Blog Tour: Lost Boy by Christina Henry – Writing in Other People’s Worlds

Good morning all you lovely people! I’m absolutely honoured to be taking part in the blog tour for Christina Henry’s Lost Boy today – having finished the book, I can’t begin to tell you how fantastic it is. A retelling of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, or rather something of a prequel, we see pretty quickly that all is not as bright and innocent in Neverland as we have been led to understand.

I’ll post a review at a later date (Spoiler alert: it’s likely to be positive!), but today I’m hosting a piece written by Christina Henry looking at why we retell the stories we love, and a sneak-peak into the story of Lost Boy…

Playing In Other Writer’s Sandboxes by Christina Henry

Why retell stories? This is a question I am asked fairly often, and I would argue that humans have been retelling stories almost since they started telling stories in the first place. Each generation’s storytellers takes elements from stories they heard as children. They’ll mash those elements with their own ideas and suddenly the story becomes something completely new.

Even the so-called “classic” fairy tales do this. If you’re familiar with the Greek story of Cupid and Psyche there are an awful lot of similar elements in the French story “Beauty and the Beast” as well as in “Cinderella”. And elements of “Beauty and the Beast” also turn up in the Norse tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”.

Storytellers love to take familiar plots and give them a twist. When you take an existing story and adapt it for your own you are making a connection – a connection with every storyteller who told their own version of that story, and a connection with every audience that has loved some variation of that story. It allows the writer to create a kind of shorthand with the audience – if you like “x”, then you’ll find familiar things in this new version of the story. We take comfort in the familiar and relish the new that’s mixed in, and something fresh and original is created from that mixture.

J.M. Barrie’s PETER PAN is one of those novels that has the feeling of myth, just as Lewis Carroll’s ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND does. We have a kind of cultural memory of these books – everyone knows who Peter Pan and Tinker Bell and Captain Hook are even if they haven’t actually read the original. That cultural memory allows me to create that shorthand with the audience. It gives me an entry point that all readers can start from.

When I wrote LOST BOY I wanted to answer a single question – Why does Captain Hook hate Peter Pan so much?

As I read and re-read PETER PAN to my Peter-obsessed son I kept wondering – why does this person, this adult, continue to hang about Neverland harassing a bunch of kids? Isn’t he a pirate? Doesn’t he have pirate things to do? And surely those pirate things would involve leaving the island and stealing treasure, not trying to kill one eternally-young boy.

I wondered and wondered, and then I thought that Captain James Hook had been a boy once. And maybe that boy had loved Peter Pan, loved him the way all of his lost boys seemed to adore him in Barrie’s original novel. Only love could turn into something as corrosive and consuming as the hatred Captain Hook has for Peter Pan.

Captain Hook was once a boy called Jamie, and he was the first and best of Peter’s lost boys, and he loved him.

But Jamie didn’t know the real Peter.

Peter lies.

Come along to a Neverland where nothing is as it seems, and one of the greatest villains of all time may not be the villain of the story at all…

Lost Boy was published by Titan Books on 4th July. To support this, the blog tour is still ongoing, so do check out some of the brilliant blogs below for reviews and exclusive content.

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