Wednesday, February 26, 2014

where to find inspiration when writing a Peter Pan retelling

So Epic Reads was pretty awesome in doing this:

Click on the image to see it in full-size!

Speaking of fairy-tale retellings, now that I'm writing a contemporary YA novel that's inspired by Peter Pan, I'm starting to appreciate this genre more.

I'm still partway through Fathomless by Jackson Pearce -

Let's take another minute to admire this gorgeous cover again.

And dammit now I need to own this lovely book. It's not so mind-blowing or insanely gorgeous that I want to put it in a shrine the way I want to for Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

or the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

Shrine-worthy covers, no?

Fathomless may not induce this reaction:

 photo donghaesurprised_zps4eaff9b1.gif

But it's original and riveting, and contains the magic of the original fairy tale with its own tinge of darkness and drama.

Dark and dramatic, with romance and high stakes, terrible beauty and the threat of losing one's humanity - just the way I like my YA fantasy novels! If - when - I write Indigo Tides, that is all I can hope for it to be.

But* a mermaid story is a novel for another time (Indigo Tides, wait for me!). Right now, Peter Pan is taking centre stage, so I'm looking for books that were inspired by the boy who wouldn't grow up. Scouring through Goodreads, I came up with 5 books to sink my teeth into while working on No Room in Neverland.

*That is one too many buts.

When someone mentions Peter Pan, you'd probably think of this:

 photo peterpan_zpsed9e24b6.gif

(Ah, Jeremy Sumpter. I had the hugest crush on him because of this movie!)

Or you might think of this:

 photo peter2_zpscf3e53b2.gif

Or, in my case, you'd think of this:

 photo donghaesmile7_zps9eebba96.gif

(That's my Thomas - from No Room in Neverland - by the way.)

And this:

 photo donghaecoolnod_zps1bbe4c36.gif

But I always thought Peter Pan was quite a sad story, not least because Peter and the Lost Boys were, well, lost. They might seem wild and carefree in Neverland, little kings and princes of their isolated domain, but they've never really known love, or had parents to guide them - they're just sort of cosseted in their insular world until the Darlings come along.

(That's definitely what I'm tapping on in my novel, only, as in most character-driven romance novels, both the main characters end up transforming each other, for better or worse.)

These modern retellings of the classic story are not just sad, but also pretty dark - YUM:

1. The Child Thief, by Brom

How gloriously dark and sinister does this look! A devilish version of the Disney classic where Peter Pan comes with a dark past of being raised by wolves and shuttles between the realms of faerie and man, where Peter leads a "savage tribe of lost and stolen children" and recruits a human boy to save Neverland from turning into a wasteland? Three words: sign me up.

2. Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I read Peaches back in 2005.

It was a sweet and - dare I say it - forgettable contemporary YA summer romance. But Tiger Lily looks a lot less run-of-the-mill, largely because it has an unexpected narrator: Tinkerbell!

(Except she's not called Tinkerbell here, but Tiger Lily.)

I've always viewed Tink as the antagonist, because she showed me that fairies weren't always nice (just like mermaids - those bitches in Peter Pan belonged in Mean Girls!) and were ruthless when it came to protecting the boy they loved.

 photo tink_zps8a6eb1ba.gif

But I guess that might be why Anderson chose to write from her POV.

3. The Lost Girls, by Laurie Fox

I think this book might have been the cause of my Peter Pan obsession. I read it when I was in university, and have been searching EVERYWHERE for it in bookstores. I borrowed it from the library then, but it's not there anymore.

 photo donghaewhatwhy_zps3d9af7b6.gif

(Ugh, don't you just hate when you can't find your favourite books in the library anymore?)

The Lost Girls is actually adult fiction, about three generations of Darling girls who continually fall for Peter Pan's charm. It's all family drama, secrets, estranged mothers and girls coming of age in a dysfunctional family - the sort of adult fiction I love. (Amazon provides a better description of the story than Goodreads, so go here to learn more!)

4. Finding Neverland (2004)

It's about J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to write the iconic novel. So good research, I suppose?

5. Peter Pan, acoustic cover by Silv3rT3ar

Ah, this song. I loved it the first time I heard the original version in Korean, and even more when I heard this version.

And then there's this:

Which is on Replay while I write Neverland. No kidding.

Yes, I believe I've got Peter Pan on the brain.


Anonymous said...

In your searching around, have you come across anything that has a good crossover between Wendy, Alice, and Dorothy? There is Allan Moore's "Lost Girls" which captures the kind of idea I've been looking for but I'm hoping for something a little less 'Adult'.

Joyce Chua said...

@Bill: A crossover between those three? Now THAT would be something to look out for. Thanks for the book recommendation, but I agree, the themes in Lost Girls are a little too "adult" for my YA mind! Haha!