Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Angle of Dath by Dave Hughes

 A. A. Milne's stories and poems about Winnie-the-Pooh became instant children's classics. This parody, in the tradition of A. A. Milne, is not for children by any means.

After The House At Pooh Corner, it's been four years since Christopher Robin went to school, and now Owl's dead - murdered by an anonymous assassin who calls himself the Angel of Death (or more accurately, the spelling in the title) and promises more killings. That's not all; the Angle brought a bloodthirsty pack of wolves to help him, and a demon-worshiping crow watches the chaos... and waits.

Rabbit races to find the killer and tries to shun his wretched past that caused his friends-and-relations to abandon him. Tigger tries to fend off the wolves and prove his strength. Kanga wants another child - with Tigger. Roo is an emotional teenage train wreck. Eeyore faces a huge change to his life and mental status. Piglet finds a bit too much solace from Owl's old liquor cabinet. As for poor old Winnie-the-Pooh, all he wants is Christopher Robin to come back and make things right.

This unauthorized parody is by no means what Milne intended, but the style is the same, the charm is the same, and the structure is the same. The only thing that's different is that religious fanaticism causes the Hundred-Acre Wood to lose its innocence... forever.

Welcome, David! It's great to have you as a guest today. Thanks for this opportunity to find out more about you and your new book.Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

The Hundred-Acre Wood loses its innocence through adult subject matters.

It's a parody with heart, and a few things to say about religious fanaticism, love, and loss.


Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Aside from the obvious (Pooh characters, Tigger especially), I'd have to say Mr. Toad, from Kenneth Grahame, is my favorite character in any book. He's the embodiment of a completely psychotic upper-class twit that I can still root for as an audience.

Tell us about your current release.

Four years after The House at Pooh Corner, a killer (a misspelled "Angel of Death" is loose in the woods. He kills Owl in the first chapter, and Rabbit and Tigger are on the hunt for whoever did it. The truth will hit closer to home than they ever thought. We also meet a few new characters, such as Roo's alcoholic father Walby, a pack of wolves with names like Gnash-Rip and Door-Break, and an occultist crow named Crowley (after famous Milne-age cult leader Aleister Crowley).

Tell us about your next release.

I'm not sure what my next release is yet, although I do have a few things waiting in the wings. Among them is a Mr. Toad parody about the title character's backstabbing (literally) Colombian stepbrother. He's a poison dart frog.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

I could go on for hours about A. A. Milne and Kenneth Grahame, but other than that: Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, and Jules Verne have been my go-tos for inspiration.


How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?


Usually, my characters talk, and I write their little ups and downs on paper. However, I wanted to follow the poem-and-ten-chapters format of the original Milne books. That, and I had to keep the style the same.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

Probably Walby. That way I could get drunk into oblivion and it wouldn't matter when I turn back into a human. 

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

The UK. I am a huge Anglophile. Nearly all the stuff I write takes place in England. I have zero idea why. I mean, frankly, I'd rather go to France for a vacation. But I guess I just know more about England.

David Hughes (born 1988) is a Chicagoan with a love of writing prose and script, reading, heavy metal, English children's literature, the act of ruining English children's literature for everyone else, and Strongbow cider.

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