Profile: Natasha Deen
By Helen Kubiw, August 2018
Natasha Deen aspired to be a superhero as a child, and when she and her family moved to Canada from the unrest in Guyana, she could have used those extraordinary skills to help navigate school as the only mixed race (Chinese, African, West-Indian, East-Indian) child in her classroom. Though she didn’t end up working as a superhero, she did become a writer, and her experiences and the skills she developed to thwart evil wrongdoers–hiding in the shadows, sneaking around, thinking like a spy or investigator–have all contributed to her success as an author.
Natasha Deen has been called the princess of YA paranormal murder mysteries and her most recent series, the Guardian series, supports this moniker. The series, which began with Guardian (Great Plains Teen Fiction, 2014), followed by Gatekeeper (2016) and culminating with Game’s End (2017), has teen Maggie Johnson of Dead Falls, Alberta learning that she is a Guardian. She’s tasked with helping both the living and the dead, including transitioning souls and keeping bad spirits away. Coupled with the dead Serge, her supernatural boyfriend Craig, plucky best friend Nell, and her father and his girlfriend sheriff, Maggie solves murders and tries to keep everyone safe while hiding her paranormal abilities from those outside her inner circle.
In addition to the Guardian series, teen readers will be familiar with Natasha Deen’s contributions to the Retribution series from Orca Book Publishers, two three-book sets, written with Sigmund Brouwer (also reading at this year’s Eden Mills Writers’ Festival in the Children’s area) and Judith Graves. The series entwines the stories of three very different teens seeking to right injustices they have witnessed. In Natasha Deen’s books, Burned (2015) and Terminate (2017), her character Josie is looking for those responsible for the death of her mother and younger siblings, and then for those doing harm to street youth. They are action-packed, gritty stories of life on the street and making alliances for good.
From paranormal mysteries and powerful novels about teens seeking justice, as well as her fairy cop True Grime series and Lark early reader stories, Natasha Deen has found her superpower in writing. Lucky for us, she’s sharing it with readers at this year’s Eden Mills Writers’ Festival!