Friday, July 11, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with author Lisa Jensen-Alias Hook

Please welcome to the forum seasoned author Lisa Jensen who is here today to tell us a bit about her re-telling of the Peter Pan story only this time from the perspective of the infamous Captain Hook.
Lisa's Publisher St. Martin's Press has offered one print copy US ONLY to one lucky entrant. Giveaway Details below!

  • ISBN-13: 9781250042156
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Pages: 368


"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."
Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends.

Read an Excerpt:

“James Benjamin Hookbridge! What is the meaning of this object?”
My father was a mild man, most often buried happily in his accounting books or off to his warehouse. He did not countenance disobedience, but on this morning, I had no notion I had disobeyed, eager to claim credit for the marvel he held in his hand.
“It’s a ship, Father,” I crowed, jumping up to greet him, glad to escape my tutor. My father’s appearance in the nursery was a rare event to a lad of seven. “I built it!”
For weeks I’d scavenged scrap wood, chips, shavings from the floor of the woodshop down by the stables on our estate. It was a patchwork affair, dark mahogany from the Indies jumbled with native oak and white pine, no larger than a small half-melon, discounting the thin doweling mast and handkerchief sail. But old Turlow himself, the senior carpenter, had shown me how to lap the narrow strips of board for the hull and nail down the deck.
“So I heard.” Father did not look pleased. Perhaps my work wasn’t fine enough.
“Turlow said it was handsome done,” I said hopefully. “He says I’m clever with my hands.”
My father gazed down at me, pale blue eyes stern behind his spectacles. “I shall have a word with Turlow. You are not to go to the carpenter’s yard any more.”
“But … why?” I stammered, horror-struck. My happiest hours were spent among the joiners and planers in that busy place.
Father bent down with a sigh and laid a hand on my shoulder, an unusual gesture of affection. “You are a gentleman, sir. Only common laborers work with their hands.”
My mother always received me with warmth and tenderness when I came to her with my troubles. I recall the armies of tiny pearls worked into her bodice, a halo of fine white dust from her powdered curls, her fragrance of violets and tonic. She was a fragile creature to be cherished and honored, but she had no power to influence my father on my behalf. “You are his only surviving child,” she told me gently. “He only wants what’s best for you.”
But I forgot my disappointments on those grand days when I was permitted to go with Father down to the Bristol docks to his warehouse. How I loved to go racketing around the waterfront, its cobbled streets worn smooth from the horse-drawn sledges that ferried heavy loads to and from the ships. But my father had ambitions for his only son, and shortly after the incident of the toy ship, I was sent off to school to be educated as a gentleman.
*   *   *
Master Walters was snoring like an army of kettledrums in the next room by the time we finished the Purcell prelude. It was the hour after midday when no one had any business in the chapel and we were least likely to be disturbed. Carver and his mob of bullies were off shrieking at their games. Master Walters, the organist, was sleeping off his dinner of mutton and port, but his servant knew to let us into the study where he kept a harpsicord for his private compositions.
“Bravissimo!” I cried, as we made our final flourish. Four hands gave the music wings. By then I might have managed a tolerable accounting on my own, but it was always more fun with two of us.
“Nay, sir, we have put our audience to sleep,” said Alleyn in mock reproof, with a nod toward the rumbling from the next room.
“Then we have played well,” I pointed out, “for I am sure no one can hear us over the din.”
Teddy Alleyn was eleven years old, two forms above me, and by his careful instruction alone had I progressed thus far in my illicit studies. He’d been playing since he was big enough to sit on a bench, and I treasured our stolen hours playing preludes and airs. He grinned now, and tucked a glossy curl behind his ear with one of his long white fingers. Alleyn’s delicate features and soft curls enraged the other boys; they thought him weak and girlish, harried him without mercy. But he was kind to me. He taught me to play. He was my friend.
