s an obvious transition point, like the doors in the Hall of Doors or the Mirror Door. Others seem to be invisible and one could accidentally walk into another world. Did Selena’s people create these gates? Are we going to learn more about them?

I’m learning more about the gates as I go along. So far I know that Selena’s people discovered the gates, which were very old even then, and have explored many of them. Selena’s father (actually her step-father), who leads a coalition army against “The Darkness,” makes use of the gates in pursuing the enemy, but is also trying to block or guard the gates to keep the enemy out of his territory. The place where Selena lives is a hub, where one can transfer to many different places. No one understands exactly how it works, or even where it’s located, but it seems to be in an isolated bubble that can only be reached through the gates. Selena’s father built his castle around the Hall of Doors, which was already there. When Selena’s ancestral home, Ashenkeep, fell to the enemy, he retreated to this safe place and made it his headquarters. Selena maintains communications between all of their allies, and her soldiers guard the gates at the castle. Because the gates that connect to the Hall of Doors are constantly shifting, traveling to a specific place may require a longer route, jumping from one world to another, following a series of gates that always go to a known destination.

This journey seems a bit more dangerous than the previous ones, with wild dragons, flying carnivorous jellyfish, and those belligerent flowers. Why would Princess Selena send a child on such a mission?

Sammy has proved her courage and her ability to handle difficult situations. Selena may not have adults to spare. She must make the best use of the people (and cats) she has available. Perhaps she also felt that a child would have a better chance of getting information that an adult might miss.

Sammy and the fairy children give up all their treasures to buy back the rattle from the crows. Aren’t the crows getting off too easy?  Why didn’t the children just let the adults handle it?

The obvious answer is that this is a children’s book, so my readers will expect the children to solve the problem. I also believe that this is the way most children think and act.  It doesn’t occur to them to call in the adults if they can handle the situation themselves.  They also might think that asking the adults for help would be “telling” on the crows, which many children would consider dishonorable.  They do tell the adults after the fact, because some explanation is called for, but insist the crows should not be punished.  The children don’t see the crows as evil, but as equals with whom they’ve established a covenant. 

What comes next?  Are we going to see more of Selena’s father and learn about the war he’s fighting? 

Several adults have asked me about that, but I feel the war is outside the scope of these books, except as peripheral background.  Most children today are aware that there are wars going on; many have a parent away in the service.  I want to acknowledge that reality, without providing any more graphic details that would be unsuitable for younger readers.  My focus is on Sammy and her adventures.