Today it is my pleasure to feature fellow Kid Lit Author’s Club: http://www.kidlitauthorsclub.com member David Neilsen, who will tell us a bit about his new middle grade fantasy – with plenty of humor throughout – BEYOND THE DOORS (Crown Books for Young Readers 2017). I recently read the book and was delighted with the story, which follows the adventures of four siblings. My review can be seen on the link below. Here’s David:
We sat down with the four Rothbaum siblings to ask them about their new lives living with their Aunt Gladys as well as the strange circumstances surrounding Aunt Gladys’ doors. Below are their answers.
Janice Rothbaum, age 12
Our Aunt Gladys is… strange. And not ‘good’ strange. No, more like ‘freaky and maybe dangerous’ strange. I don’t know. It’s hard to trust her when she keeps so many secrets. And how do we even know she’s our aunt? We’ve never heard of her! Zack says there must be some explanation, but I think the explanation is simply that she isn’t our aunt. Which then begs the question, who is she? And why is she taking the four of us in?
She’s up to something, that’s easy to see. I mean look at her house! There are no doors! Anywhere! I find that very suspicious. Actually, that’s not exactly correct, though, is it? I mean we found the doors. And then Sydney went and opened one and…
Nothing good will come of this.
Zack Rothbaum, age 11
Our Aunt Gladys is harmless. She may not be all there, if you know what I mean, but there isn’t an evil bone in her body. She’s… kooky. Nothing wrong with kooky.
Her house, on the other hand, is a death trap. There aren’t any doors between rooms, not even the bathroom! And that means drafts flow through the entire house! And if there were a fire or something, it would just sweep through the place, burning us all to a crisp. Then there’s the stairs, which are way too steep. A kid could die falling down those stairs! Alexa almost did!
But, of course, it’s all the doors in the center of the house that are the real danger, the ones Aunt Gladys hooks up to her impossible machine. Every time she hooks one of them up to that brass frame and turns on the power the danger level skyrockets. You won’t believe what’s beyond the doors. I don’t even know if I believe it, and I’ve lived it. Sydney tries to convince us it’s all safe, but how would she know? She’s just excited to have ‘an adventure’ which is another way of saying ‘do something dangerous.’
Because those things are dangerous. I don’t care what Aunt Gladys says. Every time she hooks up one of her doors and walks through them, she’s putting everyone’s life in danger.
Because doors work both ways. She may like to go in, but what if something decided to come out?
Sydney Rothbaum, age 9
Thank goodness for the doors.
I mean this whole business has been awful. First Dad gets hurt, then the four of us have to go live with a crazy woman we’ve never even met! You’d think living in a ring-shaped house might be fun. But it’s so boring! There’s nothing to do. No video games, no basketballs or tennis balls or balls of any kind, nothing to blow up or set on fire. Boresville.
But then we found Aunt Gladys’ doors. Talk about cool! I mean Aunt Gladys may be missing a few screws, but that machine of hers is cool! Just hook up one of those doors, flip some switches, and pow! Flashes of blue lightning, bright white light, it is so mad scientist! And on the other side…
Zack’s afraid. What else is new? He’s all ‘We have to be sensible’ and ‘We have to take precautions’ and such. He needs to live a little. There’s nothing scary or dangerous about Aunt Gladys’ doors. At least, I don’t think so.
Alexa Rothbaum, age 7
Aunt Gladys is funny. And she’s Mommy’s sister so she knows Mommy! Maybe she knows where Mommy is, or why Mommy left six years ago, or when Mommy’s coming back. I bet she’d tell us. I can fix her a bowl of Honey-Nut-Oat-Blast-Ring-a-Dings. It’s her favorite. It’s also the only food in the house. That’s weird.
I wanna walk through the door. The one with the pretty blue lightning. One of the ones, anyway. She has a lot of them. Funny, she has lots of doors in the big room, but no doors anywhere else in the house. That’s weird.
Zack doesn’t want me to go through the door. He says it’s dangerous and I’ll get hurt and stuff. And Janice doesn’t want me to go through the door. Actually, she doesn’t want anyone to go through the door, not even herself. Sydney’s fine with her and me going through the door. But Zack and Janice are bigger and think they get to tell us what to do. Zack treats me like I’m a baby. I’m not a baby. I’m seven!
Mommy wouldn’t treat me like a baby. If she were here. Hey! Maybe Mommy’s on the other side of the door!
DAVID NEILSEN is the author of two Middle Grade horror/comic/fantasies published by Crown Books for Young Readers: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom (2016) and Beyond the Doors (2017). A classically trained actor, David works as a professional storyteller based in Sleepy Hollow, NY and spends much of October spooking the bejeebers out of people or performing one of his one-man shows based on and inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. He lives with his wife, son, daughter, and two very domineering cats.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2211282452 link to Darlene’s review on Goodreads