The story of Mouse

April 26th, 2012

Every now and then a character comes along who you just can’t forget, even when you can’t find the right story for them. For me, a small boy called Mouse was one of those characters.


Mouse first appeared in my head twelve years ago when I was trying to write a screenplay about a flying horse. He was the seven-year-old brother of the main character, and I could see that there was something very sweet about him. Unfortunately the screenplay wasn’t very good, and after a while I put it away in a drawer and forgot about it.

But Mouse stayed tucked away in the back of my mind. I wanted to use him, but couldn’t find the right story. While I was waiting, I named my cat, Miss Mouse, after him. And then I started working on City of Lies, Book 2 in the Keepers trilogy.

From my 'City of Lies' scrapbook

Now one of the things I do when I’m playing around with ideas for a book is cut pictures out of magazines and stick them in a scrap book. I don’t always know why I’ve chosen a particular picture – it just speaks to me in some way. But as soon as I saw this picture, I said to myself, ‘It’s Mouse!’ I can’t remember where I found the photo or who took it – all I know is that it was taken in the UK some time in the 1940s or 1950s.

So there I was with a small boy, Mouse, and a pram. And that’s when I remembered something that happened to me in Istanbul in 1986.

I was travelling through Turkey with a friend, and we were visiting the Istanbul spice market, where the air is full of wonderful smells and the honey-sellers encourage you to stick your finger in the honey and try it before you buy. There was a man telling fortunes with white doves, and he told mine. I can’t remember the fortune now, but I remember the doves very clearly, how they picked up bits of paper in their beaks, and the man read them out, with a bystander translating them into English, because my friend and I didn’t speak Turkish.

I don’t think the fortune came true. But that small event stayed with me for years and years, until I needed it.

Small boy + pram + fortune-telling = Mouse!

0 thoughts on “The story of Mouse

  1. Lilli says:

    Yes Lian ,
    I think Mouse is a character which just fits into the City of Lies and he is a WTAC which means a Well Told About Character (a word me and my friends made up ) and he is usually mentioned when I have a conversation about Keepers Trilogy with my friends .

    He makes you feel happy and warm when you read the City of Lies so he is definatley a Well Told About Character .

    Bye From Lilli

    1. Lian says:

      Oh I like the idea of a WTAC! I’m so glad you think Mouse is one, and I agree that he makes you feel happy and warm. He’ll be back in book 3, you’ll be pleased to know.

  2. Willow says:

    Mouse is definetly one of my favorite characters from the book. I think it’s really cool how you came up with his complete character. Also, the picture is really cute! πŸ™‚

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Willow, and welcome to the website. I’m glad you like Mouse, he’s one of my favourites too, which I guess is why he hung around in my mind for so long, looking for a book to go into. πŸ˜€

  3. Lilli says:

    Dear Lian ,
    I am pleased to know !
    I seriously can not wait until the Path of the Beasts comes out !
    I would LOVE to read it right now !!!!!!!

    I really enjoy the Keepers series and hope that you could do another trilogy of books based on their lives like when Glodie and Toadspit are Grandprents and if they still keep in touch !

    From Lilli (a very consistent reader)

    1. Lian says:

      Dear Consistent Reader Lilli, I do have plans to write more in this world. It will all depend on things like whether the publishers are interested, but after I finish Frozen (the stand-alone I’m writing at the moment) I want to go back and write about when Olga Ciavolga and Herro Dan were children, and Broo was a pup, and how OC came to rescue him and how the museum was started etc. I have lots of other ideas too, so we will see!

  4. Hannah says:

    Wow, I love the character of Mouse, he is quiet but is one of my favorites.

    1. Lian says:

      Thanks Hannah, I’m glad you like Mouse. He’s a sweetie, and I’m very pleased that I managed to find the right book to put him in.

  5. Lilli says:

    Great I will enjoy reading abut Broo ,Olga and Herro as much as Goldie and Toadspit !
    I love all the characters in this book and my favourite is impossible to choose!

