I want to talk a little about Niss the gnome. I had a lot of fun with the character. By way of some history.....generally speaking (and again, I just want to say that I am by no means an expert on gnomes. For those that are, my apologies if I get some of the facts wrong. Tis not my intention.
Most of the Gnome historians "might agree" that there are six general categories of gnomes: Forest, Garden, Dune, Home, Farm and Siberian. Nis is a Forest Gnome and lives in the general area around Courageous Lake...Nis' entire name is Nissobaroatus - but even the gnome prefers he shortened versus, Niss. Niss shows up in Book One by jumping out of Charlie's magic diary. This occurs in chapter 49, Wisdom of the Gnome and Niss says some interesting things; like, "I was in the diary because I promised Matthew and Thomas that I would...watch out for you." (speaking in reference to Charlie) Niss doesn't reveal how he happened to be in the diary at just the exact moment that the Morianders and Charlie would need him. And Niss not only knows about the Tower, he knows where it is.....!!! so right away, our little gnome is filled with mysteries.