The Peter Pan Guild's interview with Peter Von Brown, the author of the new book (Just came out!) Peter Pan's NeverWorld! You asked questions, and now we have answers. Read on for the full interview.
How many Guilds have their very own guest author, huh? xD
Edit: 7/5/08 - I just recieved an email from Mr. Von Brown to tell me that NeverWorld is now available to purchase online! It can be found here. Also, don't forget to check out his blog, (link at the end of the interview) because our Guild is mentioned! Huzzah! ^^
Second, though I will address each question individually, many of them have a common thread:
How "true" is Peter Pan's NeverWorld to the characters, places and themes of the original?
For me it is all about being "true" to Barrie's original stories. The number of inconsistencies contained within other works derived from Barrie's creation flabbergasts me. As I see it, respect for the source is imperative.
On to your questions!
When, how and why did you get involved with Peter Pan?
I loved Peter Pan as a kid, playing at being him in my backyard and the woods near my house. Though eventually relegated to the back of my mind, Pan never really left. And one night…he came calling again.
Did you want to portray Peter Pan or Neverland in a way you had never seen?
I wanted Peter Pan and the magical isle to be as always.
NeverWorld is the place you've never seen.
Although I have a given him a new outfit based on Barrie's photographs.
I reckon Peter's mothers since Wendy must have drawn a needle and thread at least once during their visits. I couldn't help thinking the young ladies would add touches of their own.
While writing this book, did you make Peter's personality and character traits similar to all the other versions or did you want something more original that no one else has done yet?
I adhere to Barrie. However, remaining static does not make sense either.
I enjoyed teaching the eternal youth a thing or two.
Will there be mermaids in your book? If so, how will you be representing them?
Mermaids? Most definitely!
And if you read closely, you will see what an important role they play.
I represent them in a traditional way: lovely ladies above the waist, grand fish tail below.
But I must say I am also fond of their "dark" portrayal in the 2003 film.
The Neverland can be a nightmare as well.
Are there going to be new villains or will we have old ones? For example, will the enemies just be pirates or will there be a new kind of foe?
Peter Pan without pirates is like a pillow case with no pillow.
So yes, there will be pirates – new pirates, as Peter and his friends disposed of the Jolly Roger crew.
Wild animals and fantastic creatures abound, just as in the Neverland.
Rather than looking forward to who is about to menace him, try thinking backward into Peter Pan's past. Someone whom Pan wronged now plots to usurp his realm. But he's not who you should be worried about! The real villain? Barrie already told you. (And yes, both hands are intact.)
For what purpose did you feel you wrote the book?
The book is the latter half of my college Honors Project exploring Barrie as a modern mythmaker and the socio-psychological ramifications of Peter Pan in our cultures. When an English Writing Major discovers Barrie planned another adventure, notes and texts are scoured, dots are connected and there is no stopping creation. Not thinking of publication at the time, I wrote out of sheer excitement, love and reverence. Just something I had to do.
Do you think that the tale of Neverland can be a great asset towards the growth of inspiration for both kids and adults of all ages?
Quoth Peter Pan, "I'm joy." Everyone appreciates Joy.
Barrie forces us to examine deep, psychological issues. Issues which, guised in whimsy, defy age and era. Thus, his genius.
What do you admire most about J. M. Barrie's style of writing?
His matter-of-fact attitude. He will often present the most dire and salient information as casually as asking you to pass the butter. He gleefully leads you along tangents, telling you what he wants to, when he wants to, on his terms. All with a compelling, dry wit.
Do feel that you relate to J. M. Barrie in any way? If so, how?
I like to think I share his healthy cynicism which is peppered with laughter and enchantment.
Barrie did not want to have to give up playing games. Neither do I.
Has there been a time that you've wondered what the literary world would have been like if Mr. Barrie would have just given up and never gone on to produce "Peter Pan"?
I have pondered the reverse. Barrie's boy hero redefined what could be presented on stage. Barrie helped pioneer the fantasy novel. Peter Pan has remained a guiding backdrop in our lives for over a century.
Have you always considered yourself a bit like Peter Pan or Captain Hook?
I am more than a bit like Peter Pan.
Are there any other classic novels that inspire you?
Certainly. Treasure Island is an amazing book. It's easy to see why it's a classic. If you didn't already know, TI is related to the tale of Peter Pan. You might recall that Hook is the only pirate that Barbecue feared. And even Flint feared Barbecue. Barrie and Stevenson were great friends, so a tie-in seemed inevitable. Flint's treasure is sought in TI. I'll let you discover who Barbecue is on your own.
Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking-Glass and What She Found There have always been a favorite.
I like Tom Sawyer Abroad. Twain's whole world is appealing.
Others that come to mind are The Chronicles of Narnia, Don Quixote, The Time Machine, The OZ Series. I could go on…
I also have a soft spot for fairy tales, in particular Puss in Boots.
Mythologies of all cultures fascinate me.
Fantasy and mythology are the unseen scaffolding supporting our world.
Do you ever get writers block? How do you overcome it?
There are times when I don't know what to write, yes. I embrace those periods. I use that time to re-evaluate what I already have written. Often it will start the ball rolling again. Other times I wait to "hear" from my characters as they're the ones in charge. Even they need a break sometimes. Or, since I do not always write sequentially, I can simply move to another part of the story – one in which I do know what to put to paper. I also ponder the dilemmas as I drift off to sleep. The half-dreaming mind can be very useful.
We're all very eager about Peter Pan's NeverWorld. Is there anything you can tell us about the book before it comes out?
It helps if you've read Peter and Wendy. My novel features concepts and characters which Barrie merely mentions. I also touch on Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. The book has its own set of psychological issues and contemporary concerns amid plenty of action, magic and adventure.
That, and I hope you'll want to stay on NeverWorld.
Thank you for doing this for our Guild. Is there anything you want to say to the Guild, or to aspiring writers out there?
To the Guild I say thanks. Both for taking an interest in me and for banding together for love of Peter Pan. May the Guild grow (but not up!)
I can't tell you anything more or less than you have already heard. But I will say that perseverance and dedication really can bring on your dreams. If writing is something you would be doing naturally despite praise or criticism, then a great adventure is waiting for you.
How fantastic is that? blaugh
The promotional page for Peter Pan's NeverWorld can be found here, where there is also a link (at the bottom of the page) to Mr. Von Brown's blog.
If you want to thank Mr. Von Brown for answering your questions or just doing this interview for the Guild, post up this little banner on your profile or in your signature, to help promote his new book. ^_^
I also recieved this great copy of the book cover from Mr. Von Brown: