by Brianna Shrum
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
1. What made you want to write a retelling about Captain James Hook?
I’ve always had a real soft spot for the villains in stories. *coughs in the general direction of Loki, The Darkling, Scar* And really, who doesn’t love pirates? 😉 So I got to thinking about him and wondering what on earth a sophisticated, powerful man like that was doing in a world full of children he hates? What possibly could have happened to make his life turn out this way? And BOOM. Never Never was born.
2. What kind of research went into developing this book and the world behind Never Never?
I read Barrie’s Peter Pan…a LOT. I also re-watched some of my favorite Peter Pan retellings (oh no! and excuse to watch HOOK over and over again!). Beyond that, it was a whole lot of sitting there, staring off into space, trying to come up with as many bizarre dream-like things as I could that would fit into the dream world of Neverland.
3. What message do you want your readers to know about Never Never?
I’d like people to know that it’s about magic and pirates and adventure, yes. But above all, Never Never is about childhood. About what happens to a person when it’s stolen, what happens when you stay there forever, what happens to magic and dreams when you’re small, and when that childhood is gone.
4. If you could live in Neverland, what would you want to be?
A pirate, for SURE. I could plunder and pillage chill on the ocean AWAY from Peter Pan, and occasionally try to steal James from Tiger Lily. 😉 (Though if that wasn’t an option, I’d totally settle for his first mate, Starkey.)
5. What was most challenging or most fun about writing Never Never?
The most challenging thing was staying *very* close to the original story when the book moves from origins story to a direct retelling. Painting James as the protagonist when he’s doing all these pretty objectively dastardly things was…tough, particularly because I didn’t want to skip past any of the nastiness J.M. Barries has him do in the original. I wanted it to be the ACTUAL Pan story, with all the events Barrie gave us, just from a different angle. Tricksy.
6. How long did you take you to write this book?
It took me about 8 weeks to draft. (Good old NaNoWriMo giving me a kick in the pants.)
7. What does your writing process look like?
A lot of it looks like this: *sits at computer, stares* I dream up characters and a situation for a while, let them kind of run about in my head, and then I’ll draft a chapter to get a voice. Then I do a rough chapter-by-chapter outline and go back and draft! (Drafting is my FAVORITE. Death to revising.)
8. Are there any songs that inspired this book, or you, while writing it?
I actually have a terrible time listening to music while writing (though when I was revising, I lived off the 2003 Peter Pan soundtrack). The two songs I think sum up the book, though, and that I’ve listened to a lot, are “Brightly Wound” by Eisley, and “Bad Blood” by Bastille.
9. When did you want to become an author?
I fantasized about it when I was tiny, writing poetry with my grandpa in 2nd grade. But I never saw it as attainable. I thought it was a total you-must-know-someone impossible career, until I decided to go for it (and learned that I was quite mistaken) after I saw The Hunger Games in theaters for the first time, and left inspired to write a book. (Thanks, Suzanne Collins!)
10. What is your next project?
I’m co-writing a dark, villainous fantasy with my brother right now, actually! It was originally VERY loosely inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, but it’s moved pretty far away from that now. Now it’s just villain-y. And magicky. 🙂
~Thank you Brianna for stopping by my blog! Sarah~
About the Author:
Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart turned husband and her two little boys. She’s been writing since she could scrawl letters, and has worked with teens since she graduated out of teenager-hood, either in the writing classes she taught, or working with the youth group. Brianna digs all things YA, all things geeky, superhero-y, gamery, magical, and strange.
Her debut YA, Never Never, releases in September of this year. Her second YA, How to Make Out, releases in Fall 2016. She’d totally love to connect with you, so come say hi on her website or Twitter!
Visit her Website at briannashrum.com
Follow her on Twitter @briannashrum
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