#IndieSpotlight – Andrea Jones, Author of the Hook & Jill Saga

Spotlight

Andrea Jones "I’m author Andrea Jones, and I’ve re-imagined the Neverland, for grown-ups."

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The enchantment of the Neverland has held us in thrall for over a century. As Peter Pan first flew to the London stage, J.M. Barrie conjured endearing, enduring characters whom we can’t drum from memory, however old we grow. When we awaken in his Neverland, we feel the poignancy of becoming adult, the heartbreak of remembered magic, and the tragedy of loss. As he says:

“On these magic shores children at play are forever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

I’m author Andrea Jones, and I’ve re-imagined the Neverland, for grown-ups.

J.M. Barrie was a modern mythmaker. The story he gave us in 1904 will never grow old—but, unlike Peter Pan, all readers do grow up. Becoming adult doesn’t mean we no longer long for the adventure, the drama, and the intrigue of Barrie’s magical Isle. Perhaps, world-weary now, we crave the shores of the Neverland all the more.

Barrie artfully tucked grown-up themes into his children’s play, Peter Pan. In 1911, he novelized the story as Peter and Wendy. I’ve plucked those themes to weave them into a grown-up series of literary novels, fleshing out Barrie’s character sketches while remaining true to his traditions. Respecting the original work, I’ve changed few of Barrie’s elements, and only those necessary to adapt the story for adults. Within the Hook & Jill Saga, an ageless fable grows up.

Hook & Jill, the first book in the series, is a treatise on Peter and Wendy. Through symbolism, metaphor, and my own style of storytelling, Hook & Jill makes readers think. In this serious parody, I question Barrie’s premise: is it truly desirable to remain a child, or is it a greater adventure, after all, to grow up?

Why was I seized by this particular fairy tale, an antique myth of the child who won’t mature? Like the Darling children, I was raised in a loving household. Also like the Darling children, our household was based on Victorian principles. My own experience was one of a girl struggling toward independence, while directed by the authorities to hold fast to the shelter and dependence of infancy. Like Wendy, I fought to educate myself, to learn the facts, rethink the rules, and make my own decisions. The cost of adulthood was dear, but, for me, to fly free as my own true self was as necessary as air.

The more I worked within his story, the more J.M. Barrie cast his spell upon me. His characters are so vivid, so alive, that before I finished writing Hook & Jill, the cast were already moving on with their plots. Other Oceans: Book Two of the Hook & Jill Saga is an unabashed study in loyalty, vibrant with the dynamics of power. When the Captain disappears without warning, the crew’s loyalty is torn. In order to hold his dominion, his consort Red-Handed Jill must come to terms with each of Hook’s dangerous men.

The third book in the series is Other Islands, in which the pirates return to the Neverland for shore leave. Reintroducing the Indians we met in Hook & Jill, this book brings flesh and blood to Barrie’s humorous and antiquated stereotypes. As Hook’s pirates interact with the tribe, Other Islands explores generosity in some usual, and unusual, forms. Again, we get to venture to our favored glades—Mermaids’ Lagoon, Marooners’ Rock, Wendy’s little house, the Hideout Under the Ground, the Indian village, and fresh scenes of my own devising, like the waterfall, the Fairy Glade, the caves, and the cliff top. In Other Islands, Barrie’s timeless Isle is always changing, yet ever the same. 

Barrie’s inspiration is endless. I’m planning five books in the Hook & Jill Saga. I’m writing book four, The Wider World, now. Perhaps I’ll bring on a spin-off or two following secondary characters. One feature of the Saga that I find challenging but satisfying is the story-within-the-story aspect. Barrie made Wendy a storyteller. As she matures in the Hook & Jill Saga, so do her tales. Wendy’s narratives advance not only her own character growth, but also my plots. In the form of short stories, Wendy’s yarns supply backstory or provide readers with insight into the future. I draw on Barrie’s own character descriptions—always a rich, if brief, resource—that allow me a great deal of scope in character development, even as I adhere to his guidelines.

One of the most intriguing backstories is that of the buccaneer, Cecco, of whom Barrie merely states: “Here…his great arms bare, pieces of eight in his ears as ornaments, is the handsome Italian Cecco, who cut his name in letters of blood on the back of the governor of the prison at Gao.” What a treasure to mine! In just these few words, Barrie brought a pirate to life, and I got the thrill of filling in Cecco’s history to create the three-dimensional man who stalks through my novels. As for Captain Hook, Barrie crafted an iconic villain to haunt children’s nightmares. Knowing kids as he did, Barrie supplied Hook with a weakness, for sheer relief. Children can laugh at Hook’s fear of the crocodile, but it was my job to twist Hook’s fear into strength, because, as I’ve said…Hook & Jill is for grown-ups.

Adding to these experiences, while immersed in my research with Peter and Wendy, I discovered that modern publishers altered J.M. Barrie’s classic tale. To right this crime, I found a 1911 first edition and edited the manuscript to return it to its original form, including F.D. Bedford’s illustrations; a foreword by J.M. Barrie scholar Peter Von Brown; my essay “A Gift of Ghosts” relating the events within Barrie’s own life that inspired Peter Pan; and a Timeline of the Evolution of Peter within Barrie’s career. The result is Peter and Wendy: The Restored Text (Reginetta Press).

