10 Questions With Author Heidi Schulz




Welcome to A.T.W.N., Heidi! Being a big Peter Pan fan, I’m really excited for your Middle Grade debut, Hook’s Revenge. Tell our readers a little about it.

Thanks for having me! Hook’s Revenge is about Jocelyn Hook, the 13-year-old daughter of the infamous Captain Hook. Her maternal grandfather and guardian wants nothing more than to see her grow up to be a fine society lady, but Jocelyn would rather sail off on a high seas adventure. Sadly, her dreams of adventure are stalled by an enforced enrollment in finishing school where she must wield an embroidery needle instead of a sword. Her adventure finally arrives, but in an unexpected way: When Captain Hook is eaten by the Neverland crocodile, it falls to Jocelyn to avenge him. She quickly discovers that a real adventure is far more difficult than she ever imagined.

Hook-s-Revenge_Jacket_3p-page-001The cover for Hook’s Revenge is amazing! What was your reaction to seeing your cover for the first time?

I was stunned, in the best possible way. It was wonderful to see my words come to life in art. It’s a very active cover—I love that there is so much detail but that it doesn’t feel at all crowded. It also strikes a great balance between humor and adventure. It reminds me of an old school comic book cover. I think that was one of the first things I mentioned to my agent when I saw it. Seeing it was like seeing my words, but carried further. The illustrator’s pirates are gruffer than I imagined them, but in a way that I really love. It makes for such a great contrast between how they look and how they act. (You’ll see.)

jhStaying with your cover, who was the artist, and what was the process like dealing with the iconic imagery of Peter Pan?

John Hendrix did the cover and five interior illustrations. I’m not sure how he felt about dealing with iconic characters, but he did an excellent job. I think his art is fresh and current, but with a definite Peter Pan feel. I particularly love that his use of the hook in the title treatment. I think anyone familiar with Peter Pan will look at this cover and immediately see the connection. I’m a big fan.

I think most writers would say that inspiration always arrives at the oddest, and sometimes inconvenient, of times. When did the idea for Hook’s Revenge stop by to play?

 That was certainly true for me in this case. Jocelyn sailed into my brain while I was sleeping off the flu. At the time, my daughter was too young for me to go to bed and leave her to her own devices, so I made a blanket nest on the couch and slept while she watched her favorite Peter Pan movies. When I woke I wondered: What if Captain Hook had a daughter?

Okay, let’s say someone is trying to win twelve-year-old Jocelyn Hook’s friendship by spoiling her with music, who do you think she would like to listen to?

She would dislike anything too popular or anything romantic. Jocelyn is most certainly not a Swifty. I think she would love big, dramatic music, so soundtracks would be a good bet. I’d suggest The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and, maybe it’s a little too on the nose, but any of the Pirates of the Caribbean scores.She would also appreciate smart, narrative songwriting so Jonathan Coulton or The Bare Naked Ladies might appeal to her.

fluxcIf the Flux Capacitor was still in working order, and you could travel back in time to the year 1902, is there anything you’d like to ask J.M. Barrie about Peter’s tale?

J. M. Barrie first wrote about Peter Pan as a story within a story in his novel The Little White Bird. I’d love to ask him if he knew then that there should be more—if he had any inkling of how special the character was. I’d also ask him why Peter no longer rides a goat.

Not to stray too far off topic, but your love of pie is the stuff of Twitter legend. I was wondering, were you able to sneak any pie references into Hook’s Revenge?

Sadly, there is no pie directly mentioned in Hook’s Revenge, though I do reference a may-or-may-not-be-poisonous cake. However, just because it’s not overtly on the page doesn’t mean pie doesn’t exist in their world. If you read the glossary at the end of the book, you’ll find that the crew cook, Nubbins, is a master with pastry. What else are pastry skills good for if not to make pie? I imagine, considering the staples aboard a pirate ship, his favorite to bake would be key lime.

What was your first concert?

When I was 14, my friend’s brother won concert tickets from a radio station. He told them he couldn’t pick up the tickets until after their office closed. The offered to tape an envelope, containing the tickets, to their front door. My friend overheard the conversation. She was older than I was and had her own car. She got in it, picked me up, and we drove an hour to the radio station. We beat her brother there and took the tickets for ourselves. (Sorry Lisa’s brother!) That is how I used my teenage rebellion to go see the B52s. Rock Lobster!

jarjarStar Wars or Star Trek…

Star Wars, but only the original episodes. I can’t abide Jar Jar Binks. And midichlorians? Come on!

One Book…One Band… (To Recommend)

I love  slightly creepy, clever storytelling in books and music so I’m going to go with The Thief of Always by Clive Barker and The Decemberists. (The Mariner’s Revenge Song is a favorite for obvious reasons.)

Before we go, I have one thing to ask you about your 2016 picture book, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING. Do the Giraffes really ruin everything?

Yes. Everything—except picture books.

A big thank you to Heidi for stopping by A.T.W.N. for 10 Questions With.  Her debut middle grade book, HOOK’S REVENGE, can be pre-ordered at IndieBoundAmazon, and B&N.


About the Author:

Heidi Schulz lies to children for fun and profit. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, will be published in the US by Disney•Hyperion on September 16, 2014, and in the UK by The Chicken House shortly after. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in 2016.
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