“You must learn to get on, Jamie,” my mother tried to soothe me after my first year away, when I complained of how the bigger boys taunted me. They derided my small size, my fancy clothing, a father in trade. My father’s advice was more succinct. “Be a man,” he commanded me.
“You’re certain no one saw you come in here, Hookbridge?” Alleyn asked me.
“No one pays any attention to me,” I reminded him.
Alleyn’s mother paid extra fees to continue his musical instruction, which the organist earned chiefly by allowing his pupil access to his instrument whenever he pleased. It was our only refuge, and Alleyn guarded it absolutely, as he guarded the fact of our friendship, to spare me the stain of our association in the eyes of the mob. Alleyn had a way of turning inward when the older boys tripped him up in the commons or called him names. He neither cried, nor fought back, nor defied them with insults, and they could never forgive him for it. I hated to see him so abused, longed for the power to defend him.
“When you’ve attained my great age, sirrah, you will understand what a mercy that is,” Alleyn said loftily. And then we both snickered, outcasts together, confederates in exclusion.
“Come, what next?” he went on, paging through the sheets of music on the stand above the twin keyboads. “We’ve time, I think, for the minuet—”
A babble of voices erupted out in the passage; the study door burst open to disgorge a gang of shouting boys, Carver in the lead, stout, ruddy, sandy-haired, eyes bright with belligerent glee.
“There they are, the little lovebirds!” he cried, and several of the others made smacking noises with their lips.
“I told you!” shrieked another, as a half dozen more tumbled in, above the feeble protests of the servant out in the hall.
Two boys dragged Alleyn away from the bench, held him fast. Carver himself came for me, plucked me from the bench like a flea off a hound, pinned my arms behind me.
“Don’t touch him!” shouted Alleyn, setting all the other boys atwitter.
“I won’t have to, will I?” Carver smirked down at me, looming, feral and terrifying in the enormity of his power. “He kissed you, didn’t he?” His big hands were crushing my arms. “Say it, Hookbridge! The filthy invert kissed you. Say it!”
I shook my head, but the other boys were all crowding around us, chanting, “Say it! Say it!” like a game. Alleyn stood frozen, dark eyes sad and urgent, watching me. His guards were heavy, pitiless boys, baying with the others, itching to strike.
“No!” I yelped in my impotent outrage, only to see Alleyn wince in pain; one of his captors was twisting his fingers.
“Yes,” I squeaked.
Such whooping and confusion followed this utterance, I scarcely knew what I was about, but that the racking of my arms out of their sockets ceased, and Alleyn’s captors let him go. No such thing had ever occurred between us, of course, but my heroic delusion that my false confession had saved us lasted just until I saw the usher, the headmaster’s assistant, in the doorway, pursing his lips in a very worried look.
“You heard him!” Carver crowed over the heads of the throng.
And the chattering boys parted as the usher came to lead Alleyn away. The last look he turned on me was not angry, nor hurt at my betrayal, so much as resigned, as if he had expected no more. It stung worse than if he’d peppered me with invective.
“Well done,” Carver said to me. He motioned to one of his toadies, a smaller boy clutching the muddy stick Carver liked to use at games, and nodded for him to give the thing to me. “Carry that for me, Hookbridge. Let’s go, men.”
Teddy Alleyn was expelled the next day, collected in a carriage and bustled off the grounds. I never saw him again. But I was taken in by Carver and his mob. At first, I consoled myself that I’d worm my way into their good graces in order to wreak a terrible revenge on them all. But as time passed, I was glad enough to have traded a lie for their protection, bartered away my only friend for a pack of allies in petty schoolyard rivalries. They were wild things searching for a target for their malice, and Carver was clever enough to give them one, else they had fallen on each other.
Alleyn’s weakness had forced me to perjure myself on his behalf, or so I convinced myself. How else could I bear what I’d done? Affection made a person vulnerable, and so I learned to mask whatever feelings might be seen as weak in myself behind a show of bravado, and advanced among their ranks.
Thus my education began.
Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Jensen