If you know Barrie’s works at all, you appreciate that his writing is not just for children. I’m pleased to relate that today’s adult readers are just as eager to indulge in Barrie’s original work as they are to enjoy its renewed life within the Hook & Jill Saga. The benefits are mutual: when readers are familiar with Barrie’s canon, they plumb new levels of depth from my series, and vice versa. I offer Peter and Wendy: The Restored Text not as a companion piece to Hook & Jill, but as the brilliant original from the master who created Captain Hook, Wendy Darling, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and the evocative beauty of the Neverland itself.

The award-winning Hook & Jill Saga is waiting to lure you back to Neverland, not with fairy dust, but with lyrical prose and adult adventure.

Welcome back!

Check These Out

Hook and Jill

by Andrea Jones

You needn’t steal from me. I will give you everything, and never miss it.― 

Andrea JonesHook and Jill

About

In this startling new vision of a cultural classic, Wendy intends to live happily ever after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale,behaves in a most unsettling way. As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys in Neverland, they thrive on adventure. She struggles to keep her boys safe from the Island’s many hazards, but she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter. . . . The children are growing up, and only Peter knows the punishment 

Other Oceans

by Andrea Jones

About

“Identify the weapon, and use it first.” Such is the code of Captain James Hook, in this lyrical sequel to Hook & Jill. And this time, the turmoil begins not with ‘The Boy’ — but with a girl.

Ten days out of Neverbay, Hook and Jill capture a ship’s surgeon, pressing him to join the Roger. But Doctor Hanover is a gentleman, with a daughter to defend. When Red-Handed Jill shows him favor, his heart is taken prisoner, too. Hanover contrives to deliver Jill from the pirate king, and redeem her to society…as his wife.

But Captain Hook is impossible to escape. Other rivals contend for Jill’s red hand, and Hook fights for supremacy with his skill and brilliance. When the doctor’s daughter draws Hook’s eye, she emulates Jill, using feminine weapons to charm him.

With no word of farewell, Hook vanishes, and Jill is a queen without a king. To hold Hook’s power, she must come to terms with each of the dangerous men in her domain. When a challenger seizes command of the Roger — and over Jill — Hook and Jill’s dominion will be overthrown unless, as Hook has taught Jill to do, she can identify the weapon…and wield it wickedly.

Other Oceans is an unabashed study in loyalty, vibrant with the dynamics of power. From the pen of a masterful crafter, Book Two of the Hook & Jill Saga delivers all the exhilaration that a clash of wills, hearts, and fortune can arouse.
 

Other Islands

by Andrea Jones

About

Red-Handed Jill’s lovers discover–a kiss is as good as a curse.

Hook and Jill indulge in shore leave on the welcoming sands of the Neverland. But when Jill is caught between husband and paramour, her idyllic days turn into nightmare. Even in this generous land, Captain Hook is a dangerous man.

The lonesome Captain Cecco rescues Raven, an Indian widow who diverts him from his obsession for Jill. But Hook, too, finds Raven tempting. As his need for her heightens, so does the rivalry of Jill’s tempestuous men.

Jill’s own charms turn against her when a clever hunter from the Indian tribe stalks her heart. As tribal taboo is violated, the balance of the Neverland shifts like an overturned hourglass. Left on her own in an amorous trap, Jill must conjure her most potent magic.

The enchanted isle can be open-handed with hospitality, and with treachery, too. In order to thrive–or survive–Hook and Jill, like their allies and adversaries, may be forced to give as liberally as their Island. Jill’s kiss may bring bliss or a curse, yet one thing is certain. Whatever else might be lost, Captain Hook never loses command.

Online Excerpt

About the Author

Andrea Jones is the author of the award-winning series, the “Hook & Jill” Saga (Reginetta Press). Based closely upon J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy,” “Hook & Jill” is a serious parody of the Peter Pan story. Intended for adult readers, the novel questions the premise of Barrie’s original work: is it truly desirable to remain a child, or is it a greater adventure, after all, to grow up?

“Other Oceans: Book Two of the Hook & Jill Saga” is a study in loyalty. It takes place upon the high seas on Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Book Three is “Other Islands,” and brings the pirates back to the Neverland for shore leave, where they interact with the natives. “Other Islands” looks at generosity in usual — and unusual — forms.

Five books are charted for the “Hook & Jill” Saga, which has won 22 literary awards to date. Within this series, Jones deepens and explores Barrie’s famous and infamous characters.

Jones’ short stories appear in various anthologies, and Jones is the editor of classic restoration projects that include J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy: the Restored Text,” and Alexandre Dumas’ “Prince of Thieves” and “Robin Hood the Outlaw”, and “The Virgin of the Sun” by H. Rider Haggard (Reginetta Press). Jones’ objective is to preserve beloved manuscripts in their original forms before time and re-telling corrupt the authors’ words.

Graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andrea Jones studied Oral Interpretation of Literature, with a Literature minor. Her work is informed by a broad range of thinkers and writers, among them Carl Jung, Robert Graves, Patrick O’Brian, and, of course, J.M. Barrie, who created the modern mythology of the Neverland and its endearing, enduring characters.

Jones is known around the world as Capitana Red-Hand of the international pirate brotherhood, Under the Black Flag. She is a member of the pirate re-enactment troupe, the Brethren of the Great Lakes.

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