6 Mar 2015

Blog tour; Hook's daughter: Ten little known facts

Ten Little Known Facts About Hook’s Daughter
  1. Jocelyn is named, in a way, after Peter Pan’s mother. Peter was inspired by the friendship J.M. Barrie had with the Llewelyn Davies family, or more particular, the Llewelyn Davies children. The boys’ mother was named Sylvia, but Barrie preferred to call her by her middle name: Jocelyn. 
  2. I listened to the soundtrack to the 2003 live action Peter Pan film dozens of times as I wrote and revised, sometimes putting a single song on repeat for a chapter or two to help set the right mood.
  3. Eight years passed from the time I first began thinking about Captain Hook’s daughter to the time I held a finished copy of her story. 
  4. When my daughter was small, she was fascinated by the American television program, Dirty Jobs. In each episode, the host, Mike Rowe, spent a day working difficult, dirty jobs such as Garbage Pit Technician or Worm Dung Farmer. For some reason, my daughter got the impression that Rowe’s name was Dirty Bob. I thought that would make an excellent name for a pirate.
  5. Blind Bart was inspired by a character—a pirate with eye patches over both eyes—in the picture book, That’s How I Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon. 
  6. After offering to represent me, the man who would become my literary agent sent me a link to a song by the Decemberists: The Mariner’s Revenge Song. From that point on, I never started a revision session without listening to it to put me in a piratical mood. (You can listen here.) 
  7. Nubbins was originally named Stumpy. It was very late in the process—after the manuscript had been through copyedits—that I changed it. I was sitting in church when the new name occurred to me. Divine inspiration?
  8. Years before the character of Nanette Arbuckle came into existence, I caught a glimpse of a man as he drove past me. In the split second I saw him, he was just about to sneeze. I thought, What if he always looks like that? I wrote in my notebook: “He had the pinch-faced look of a man perpetually on the verge of a sneeze that never would come.” When I conceived of Nanette, that description seemed perfect for her.
  9. I don’t know exactly how many drafts I wrote before this story was finished, but I believe it was at least twenty. In the first drafts, Roger was a minor character and only mentioned in a few paragraphs.
  10. The letter Captain Hook writes to Jocelyn, sending her on her great adventure, has only changed by a few words from the version I wrote way back in 2006.

It’s not easy being the daughter of Captain Hook. Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of following in his footsteps – but her grandfather sends her to finishing school instead.

When her father meets his unfortunate end, Jocelyn sails to Neverland to avenge his death. But she hadn’t bargained on ticking crocodiles, lazy pirates and a trouble-making boy called Peter Pan.

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2 Mar 2015

Looking for Alaska - Review

Available now
What's it about?
Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. It is poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling.
My review
Considering Looking for Alaska was first published ten years ago, it seems a bit late in the day to posting a review right? lol. However, it just so happens that I read it at the start of the year, when it was Alaska day and then a few days later a beautiful surprise 10th anniversary edition arrived through my letterbox and so how could I not express my feelings for a book I thoroughly enjoyed? The answer is that I couldn't of course.
Looking for Alaska actually started off kind of slow to me, I liked Miles but I wasn't a big fan of Alaska herself, and I still wasn't by the end, but it's a compelling story and Miles gives good narrative.
This is (at least partly) a story of unrequited love, something I think most of us have felt at some time and can relate to. Miles is such a nice, sweet guy and he falls hard for Alaska. Alaska on the other hand is very flaky and self centred, I'm not entirely sure what he saw in her beyond her looks, I think perhaps that he just wanted to 'fix' her and look after her.
Romantically, Miles and Alaska never would've worked but I think she, unintentionally, gives him something more than that, there's definitely a life lesson in this story for Miles as he tries to uncover the mystery that is Alaska he actually learns a lot about himself and the world, he grows up, he feels and he faces some hard times. It was these points that really made the book brilliant for me.
Looking for Alaska was a thought provoking and beautiful read, it'll make you stop and think and feel and then feel some more.

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