Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life

Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life

For Ages: 9 - 13

I look at the clock: 4:23 a.m. In approximately three hours I have to wake up again to go to school, and I haven't even gone to sleep yet. How can I possibly care about pop quizzes, bad hair days, and beauty makeovers now that I've found a major clue to the true identity of my missing father?


Subject: Portia Avatar -- Girl Psychoanalytic Detective

Background material: Twelve years old. Lives with earth mom, Indigo, and gray-and-white cat (who thinks he's a dog) named Frederick. To date, Portia does not know the whereabouts of her mysterious father, Patch.

Recent developments: An earthquake shakes up Portia's sleepy hometown of Palmville, California. A photograph of Patch is uncovered. Portia's life, as she knows it, is about to change forever.
Choose a format:
  • Aladdin | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416948933 | 
  • March 2008 | 
  • Grades 4 - 8
List Price $5.99
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About the Author

Anna Hays
Peg McCarthy

Anna Hays

Anna Hays is a writer and producer for a variety of formats and media including books, toys, theme parks, film, and television. Anna lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their twin sons.


Author Revealed

Anna Hays
Q. how did you come to write Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life?

A. I was working as a creative director in interactive media and coming up with a lot of ideas about how to tell stories using emerging technology and new narrative tools. As a fun exercise, I first worked on the Portia idea as an interactive series for the Web, but that never ended up going anywhere. That was a little over ten years ago. But I couldn't shake Portia from my brain. I started to grow very attached to her as a character and as a way for me to explore my voice. I wanted to take the story further, so I spun the story into a book. The first draft of the book consisted of several mystery cases about people in Portia's world, including one about her missing father. Almost immediately, I had interest from the television world and spent a little more than three years developing it as a series. But regimes changed and so did marketing teams, and Portia went into "turnaround" and never made it onto the air. I put the project aside and continued in my work as a concept designer and writer for theme park attractions, toys, animation and interactive media experiences. A few years later, I met literary agent Dan Lazar online and I told him about Portia. He asked to look at the first five pages, and I immediately emailed them to him. That same afternoon he asked for the first fifty pages! Then I took off for Telluride, Colorado where my husband was part of a film festival. I remember that I was up on a beautiful lush green mountaintop staying at ski condo with a magnificent view. We had just connected our computers and there was an email waiting for me from Dan telling me he loved the book! I was 10,000 feet above sea level, but it felt much higher!

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