Read on for a fantastic interview with Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai, authors of The House on Hoarder Hill and The Magician’s Map.
A special interview with the authors of The Magician’s Map and The House on Hoarder Hill!
Those who have read middle-grade novel ‘The House on Hoarder Hill’ will be familiar with the hilarious duo, Doug the bear skin rug and Stan the stag head. Who better to interview Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai, the authors of this spooky, magical adventure and its sequel, ‘The Magician’s Map’!
Stan: Mikki and Kelly, what an auspicious occasion! We have a great many questions about our new adventure, ‘The Magician’s Map’.
Doug: I have a question. Did anyone bring snacks?
Stan: No, Douglas, we do not have snacks. Besides, you’re a rug, you don’t even have a stomach. Now let’s dive in with the most commonly-asked question: which character beginning with the letter S is your favourite?
Stan: Other than Spencer.
Doug: Ha, Soumitra! Let’s get into some real questions, Mr. Fancy Pants. Kelly and Mikki, what is ‘The Magician’s Map’ about?
K & M: The first book was about the world inside John’s house, but in ‘The Magician’s Map’ we open up the extraordinary world beyond it! The family attend an underground festival called the Fantastikhana, which is a tournament and carnival for the hidden community of magicians. Hedy becomes the bearer of a living map that settles into her skin, and which could lead the way to long-lost artefact of immense power. She has to journey across the UK through magical tunnels called the Slip, while Spencer tries to keep the ruling group of magicians, the Sleight, from finding out she has escaped. There’s a troll, giants, a poltergeist, a treasure hunter and many other new creations we had huge fun with.
Stan: Fear not, readers! Douglas and I are BACK, and our entrance is nothing short of spectacular! I presume that writing a sequel to a book that is so loved could be very challenging. What did you find most difficult about writing ‘The Magician’s Map’?
K & M: Only the biggies – story, time and structure!
The most difficult was to come up with another adventure and characters that readers will connect with. We were itching to go beyond John’s house and expand our universe, but it can be paralysing to have endless possibilities.
Time was a challenge because we had far less time to write it than ‘The House on Hoarder Hill’. We started with a tighter plan for the adventure and even though we ended up deviating from the plan a lot, it helped us get started.
Lastly, we unwittingly set ourselves a structural hurdle in that the first book was told exclusively from Hedy’s point of view, but for this book we split the siblings up and alternate between Hedy and Spencer’s perspectives. So that was a slightly tricky new dance we had to learn.
Doug: What are your two favorite parts of the book?
Mikki: Ohhh that’s a hard decision! I am going to go with the ‘Mystify Me’ tent and Kelpie King.
Kelly: Yes, the Kelpie King’s rhyming battle was very fun to write. And I have a soft spot for a scene at the end in the park by Edinburgh Castle.
Stan: You came up with some new fantastical items in ’The Magician’s Map’, what were your favourites?
Mikki: The cheetah spots that can make you run fast and the Whisker Wish!
Kelly: I’d love both the blanket fort and the troll’s whisker myself!
THE MAGICIAN’S MAP: A Hoarder Hill Adventure by Mikki Lish & Kelly Ngai is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House) Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com