Published: Nov 17, 2012 3:19 AM EST
Updated: Nov 18, 2012 7:31 AM EST

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The first-time Minneapolis novelist who just won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature found success by tapping into his inner 11-year-old.

William Alexander scored a major coup for a first-timer with his novel "Goblin Secrets." It's a story of an orphaned boy who recruits a troupe of goblin actors to help him find a long-lost brother.

Fans of the book say it creates its own fascinating and self-contained world in a way that recalls classics like "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Harry Potter."

Alexander says he decided to write for kids after realizing that he never loved books the way he did when he was 11 years old. He says he hopes to inspire young readers the same way that he was inspired at that age.