As a writer, I like to put two things together. For the mouse in the White House, I put my interest in buildings and my interest in pets together.
I like buildings: homes, apartments, condos, and big commercial buildings. I am just fascinated with how they are built and the work that goes into putting a building up from the ground. There are so many components.
My uncles built homes and shopping centers, my dad and my uncles built the house I grew up in. I have been around people who have built or remodeled homes all my life. And for most of my adult life, I have repaired, updated, and oversaw the building of a couple of homes.
The White House is a large, complex building with a really interesting history. The White House is 227 years old. It was built in 1792 and it is still standing. Except for the year 1812, when it was burnt to the ground by the British. When it was first built it didn’t have electricity, indoor plumbing, or air conditioning. Electricity was installed in 1891 and President Benjamin Harrison was afraid of getting electrocuted, so he had an aide flip the switch.
I understand his reluctance, because I have been shocked by electrical wires when I remodeled homes.
Indoor plumbing was installed between 1850 and 1853 when President Lincoln was in office. Lincoln is the first president to take a bath at the White House.
Air conditioning wasn’t installed until 1929 when President Herbert Hoover was in office.
As for mice, I haven’t had them as pets, but I have had them as pests. I had a house in the woods, and every winter a mouse would make his way into the house. I would find a dead mouse floating in the toilet. My friend Denise and Louis had a mouse in their dog food bag, and it ran up Denise’s arm.
I took my experience with mice, and gave a mouse a little personality, and put him in the White House. And like most homeowners, they didn’t want mice in their house, they wanted to get rid of him, so they chased him.
In my story, the kid first notices the mouse and the kid solves the mouse problem. I put a kid there because I wrote this story when I was a dad with young sons.
It all came together: my love of buildings, experiences with mice, and my kids.