HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12My Writing and Reading Life: David Neilsen, Author of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom
Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom

My Writing and Reading Life: David Neilsen, Author of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom

The Children’s Book Review | August 10, 2016

I write because …

I have so many stories I want to tell. My imagination runs around non-stop, and when it hits on something that sticks, I want to follow that thread of a story to see where it goes. In many ways, I’m reading my own books for the first time when I write them.

I read because …

… reading is fuel for the soul. As active and wild as I like to think my imagination is, everytime I read a good book I am thrilled to have entered another writer’s world filled with things I would never have thought of.

Latest published book …

Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, published yesterday, August 9, 2016!

You wrote this book because …

I sort of had to. It stems from a single image. I saw the image, was introduced to Dr. Fell, and had to learn more about him. A story started writing itself almost before I was at the keyboard. I wrote this book in a ridiculously-short amount of time and loved every minute I spent on it.

Best moment …

… for me is perhaps the most grisly moment in the entire book. Without giving too much away, there is a section near the end where the characters come across something that cannot be described. After a few tries, I couldn’t get it to work. I knew what I wanted, but there were no words to properly convey physically what was in my head. So I went a different route. I don’t describe it. I let you, the reader, describe it for yourself. In the end, each reader is going to come up with the image that is most disturbing to them, personally. I love that.

Your special place to write …

… is the Audubon Room in the Warner Library in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow. There’s something very calming about writing in that room, and I always get a lot written when I’m there.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

My black, plastic baseball bat. If I’m writing at home and I get stuck, I’ll grab the bat and pace around the living room, swinging at phantom curveballs and sliders and working through the problem. It’s a great way for me to get my body out of the way and let my mind get to work.

The person who has been my greatest writing teacher or inspiration is …

… hard to define. A lot of people have been helpful, critical or helpfully critical. However, even though he’d be surprised to learn, I have to give this title to New York Times Best-Selling Author Chris Grabenstein. For some unknown reason, he agreed to read my work when I was just some guy bugging him on the Internet. Not only did he read my first chapter, but he taught me more in three pages of notes on it than I’d ever learned before.

Currently reading …

Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty.

Favorite bookshop …

The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write…

Harry Potter. I absolutely love the world J.K. Rowling created.

Favorite illustrator …

I have to cheat and give two answers here. First, Will Terry, because he illustrated my book. Second, the late, great Trina Schart Hyman, who drew the image that inspired me to write my book in the first place.

When you aren’t reading or writing you are …

… watching, coaching, or playing baseball with my kids.


DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOMDr. Fell and the Playground of Doom

Written by David Neilsen

Publisher’s Synopsis: “Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryand The Island of Dr. Libris

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | Aug. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1101935781

Available Here: 


About David Neilsen

David Neilsen

David Neilsen

David Neilsen is the author of odd, weird, supernatural, and occasionally slightly disturbing stories. His debut novel, Doctor Fell and the Playground of Doom, is a Middle Grade horror story published by Crown Books for Kids (a division of Random House) in August of 2016. In the meantime, he is the author of a number of sometimes freaky, sometimes funny short stories which can be found in a number of anthologies dedicated to weird, creative fiction. David is based next door to Sleepy Hollow, NY and also works as a professional storyteller up and down the Hudson River Valley. His one-man performances based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft have sent many screaming into the hills in search of their sanity. You can find out more about David at his site, located at: David-Neilsen.com.

We hope you’ve been following along with the blog tour for David Neilsen’s Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom! In case you missed yesterday’s post, head over to Project Middle Grade Mayhem to check it out. The tour continues tomorrow on Seraphina Reads.

Discover more books like Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doomwritten by David Neilsen, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with  and ; plus, be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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