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Original Essays | June 20, 2014 1 comment
It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »
N. D. WilsonDescribe your latest project.
One Hundred Cupboards is the first installment in a fantasy cycle that I've had brewing in me for quite some time. The adventure, set in Kansas, begins when a long-sheltered boy named Henry York discovers 99 small cupboard doors hidden under plaster in an attic wall. Together, Henry and his impulsive cousin Henrietta, work to open the none-too-friendly doors, discovering that each cupboard leads to a different place an island hill, a busy post office, a cold throne room, and even a grandfather clock. It isn't long before they discover that the cupboards were hidden for a reason, but by then, it may be too late.
I've always thought Gandalf would be a handy acquaintance. You know, for when I'm stuck in those dark places, or the goblins have gotten to the ponies.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
Okay, that's a cop-out. I would love to live (could I just visit?) in Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Especially if I got to stick close to Sam Vimes, and if I could still hear Pratchett's narration while I wandered the streets of Ank-Morpork.
What is your favorite literary first line?
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Why do you write books for kids?
I have written short stuff for adults (and plan on doing more), but even then I'm trying to capture a childish perspective and deliver it with a blunt, innocent humor.
What is your favorite family story?
They were preparing to move out of their apartment. Knox, their son, was a solid, round-cheeked one-year-old. One morning, while brushing his teeth, Ben saw a mouse meandering down the hall. After consulting with himself, he decided there was no good reason to tell his wife. After all, they would be moving soon. But the next morning a tunnel had been carved through a loaf of bread and the kitchen counter had been decorated with... spoor.
Bekah was soft-hearted, and she had a toddler moseying around the house. She didn't want to shed the poor rodent's blood, and she really didn't want traps or poison around for Knox to find. That night, when Knox had been packaged in a too-small, red union-suit and tucked into bed, Ben placed a large bucket beside their couch. He balanced a ruler between the bucket and the couch and glopped some peanut butter on the end hanging over the bucket. The theory was as follows: the mouse would walk out on the ruler, eager for peanut butter. The weight of the mouse would then overbalance the little bridge and the rodent would fall into the bucket. The still-living creature could then be released into a park or some such. Ben and Bekah went to bed full of confidence, and pleased with their generous spirit of forgiveness and live-and-let-live.
In the morning, my sister went out to check the trap. The ruler had indeed fallen into the bucket, the peanut butter had been consumed, but the mouse was nowhere to be seen. Signs of the rodent's indignation were scattered all over the arm of the couch. In the dining room, vengeful droppings had also been spread around the center of the table. Bekah's anger was quickly growing, and at that moment, Knox began yelling in his bed. "Sheep! Sheep!" came the toddler's cry. Bekah hurried into his room. Knox was sitting up in his crib. He pointed to his chest, and then to his dresser.
"Sheep," he said again. In the middle of his red union-suited chest was a small wet spot, and in the middle of the wet spot was a single mouse dropping. The rodent had fully retaliated, hunkering down on a one year-old's chest, no doubt looking him in the eye while he did his evil deed. Knox, being inexperienced at that age, had identified the creature as a sheep.
Shakespeare: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I can testify to the fact that "Hell hath no fury like a woman with a pooped on child." My sister discovered anger like she had never known. Ben converted the apartment into a warehouse of death-traps, they put Knox in the car, and left for the day.
That night I received a phone call from my plump nephew. "Sheep, bye-bye," he said.
And there was great rejoicing.
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
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N. D. Wilson is a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews College, where he teaches classical rhetoric to freshmen. He is also the managing editor for Credenda/Agenda magazine, a small Trinitarian cultural journal. He lives in Moscow, Idaho with his wife and four children.