Lisa Welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Thanks! It's a pleasure to be here.

Tell my readers a little about Alias Hook
Everybody knows about Peter Pan, the boy who won't grow up, and his magical island paradise, the Neverland. But imagine being a grown man trapped forever in "a nightmare of childhood fancy with that infernal, eternal boy."
Captain James Benjamin Hook is a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. When Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of the boy's rules against "ladies," she might be the captain's last chance for redemption, even release—if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys can hunt her down and drag Hook back into their neverending game.
But nothing is won in the Neverland without the forfeit of something else. And the price of Hook's freedom may be more than he can bear to pay.

So were you a Peter Pan fan growing up?
What led you to write this particular story?
Fairies, mermaids, Indians, pirates—who doesn't love the story of Peter Pan? But even as a kid, I always liked Captain Hook better than Peter. Peter was just an irritating little boy, like the boys I went to school with. But Hook was funny! (Okay, and I also have a thing about pirates.)
In my "day job" as a movie critic, I was writing a review of a live-action Peter Pan movie a few years ago, and I started to think of how awful it would be to be a grown person trapped forever in a world run by children. For one thing, nobody would get your jokes! As soon as this occurred to me, I started hearing Hook's caustic voice in my head, viewing everyone and everything in the Neverland from his point of view. That voice became so compelling, I had to tell his story.

Sometimes reviewers and authors are at odds and sometimes
s with good reason. What did the reviewer in you teach the author or vice versa?
This is a great question! As a critic, I always try to see the best in a piece of work. (I also contributed book reviews to the San Francisco Chronicle for several years.) I try to determine what goal the filmmaker or author was aiming for, and then judge whether or not they succeeded, or how close they came. And then I try to make a case for my opinion, because that's all a review is, one person's opinion. It doesn't mean that my opinion is any more valid than yours or anybody else's, but it DOES mean, I think, that a critic is obliged to explain his or her reaction as carefully as possible. So the reader can understand whatever prejudices might be at work influencing the critic's opinion, one way or another.
So I think a reviewer who just trashes a work to be funny isn't helpful to anyone, reader or author. Of course, it's very tempting to be funny, but even if I really hate some piece of work, I at least try to explain why!
Because, as a writer—and I was writing fiction for years before I started getting published—I know exactly how much blood, sweat and tears are involved in midwifing a novel out of the embryo stage and getting it into the hands of readers. (Or a film too, for that matter.) That's a HUGE achievement! In fact, in a perfect world, every reviewer would be required to write a novel (or shoot a movie) themselves before they could "graduate" into criticism!

When was the first time you can remember that you wanted to write?
Oh, boy, I don't think I can remember back that far! I loved to draw as a child; I had notebooks full of pencil drawings, but they were always characters out of my imagination from some story or other that must have been going in my head. As a young teenager, I drew a lot of stories in comic-book format. If I'd ever heard of graphic novels in those days, maybe I would have gone in that direction!
But eventually drawing the stories became too slow for me. And as I did more writing in high school and college, I shifted my allegiance to words.

Was there a certain catalyst that pushed you to being a novelist?
I think it was when I started reviewing fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. I was only one of billions and billions of stringers, but they sent me books to review pretty regularly. And reading to review, as I'm sure you know, is entirely different from reading just for pleasure. I started to really pay attention to things like language, characterization, and pacing, and get a feel for how a novel is shaped from beginning to end. When I read a great novel, I was inspired; when I read something not-so-great, I had a better idea of what not to do, so it was all part of the learning curve! Analyzing books for review also helped me demystify the process a bit, so I started to think, "Hmmm ...I could do this!"
For anybody who aspires to write, I think the first thing you have to do is read!

Lisa your first novel The Witch From The Sea published in 2001 and I know
you write in other venues but why the 12yr wait between novels?
Not by choice! The Witch was the first book in a historical fiction trilogy. The plucky little small press that published it was very supportive, but by the time my second book was ready, they had stopped publishing fiction. Of course, no other publisher wants to print the second and third books in a series begun at some other house, so my poor little trilogy was orphaned. (Although I still had to finish writing it, just for my own peace of mind, because I love the characters so much!)
So it took awhile to generate some new ideas that I loved as much. I had a couple more books in progress when the idea for Alias Hook came along and eclipsed everything else.

Lisa your bio states you earned a degree in Aesthetic Studies.
Can you tell us what exactly that means?
Ah, if only I knew! Well, it was the 1970s, at one of the artier cluster colleges on the University of California Santa Cruz campus. Actually, I started out with a perfectly respectable major, English Lit, which allowed me to spend the last two years of college reading. Then I found out all Lit majors had to take an oral exam, which so terrified me, I switched majors.
"Aesthetic Studies" majors could choose one of four "paths." I chose "Art and Society," which basically meant if I could find two teachers to sponsor me, I could make up my own topic within that theme and write a 50-page paper—which was so much more fun and less stressful for me! Whether it means my aesthetics are any more honed than anyone else's, I can't say.