    From Lilli (both a consistent reader and a Good reader of good books !)


  6. Lilli says:

    Lian ,I just love your books .
    They are mystical and magical and I love all the characters.
    I will absoulutely LOVE the Path of the Beasts no doubts and I seriously love telling my friends about this book and I hope the best with Frozen and that you do get it published as I know that every single piece of writing you write is always AMAZING!

    From Lilli (a girl which will do any thing to get her hands on a Path of the Beasts ARC !)


    1. Lian says:

      Lilli, you know I love getting your messages. You say such nice things, which is good when I am tearing my hair over a particular character in Frozen, trying to work out why she is behaving the way she is. Keep your eyes on the website, because in about a month I am going to start putting up teasers for Path of Beasts. Things like illustrations, the first few paragraphs etc. I’ll do the first one in early June, then probably one a month till the launch.

  7. Mia says:

    The Dove fortune tellers sound so cool! Sadly, I myself have never had the plesure of getting my fortune told to me by an animal, but i hope i do get to someday! What a funny name for a cat ‘Mis Mouse’. I had a cat name ‘Mousie’ before, but she died a couple of months ago πŸ™ I imagined Mouse very similar to the boy in the photo, so when i saw it i was like “Wow, it IS Mouse’
    Hahaha, thank you for sharing!

    1. Lian says:

      Sorry to hear about your cat, Mia. It’s always so sad when an animal dies, isn’t it. But an interesting coincidence that both our cats were called Mousie – that’s what I call Miss Mouse on less formal occasions. πŸ™‚

  8. Lilli says:

    Dear Lian

    Firstly, thank you for saying that you enjoy my messages because I enjoy your messages !

    Secondly about Frozen is she a only child or does she have siblings because I heard that the way you behave depends on who you live with !

    Thirdly I can not wait to see the pictures and paragraphs of the Path of the Beasts and I hope all the best with the launch ,I wish I could go but it would be WAY to far away to get to so I can not wait so see the Path of Beasts out in my local bookstore .

    I would love to read the Path of the Beast !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ˜‰

    From Lilli (a sad reader that she can not go to the launch of the Path of the Beasts ) πŸ™

    1. Lian says:

      Dear Lilli, Petrel is definitely an only child – more than that, she is an outcast, and very badly treated. So perhaps we cannot blame her for behaving badly. πŸ™‚

      I’m just starting to think about the launch now – where we will hold it and what will we do. I must make sure that we film it again this year, so that people like yourself who can’t get there can at least see a bit of what it was like.

  9. Lilli says:

    Dear Lian ,
    I do think that if Petrel (thank you for the character’s name so I can tell if it is a girl or a boy ) is a only child and is treated badly should behave badly because if she is a outcast I think she should be sad ,angry and naughty .
    I also think that if she is a only child she might get spoiled a lot and expect things from her Parents .
    Well,thinking about she might behave badly because she is treated badly because that is sometimes the case .

    Thank you Lian that would really make my day if I could see the launch on your website !

    From Lilli (now a very happy reader as she can now watch her favorite series third book launch on this website !!!!)
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. Alexandra says:

    I want to start by saying I love your work! I just finished the first book in the Keepers trilogy and read the first chapter of City of Lies online right away.
    I can’t wait to get my hands on the whole book! Unfortunately I live in Iceland where the nearest bookstore is 450 km away so I have to wait a while.

    Thank you for the thrill and pleasure and I will be sure to spread a good word for you while I wait for the Path of Beasts and Frozen!

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Alexandra, how very nice to hear from someone in Iceland! (I think that is about as far from Tasmania as you could get.) I do hope you manage to get hold of a copy of City of Lies without too much trouble, and the same with Path of Beasts when it comes out. I love hearing from people in such distant places, and am immensely glad that my books please you. Thanks for the very nice message.

  11. Io says:

    Mouse looks really cute!

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