to wake up, interview ND Wilson and giveaway his new book

Sitting on the old couch in my therapist's unbelievably bright office, a shoegazing sixteen year old,
the year before I surrendered myself to the Author who breathes life,
I nonchalantly confessed that nothing mattered.
"This is all a dream, my life, you, all of it.  It's a dream.
It doesn't matter what I do, one day I'll wake up and start fresh."
Peering over his horn-rimmed glasses, he asked me to explain myself.

"I was five years old.  It was at an afterschool daycare.  There I was,
playing by myself when I lay down and fell asleep behind the bookshelf.
My mom came to pick me up and life continued but
I never woke up.  I'm dreaming.  I'm still five years old, sleeping behind the shelf."

He scribbled words most likely declaring my insanity,
looked up and asked me,
"So that's why you don't care about the consequences of your actions?
That's why you don't care what you do to yourself?  You think you're dreaming?"

Chewing on the sleeves of my tattered, punk rock sweatshirt I whispered,
"I'm just trying to get through it.  I'm so desperate to reach the end, so tired of this dream.
If I could finish it all, wake up and start over, I'd be free to really live."

I don't remember the outcome of that session, but I do know that within a month
I was in an adolescent psychiatric hospital and soon after,
I woke to truth and began again, free to live, to love.
I began to live, not wanting to just make it through,
but to live, to embrace, to hold fast,
to dance, to laugh.
And so I did.

I've been dancing for fourteen years now,
a beautiful fourteen years.
And in that time I have read books that talk of dancing,
joy, gratitude and
they speak truth and encourage me along my way.

Death by Living by N.D. Wilson speaks life.
His poetic voice whispers truth through stories of his life
and the lives of those whose own stories unknowingly shaped his.
Glimpses into the lives of his grandparents,
and those who sacrificed and gave to help them be,
to help N.D. Wilson be,
radiate love, loyalty and the joy of living.
He is a master at weaving pictures through his words and
encouraging us to embrace our one life,
to make our part of this story beautiful.
I knew I loved N.D. Wilson's writing based on his youth fiction,
but Death by Living was a whole new level.
A breathtaking book.
One that has caused my eyes to open a bit wider.
One that makes me want to breathe in each and every moment,
to move slowly towards the finish line,
one that makes you realize that it all matters,
every laugh, cry, smile, hug, choice. There is no waking up and
starting over.  There is a finish line.
Death by Living helps you slow down and enjoy the ride.
Eyes. Wide. Open.


So, when I was asked to review this new book by N.D. Wilson, I jumped at the chance.  Not only did I love his 100 Cupboards series but Layla, my 11 year old daughter, {despite how cliché it sounds} is his biggest fan.  She even wrote a novel and sent it to him when she finished, just to get his oh so respected opinion.  With this review came the ability to interview N.D. Wilson and I knew Layla would love to do it.  So I asked her to write some questions.  And this is what I received…

{Layla, age 11, interviewing Death by Living author N.D. Wilson}:

L.H.    I have this saying which I made up because I was infuriated when my brother was accepted into college.  The saying is, “college is for the uneducated.”  But, if I were to attend college (which is a very far-fetched possibility) I would only want to attend the one where you teach.  Do you think you will still be there in 7 years?

N.W. I think so... I know that I want to be there in seven years, but I can't make any promises!

L.H.     What is your favorite book/book series?

N.W. The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. I lurv it lots and lots! Especially the third book. I think it has influenced my writing and imagination in ways that I can't even begin to self-diagnose.

L.H.       My mom really likes reading spiritual books like this one she is reviewing for you.  I, on the other hand, LOVE reading fiction such as your amazing and wonderful 100 Cupboards series and The Ashtown Burials (which I am very impatiently awaiting number 3, I think you should send me an advance copy like right now). I call the spiritual books BORING BOOKS. Why do you write boring books, um, I mean spiritual books too?

N.W. Ha! Well, I write the boring books to help me (and others) try to lead lives that would make awesome books. A boring life would be so much worse than a boring book. How's that?

