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N.J. McNeill
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N.J. McNeill is a child of the South, having been born to an old Charleston (South Carolina) family. Her young life was full of sunlit beaches, marshlands, and moss-draped oaks, and plenty of room for a child’s creative imagination to take flight. From a young age she had a keen sense of “pretend” and often played word games with a favorite cousin, finding it a joyous challenge to memorize mind-teasers such as, “Who knocked there?” said she. Then said I, “Who is there?” Then said she, “Here am I.” She attributes the use of fanciful word play in her novel to this early introduction to the fun to be found in language.

Though McNeill majored in Medical Technology at San Jose State University and later worked as a laboratory research technician, it was not until she returned to college some years later and completed courses in Children’s Literature, Children’s Theater, and Music for Children that she discovered her true passion. “I fell in love with Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and knew right away that was the kind of writing I wished to emulate.” Kurt Nickle-Dickle of Whiskers is her first novel.

When she isn’t writing, McNeill enjoys painting in watercolor and oil, reading, and spending time with her pets. She now lives in Washington State with her husband, Virgil, their dog, Teddy, and their two cats, Serena and Tabitha.

Kurt Nickle-Dickle of Whiskers
OakTara, 2009
ISBN 978-1-60290-067-7

A storm is brewing. It was on just such a day, years earlier, that Kurt Nickle-Dickle's father disappeared. All nine-year-old Kurt has in mind for this late-summer morning is fishing, even if it means disobeying his mother's order to stay inside. "I can't bear to lose you, too," she says. Kurt has heard Grandfather's tales of watchity widgits, kratchits and kridgits, but he's convinced they're just the ramblings of an imaginative old man.

As Kurt and his dog, Charlie, head to the lake, he has no way of knowing the enchantment has already begun. The Gathering Gloom waits to call the Troll from his tomb—to pour evil and darkness upon the Land of Whiskers. Only Kurt, using the mysterious silver key he wears as part of an ancient and surprising Legacy, can unravel the answers to the cryptic message:

Locked within the Cornerstone,
Words to lead from here to there.
Answers you must find alone,
The who, the what, the why, the where.

The lives of all creatures in the Land hang in the balance.

Kurt Nickle-Dickle

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