Torben Kuhlmann’s ever-inventive, always-adventurous mice return
Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure
“Kuhlmann has created another science-based adventure full of delightful details.” – School Library Journal STARRED review.
Here, Torben answers a few questions from readers.
Where does your love of inventions and discoveries come from? Andrea, age 50
My fascination with inventions was already obvious even when I was a child. But where it actually came from I don’t honestly know. At nursery school, my favorite books were always non-fiction, and I used to do a lot of drawings of things I read about. I always wanted to know how things work and why they are as they are. Later I was obsessed with the idea of one day building an airplane in my own garage. And many years after, that’s exactly what the little mouse did in Lindbergh.
Where do you get the ideas for your books? Anna, age 21
Ugh, that’s not easy to answer. Ideas always seem to come when you least expect them. It often starts with something quite small: a single detail for a plot, an idea for a picture, or a theme. Then gradually more and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place, and a story begins to emerge.
Have you remained a child? Heike, age 55
The fact is I am a bit like Peter Pan. Still a child and very happy to be one.
Have you been diving in the sea yourself, and are fish and whales your favorite animals? Sophie, age 3
Unfortunately, I’ve never been deep-sea diving. I’d like to do it one day, but only with a snorkel, and not too deep. You’re right, I find the giants of the sea particularly fascinating.
Do you have any pets? And what is your favorite animal? Finn, age 5
Dear Finn, I don’t have any pets, but I’m a great dog-lover. Perhaps I’ll have one of my own someday. And of course mice are my very special friends!
Why did you choose a mouse for your hero, and not a hamster, guinea pig or ant? Kristina, age 30
The fact that it’s mice having all these adventures goes back to my very first idea for Lindbergh. It was simply a play on words: Maus and Fledermaus [mouse and bat]. If a Maus wanted to turn into a Fledermaus and learn to fly, he’d have to build an airplane. From then on, it was clear: the hero had to be a mouse! It’s also easy to believe that a mouse could go around stealing all the little components from the world of humans. Mice often visit us, and they’re known for taking things. And with their rodent hands, they might also be able to draw, screw, and hammer.
Can you ever see a mouse without wanting to write a funny story about it? Angela, age 36
I have to say it does spark off lots of new ideas for mouse stories. But that happens to many people in my circle. When my mother comes across a mouse, she immediately gives it a name and puts it in a story.
What gave you the idea for Edison, and how long did it take you to write? Finn, age 7
I had a problem the moment I started work on Edison: where could he go? I’d already sent a mouse to the moon. So I handed the problem over to the mouse. In the book he also thinks: the great adventures are past, so where can one go after a journey to the moon? This time there was a treasure hunt, and it just happened that the adventure fitted in perfectly with the series of inventive mice that had begun with Lindbergh and Armstrong. From the very first idea to the last brush stroke, it took me about eight months.