A.C. Wise is joining us today to talk about her novel, Hooked. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Once invited, always welcome.
Once invited, never free.
Captain James Hook, the immortal pirate of Neverland, has died a thousand times. Drowned, stabbed by Peter Pan’s sword, eaten by the beast swimming below the depths, yet James was resurrected every time by one boy’s dark imagination. Until he found a door in the sky, an escape. And he took the chance no matter the cost.
Now in London twenty-two years later, Peter Pan’s monster has found Captain Hook again, intent on revenge. But a chance encounter leads James to another survivor of Neverland. Wendy Darling, now a grown woman, is the only one who knows how dark a shadow Neverland casts, no matter how far you run. To vanquish Pan’s monster once and for all, Hook must play the villain one last time…
What’s A.C.’s favorite bit?
In thinking about this post, there are so many moments I could have pointed to as my favorite, all of which happen to be small, quiet character moments in-between the danger and the action. Don’t get me wrong, I love the action-y bits too, but sometimes it’s nice to just let your characters breathe, whether it’s a breath of wonder, a breath held in hope, or an in-drawn breath a moment before shouting in anger.
As I said, there are several little moments I could have picked, but there’s one I keep coming back to, and I don’t think sharing it is too much of a spoiler. It’s a small moment when James, aka Captain Hook, offers Michael Darling a flower with narcotic effects because it’s clear he’s in pain, and Michael’s niece, Jane, is furious.
It’s a brief scene in the midst a lot of other chaos, but it so perfectly encapsulates each of their characters, which is why it’s a favorite. Michael suffers from PTSD and lingering physical pain from injuries received during WWI. James’ response to seeing this is to offer him drugs. He’s not trying to be a villainous pirate in the moment. He doesn’t want to hurt Michael. To his mind, he’s being kind. It literally never occurs to him that someone would want to try to cope with their trauma by some other means than drugging themselves into oblivion.
Jane, on the other hand, in witnessing the offer, is incensed. Her first instinct is to protect her uncle, and how dare Hook try to give him something that will hurt him. She doesn’t trust Hook and furthermore, her own personal experience with the flowers is a negative one. The first time she was in Neverland, Peter made her drink the flowers in a tea, telling her it would make her feel better, but it only made her forget herself, making her more docile and therefore easier for Peter to control.
In essence, Hook and Jane agree on what the flower is – it’s forgetting. But for Jane, that’s the worst thing she can imagine, and for Hook, it is something greatly desired. Like I said, it’s a small moment, but in terms of showing who these characters are, it’s a key one.
Part of me also wants to talk about the moment when [redacted] and [redacted] are [redacted], or the moment when [redacted] gives [redacted] [redacted], or even the moment when [redacted] encounters [redacted], but I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just suffice it to say there are a lot of quiet (and some not so quiet) moments in this book that I love. I can only hope that somewhere out there, a reader will come across one of them and consider them to be a favorite too!
A.C. Wise is the author of the novels Wendy, Darling and Hooked, along with three short fiction collections, the most recent of which is The Ghost Sequences. Her work has won the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, as well as being a finalist for the Nebula, Stoker, Locus, Aurora, Sunburst, Ignyte, and Lambda Awards. In addition to her fiction, she contributes a regular review column to Apex Magazine.