Lisa I see from your list of favorite authors that we share several and I especially love Diana Gabaldon. If you had to choose the best book you ever read, could you?
Hmmm, that's a tough one! Reading Outlander was certainly a life-altering experience, in terms of showing me how much depth of character and emotional resonance could be packed into one mere book. Another book I adore is the historical novel Playing the Jack written in the '80s by Mary Brown, just a wonderful dark, funny, sexy, picaresque coming-of-age tale about love, loss and redemption.
But if I was forced to name my one favorite book, I'd have to say A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens anyway, but the Carol is so beautifully constructed. It all takes place in a single night, over basically three hours' time, and it seems so deceptively simple, but the story encompasses one man's entire lifetime and a rich social panorama of several decades of English history. And ghosts! It's a virtuosos performance!

Lisa thank you for taking the time to visit with us.
Thanks for having me!

Will there be any signing/author events for fans to attend?
I'm doing a reading and signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz next week (July 16) in Santa Cruz, California. And I'll be all over the blogosphere this month talking about Alias Hook. Feel free to visit my website ( for updates!

Connect with Lisa - Website/Blog - Facebook - Goodreads

LISA JENSEN is a veteran film critic and newspaper columnist from Santa Cruz, California. Her reviews and articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Cinefantastique, Take One, andParadox Magazine. She has reviewed film on numerous area TV and radio stations. She also reviewed books for the San Francisco Chronicle for 13 years, where her specialty was historical fiction and women's fiction.

Lisa's Blog Tour:

Alias Hook Blog Tour

July 3: Passages to the Past – review, excerpt, giveaway

July 5: Harlequin Junkie – excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 7: – review, giveaway, original essay, republishing ‘The Story Behind ALIAS HOOK’

July 8: USA Today’s Happy Ever After – round-up of Fairy Tales Revisited

July 8: The Lit Bitch – excerpt, giveaway, review

July 8: A Bookish Affair – review

July 9: No More Grumpy Bookseller – excerpt, giveaway

July 10: No More Grumpy Bookseller – review

July 11: Reading Frenzy – interview, giveaway

July 14: She Reads – Picture This – guest post

July 14: Gone Pecan – excerpt, giveaway, review

July 15: A Bookish Affair – interview, giveaway

July 16: Literary, etc. – excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 17: Let Them Read Books – excerpt, giveaway

July 18: Let Them Read Books – review

July 19: Cheryl’s Book Nook – review, excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 21: Mary Gramlich – review, excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 22: Cocktails & Books – review, interview, giveaway

July 23: My Friends are Fiction – review, interview, giveaway

July 24: Reading the End – review, giveaway

July 28: Reading the Past – interview

July 29: Dark Faerie Tales – review, giveaway

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  1. I love Peter Pan and the more I see about this one the more I just know I NEED to read it!
    Wonderful interview and thank you so very much for the giveaway!

    1. Kindlemom, I know right. When I saw this I thought I have got to have this.
      Thanks for the comment
      Good luck!

  2. I love the stories that delve into the old classics from another characters viewpoint. This one sounds delightful. So glad you came across Lisa and her book. That unpublished trilogy sound wonderful, too.

    1. Muse I thought the same thing about the trilogy.
      Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Thank you Debbie! I think my girl would love this book, and as is in most cases when she loves a book I end up reading too. So I entered the giveaway, thanks for the chance. Good Luck to me!
    I love that you always ask very interesting questions :)

  4. Total Peter Pan fan here Debbie. This book is actually on my wish list! Very excited for the chance to win it ..thank you!

  5. Actually, I'm not much of a "Peter Pan" fan - but I am very intrigued by another look at Captain Hook. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  6. I'm not sure if my last comment posted so here goes again!

    I have always enjoyed the story of Peter Pan but not the character himself! He was sort of a bad boy dressed up to seem simply adventurous and precocious to me.

    1. Hi Colleen your last comment didn't so thanks for trying again :)
      Good Luck!

  7. I always found Peter Pan a bit sad. Captain Hook was my favorite though! There is something about villains, ha! ;-)

    1. Really, hmmm well then I hope you win Chelsea Good Luck!