"The teenage years are a key time for working out who you are and forming authentic relationships and I think those things are especially hard in our current context of immersive game worlds and social media," she tells me. "And if it's like this now, what will it be like to be a teenager in a future time when everyone dives into virtual worlds? What would it be like if people relied on VR headsets the same way we rely on smartphones? What would it be like to spend more time interacting in the virtual world than the physical world? And what might happen to a teenager whose social media posts bring her to the attention of some dangerous and powerful people?"
Canobi explores these ideas and situations in Mindcull and especially in Mindcull's strong, independent and feisty protagonist Eila. Canobi loves strong female leads. She credits the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Tomorrow series by John Marsden as some of her biggest inspirations because both Suzanne Collins and John Marsden have strong female protagonists in their stories. Having a gutsy female character is important to Canobi. She is a mum of four, three of whom are now teenagers like Eila. "I want my daughter to read about complex, interesting girls who wrestle with big ideas and whose thoughts don't centre on how people look," Canobi tells me. "I want her to read about girls whose goals in life are bigger than getting together with a special boy."