Today I have the lovely Heidi Schulz telling us about the inspiration behind her brilliant, middle-grade debut, Hook’s Daughter. Over to Heidi!
Once, many years ago, when I wasn’t paying attention, I grew up. Shortly after, I found myself, a newly minted adult, browsing the bargain bin at my local bookstore. A beautifully illustrated copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan pushed the other books aside and gave me a saucy wink.
Though I had fond childhood memories of watching the Disney cartoon, I had never read the original story. I bought the book, took it home, and sunk into a world that was far more charming than I had ever imagined.
A few years passed and I became more grown-up than ever, evidenced by the fact that someone called me Mama. “Read me a story, Mama,” are beautiful words, among the best ever uttered. I refused to ever refuse.
One night, when my little girl was nearly three, that rascal, Peter Pan once again shoved the other books aside. “Pick me!” he demanded. I did.
Each night, my daughter played with her toys while I read. I was certain she was ignoring Peter and me but we kept on just the same. Then, one day, she came to me, her cupped hands holding an invisible creature.
“Clap your hands, Mama. Tink is dead!”
That, dear reader, was the very birth of her imagination. Peter was so proud he crowed in delight and moved into our home, never to leave. He was both her imaginary friend and alter ego for many years, and even though I had so negligently allowed myself to grow up, even I was not banished from playing along.
When my daughter, clad in a sparkling princess dress and with a plastic sword clutched in her small fist, ordered me to walk the plank, I cannonballed right off the edge – though I miraculously survived the tick-tocking crocodile swimming below. When we were ambushed by pirates, we fought for our lives. There were close calls, we always won.
One day, a question – quick and nimble as a Neverland fairy – darted into my mind: What if Captain Hook had had a daughter? I caught it before it could slip away, held it tight, and forced it to tell me all its secrets.
That was the start. It would be many, many years before I would see that question grow up into an entire book. I am ever so much more a grown up now that I was then. My dear little girl is nearly a woman herself, but echoes of our Neverland play are forever pressed between the pages of Hook’s Daughter.
I hope you will enjoy it.
Thank you for such a lovely post, Heidi! Be sure to check back next week for my review of Hook’s Daughter and follow along the rest of the blog tour to find out more.