A lovely adventure is in store for you in the new book “Curious Adventures of Nigel and Viola:  Pricilla Pounding’s Precious Puddings” by local author Charles Foster.

The whimsical book will take you – and any young adult you read it with – on a fantastical trip where valuable life-lessons are subtly woven into a colorful, fun, fantasy storyline.

Charles, also the manager of Bistro Ole, has been working on the first in this series of five books, for almost two years.  I spoke with him last week to learn more about his heartfelt book that would make a great holiday gift.

TBP:  Where did you come up with the idea for “Curious Adventures”?

Charles:  It all started with a dream, literally.  It was a stormy Thursday night and I woke up from this amazing dream.  I could not get the little boy and girl in the center of the dream out of my head.  Those characters became Nigel and Viola in the book.

In the dream I was walking with these two children – one white one black, ethnically.  They were looking for something as we walked but did not know what it was but would know it when they saw it.

This dream was so vivid – even down to the pink ribbon Viola wore and the angels on the buildings and the red button Nigel wears.  Those elements from my dream transferred into the book.

The dream was something that I could make bigger.  I could make it real.  I could bring the kids to life.  I felt more connected to that dream than any I have ever had, so I began writing.

TBP:  You develop the characters Nigel and Viola with such strength.  Are their parts of you in all the characters in the book?

Charles:  Nigel, Viola, Miss Pricilla Pounding, Gretchen – they all have a little bit of me or someone I know in them.

To be honest, the story comes from my life.  Not the extremes in the book, but the moments and struggles.

We have all been where Nigel and Viola are.  We all have been teased for being different as kids and gotten through it.  I remember distinctively that until I got to college, I didn’t think I was a beautiful person.  I realized that everyone is, in college.  I looked in myself and became happy.  That is one of the messages in the book.

TBP:  I love that message – everyone is beautiful inside and believe in yourself.  It is so important for kids understand.

Charles:  Nigel and Viola are my kids.  I got to play in their world and share what I learned through my life.  Like Gretchen in the book, she learns that sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons.  And forgiveness.  Sometimes we do not understand why people do things but there are reasons that are not necessarily bad.

TBP:  Who did you write the book for?

Charles:  Well, anyone.  I see it as for kids 8 years old and up.  But I also think it is a great way for any adult to relax and escape for a bit.  It would make me so happy to adults to read it to kids and both share in the story… and dream.

“Curious Adventures of Nigel and Viola: Pricilla Pounding’s Precious Puddings” with brilliant illustrations by Daniel Taylor available at NigelandViola.com and via special order at any bookstore.