Monday, November 19, 2012


Today, it's my very great pleasure to join a Blog Chain called My Next Big Thing, in which we writers answer interview questions about a current or future project.

 But first, many thanks to Vinnie Hansen for inviting me to join this thread. Vinnie is the author of the Carol Sabala mystery series, in which an intrepid pastry chef-turned-sleuth heroine solves murders—with recipes!—in and around Santa Cruz County. Her latest, Art, Wine & Bullets, is in stores now. Thanks, Vinnie!

Okay, here goes:

What is the working title of your book?

Alias Hook

Where did the idea come from for this book?

We don't like to say it in mixed company, but most writers hear voices in their heads. I was writing a review of a live-action Peter Pan movie in January, 2004; of the actor playing Captain Hook, I wrote that he captured "the tragedy of a grown-up Hook trapped forever in Peter's eternal childhood." Instantly, a caustic voice popped into my head observing the Neverland from Hook's point of view. I hit 'Save,' clicked open a new doc and hastily typed in what is now the opening paragraph of the book. I was off and running!

What genre does your book fall under?

I call it historical fantasy. Yes, it takes place in the Neverland (that's the fantasy part), but in the flashbacks, I've tried to give James Hook a solid historical grounding as an early 18th Century English privateer/pirate.

Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, contemporary of James Hook

How long did it take to write the first draft?

About one year.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?

Well, Hugh Jackman has the height advantage, and the musicality. (My Hook is an accomplished musician, so losing his hand is extra horrific). But Gerard Butler has the blue eyes!  I like Rachel Weisz for Stella Parrish, the grown woman who dreams herself to the Neverland in defiance of all the boy's rules, who may be the key to Hook's redemption.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

The flip-side of Peter Pan, Alias Hook is a time-traveling love story about male and female, love and war, and the delicate art of growing up.

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

I didn't have an agent for this one; I sold it to Snowbooks, a small, but intrepid independent publisher in the UK, who will bring it out in May, 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I've always liked Captain Hook better than Peter Pan; for one thing, he has much funnier lines! (See my History of Hook on stage, page, and screen.) Here's a guy stuck playing villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends.

Also, Peter and Wendy, James M. Barrie's 1911 novelization of his famous play, is much darker and more subversive than the play. But it seemed to me that Barrie hardly even scratched the surface of the Neverland he created, with all its complex enchantments, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The reimagined Oz books, especially Wicked, by Gregory Maguire.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Alias Hook goes where Barrie feared to tread—delving deep into the Sisterhood of the guardian fairies and their erotic Revels, the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, and the society of the merfolk in their mysterious temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon.
The secret entrance to the Mermaid Lagoon
Here are some other writers with cool new projects you might be interested in:

Broos Campbell, author of the Matty Graves series, writes ripping nautical fiction that's funny, irreverent, heartfelt and action-packed. 

Heather McDougal, longtime proprietess of the popular Cabinet of Wonders blog, has just launched her first steampunk/clockpunk fantasy novel, Songs for a Machine Age.

Lynna Banning is a veteran author of historical romance who's been writing Western and Medieval fiction since 1996.

Visit their sites, and check their blog posts next week to see what they're working on!

(Above, right, Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1920.)

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