Q&A: Curiosity House’s Lauren Oliver, H.C. Chester, and Max, the Knife-Thrower



Edgar Award nominee for Best Juvenile Mystery

Kid Lit Reviews is honored to have Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester, co-authors of The Curiosity House series and Max the Knife-Thrower here for a short interview. Book 1 of the series, The Shrunken Head arrived in bookstores last year. Book 2, The Screaming Statue releases in May. You can WIN BOOKS 1 and 2!





“I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.” (biography excerpt)



Hello Ms. Oliver, it is a pleasure to have you here today. I’m most curious. How did you find Mr. Chester and of all his artifacts and unusual relics?

“I tracked Mr. Chester down through a lengthy process that involved speaking with various merchants and purveyors in the United States and beyond; it was really my first-ever opportunity to play detective, and I kind of enjoyed it.”

Which of his, shall I say, oddly interesting, artifacts and relics did you find most interesting?

“I’m partial to Mr. Chester’s collection of antique poison bottles, which are both morbid and very beautiful.”

There are quite a few interesting individuals in The Curiosity House. Which character was the most difficult to interview for your series?

“The Alligator Boy proved very difficult to speak with; he’s notoriously ill-tempered. Howie, the Owl Boy, left me with a slick and slimy feeling. And the twins, Caroline and Quinn, are nearly always squabbling.”

Please, enlighten readers unfamiliar with Mr. Rattigan, the vile villain, with a little background. Does he feel any remorse for his actions; possess any redeemable qualities or positive traits; or is Mr. Rattigan truly a sociopath?

“Mr. Rattigan, like many evil dictator types, believes he is acting in service of a greater good: he wants to eradicate warfare and believes that to do so, he has the right to murder as many people as possible. In this way, he can justify all of his actions, no matter how vile.

“It’s hard to find positive attributes in Mr. Rattigan, although in his own way he is loyal, or at least rewards loyalty in others. He is extremely smart, certainly. He is also fluent in seven languages, has a great capacity for disguises, is a champion chess player and, strangely enough, an excellent cook.”

Thank you, Ms. Oliver. Next, I’d like to introduce you to the co-other author of The Curiosity House, Mr. H. C. Chester. 





“Like other boys, I spent many happy hours engaged in a favorite hobby: in my case, taking my mother’s discarded kitchen aprons and making them into historically accurate costumes for my pet Rottweiler, Buster. I still recall the perfect hours I spent roaming the woods and meadows around our house with Buster, dressed in his Marie Antoinette coronation gown, trotting happily at my side.” (biography excerpt)


I am pleased to meet you sir. You have quite a collection. It is well-known you are partial to Bobolinks, Peruvian fruit bats, prehistoric pterodactyls, Arabian oil lamps, Long John Silver’s shovel, and canned-tuna-and-fruit-cocktail casserole. Other than the above, what is the strangest, oldest, and still useful items in your museum?

“The oldest is undoubtedly my fossilized two-headed turtle from the pleistocene era (scientists continue to debate whether my specimen is a unique anomaly or if all turtles had two heads in the pleistocene era).

“Strangest? I would say a sandstone tablet unearthed in Egypt with hieroglyphics that, when translated, spell out: “What did King Tut say when he had a nightmare? I want my mummy!

“Most useful: The claw of a giant amazonian condor. Makes an excellent back-scratcher!”

Max the Knife-Thrower is also here today. Please tell us how you met Max.

“Never met the person you refer to, though this is not surprising since I have never met most people.”

Thank you, Mr. Chester.

One of the most interesting characters from The Curiosity House is with us today. Max is an expert knife-thrower, able to hit her target from unimaginable distances. She is not someone you should anger.


CH_Illustrations_Max (1)



“Max is a world-class knife thrower and never fails to leave the museum without a set of blades in her pockets. She once shaved off a man’s mustache from a distance of seventy-five yards (at his request; she was paid a nickel for it.)” (biography excerpt)


Hi Max. You are a remarkable young woman with an amazing aim and throwing arm. I hear tell you once shaved a man’s mustache clean off—from 75-yards away! Wow! What was the most exciting outing you’ve had with your amazingly accurate knife-throwing ability?

“Oh lots. Once I took a pickle right out of a man’s sandwich from 20 yards, cutting right between the ham and the salami. It was supposed to be my pickle, see, but he got the last one.”

I guess he learned not to take the last pickle. You and the other kids live in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum. What’s the best and worst part of living in a museum filled with freaky things?

“The best part is all the noise and goings-on. I never liked quiet and there’s always someone wailing about something at the museum. The worst part is being asked to brush my hair and clean my dishes up. Pippa’s always on me to make my bed up too. Why? I tell her. I’ll just be sleeping in it again by tonight.”

Thanks, Max. I hope the series treats  you well.
All Illustrations copyright © by Benjamin Lacombe.


Readers can join Max and Pippa, along with all the other interesting characters in The Curiosity House, a three-book series by Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester. The Curiosity House is, per the series’ website, “A Very Nearly Possibly Maybe Not Quite But Maybe Actually Probably Not True Origin Story.”

I think that clears a few things up. Book 1, The Shrunken Head arrived in bookstores last year. Book 2, The Screaming Statue releases in May. 

WIN A COPY OF BOOKS 1 and 2! — just leave a comment (ends with blog tour, May 3, 2016)

Learn More about The Curiosity House
The Curiosity House:  http://www.thecuriosityhouse.com/ 
Read More about Authors Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester: http://www.thecuriosityhouse.com/authors.php
Max, the Knife-Thrower (and the other kids):  http://www.thecuriosityhouse.com/museum.php#characters
Downloadable Character Buttons are HERE.

Purchase The Shrunken Head
Amazon      . Indie Books       . HarperCollins
Pre-Order The Screaming Statue
Amazon     . Indie Books      . HarperCollins


Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved


15 thoughts on “Q&A: Curiosity House’s Lauren Oliver, H.C. Chester, and Max, the Knife-Thrower

  1. Sorry if I end up with duplicate posts, having a heck of a time with this. Anyway I would love these books. I’ve read all of Laurens books except these two. Loved the interview as well, thanks for the chance!


  2. Hope I’m not too late; I just found this. I love the interview, and all of Lauren’s other books (I’ve read everything of hers but these two). Thanks for the chance. (I hope this isn’t a duplicate, having trouble posting).


  3. Hope I’m not too late; I just found this. I love the interview, and all of Lauren’s other books (I’ve read everything of hers but these two). Thanks for the chance. (I hope this isn’t a duplicate, having trouble posting).


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