'Wednesdays in the Tower' adventurous sequel to Jessica Day George's 'Tuesdays at the Castle'

Published: Saturday, May 4 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

Some of Utah author Jessica Day George’s favorite stories to read as a kid were when main characters hide an animal, like a dog or a horse, in their house and try to take care of it without their parents knowing and trying to prove they were incredibly responsible.

“I totally have all of those books,” said George, who is the author of the Castle Glower middle-grade series, along with the young adult Dragon Slippers and Dancing Princess series.

And she pitched the idea of buying a horse and taking care of it herself to her parents once, but they quickly turned it shot it down.

“In a castle, you could totally have as many puppies and kittens and no one would ever know,” George said. “But what if it was something so big, it would have to be something so huge that hiding it would be increasingly stressful … something with wings or something that breathes fire?”

In the next book in the Castle Glower series, “Wednesdays in the Tower” (Bloomsbury, $16.99), Princess Celie finds a new tower on a Wednesday that has very large, very odd egg in it. And Castle Glower, which usually only adds rooms or makes changes on Tuesdays, only lets Celie see the tower with the egg, but also helps her care for the egg and the baby griffin — with the head of an eagle, the tail of a lion, wing and claws — that hatches from it. (It could have been a baby dragon, right?)

Rufus, the griffin, isn’t the only odd thing that appears in the castle. An armory with exotic and possibly magical armor appears — as do new stables and the holiday feasting hall (even though there isn’t a holiday anytime soon). There are also other secrets buried in the history of Castle Glower. “Wednesdays” is a welcome and adventurous sequel to “Tuesdays at the Castle.

George was getting ready for bed one evening when the thought popped into her head: “On Tuesdays when it got bored, Castle Glower liked to stretch.”

And the ideas flowed.

“What if you lived in this castle and it moved things around?” she asked.

What if you were the king and had a day to hear petitions from subjects, but they couldn’t find you because the hallways where moved? Or if the castle liked someone, it would help them or make their room nicer.

“It was all there in my brain all of a sudden,” George said. (The original name of the castle was Castle Slaughter, but she changed it.)

She picked up a notepad and pen she keeps on her nightstand in case ideas come and began writing it down. The idea for her first published book “Dragon Slippers,” came in a similar way.

When she started writing “Tuesdays at the Castle,” she saw it as one book, but thought it could be fun to come back do more separate adventures from this world with a magic castle.

In “Tuesdays,” the king and queen are ambushed and kidnapped and their oldest brother, Prince Bran, the oldest goes to find them. Celie and her older siblings Rolf and Lilah, with help from Castle Glower, work to figure out whom among the councilors and visiting foreign dignitaries is a friend or foe.

George is currently working on the “Thursdays” book (the title hasn’t been finalized) and it will pick up where and when the 240-page “Wednesdays” ends. “Thursdays” is due out next year.

And George sees a lot of herself in Princess Celie when she was that age.

“Celie is me as an 11-year-old,” George said of the character’s willingness to try different things that might not be for a typical princess, especially one living in a magic castle, but knowing how to act as royalty.

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