L.H. Do you intend on writing a prequel to the 100 Cupboards series?  Hint, hint.

N.W.  You know, I've thought about it. I've even had a conversation with my publisher about it. But I'm afraid that if that does happen (big IF), it's still years away...

L.H.     Did you ever have to do your mom’s grammar book in school?  We have it.  I did it when I was six.  My older brother did it when he was 14.

N.W.  I didn't! But I had to get all the instruction from my mom that became the grammar book later. I think that makes me extra special.

L.H.    If you could live in one fictional land (not of your own creation) what would it be?

N.W.  I'd only want to visit, but I actually think that this one is still the coolest one there is. So I'd really just want to be able to visit different lands from long ago in our very own world. That might seem silly, but imagine watching Moses have his duel with Pharaoh's wizards, or the Red Sea parting, or watching Samson (one of the only superheroes to really live), or the flood, or getting to chat with someone more than nine hundred years old. And that's not even dabbling in New Testament times. Yeah...this world. For sure.

L.H.     Who are some modern authors that you enjoy, if there actually are any? 

N.W.  Well, Lewis and even Chesterton are modern. Do they count? If want this author to still be alive, and assuming that you are talking about fiction, and fiction written to your age level, then I would say Megan Whalen Turner. Fun stuff.

L.H.    Was any chocolate maliciously *sigh* or innocently consumed in the writing of Death by Living?

N.W.  Absolutely! Mostly dark chocolate at the end of a long day with my feet up (I just let it melt on my tongue). But also some chocolate stuffed with peanut butter...

{When we received our answers from N.D. Wilson, Layla didn't stop smiling all day}

Giveaway*** as part of the blog tour I am able to offer a book to giveaway.  Now that you know how awesome this book is, and you know {thanks to Layla}, that there was chocolate eaten during it's creation, you should be itching to get yourself a copy.  So leave a comment saying something nice and telling me your favorite chocolate.  Then, you're entered in the giveaway.  It ends Saturday night, Aug. 31. 

***UPDATED***** Giveaway winner is.....

#7, JULIE who loves dark chocolate just like me ;)  email me your address Julie and I will get you your copy of Death by Living!


  1. Enter my name PLEASE!!!!! Layla's interview was absolutely charming. If I become a famous painter, I hope she'll interview me. P.S. Dark chocolate! YESSSSS...

  2. Thank you Amy.
    We think that you are: (to use your own words) "a master at weaving pictures through [your] words and
    encouraging us to embrace our one life..."
    We read almost all the books you shared and suggested... the ones we didn't read yet are on our list.
    And we can't wait to read this one! ; )
    Thank you Layla, for the great interview!
    We love to eat Lindt 70% cacao chocolate
    Good luck to all the participants!

    Marie and Dan, from Winnipeg Canada

  3. Trader Joe's dark chocolate with almonds. Yum!
    Thanks for the review and giveaway!!
    Have a beautiful day :)


  4. Loved the interview!
    Lindt dark chocolate with chilli rocks forever!

  5. Loved this interview! What great questions she asked. Both fiction and non-fiction books sound fantastic. I love being introduced to new authors! And I love all chocolate, but confess to really loving milk chocolate...Toblerone being my fav.

  6. Layla, you did a fantastic job!! Yay!! Dark chocolate lover over here :-)

  7. Love it!
    Eyes. Wide. Open.
    So easy to just "go through another day" and miss it all sometimes.
    Would love the book and the chance to share with a friend - we love to encourage each other through your posts.
    Always a nice breath of encouragement and peace in reading your words Amy!

    Dark chocolate...

    Julie, also from Winnipeg Canada

  8. I came here through the Ambleside forum. What a delightful interview! I would love the chance to read another N.D. Wilson book. My favorite chocolate is Chocolove, with bits of candied ginger, and a love poem printed on the inside of the wrapper.

  9. Love the interview!
    My favorite chocolate is milk chocolate.