I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Or maybe it’s all right, and I just don’t know how to deal with this, but it’s been concerning me for over half a year now, and today I just need to write things down.
What’s troubling me? Neverland. Hook just doesn’t let me go.
No idea if this should be a diary entry rather than a post for my blog, but since I’ve never been good with writing diaries, I’ll just do what I always do. I share things with you.
So the most recent moment of “down” came up today after a reader nailed a post on my wall on Facebook. It was an AAAWWWW…SQUEEEE…post, and yes, it was all in caps, ha ha.
Sometimes, when readers engage me into chats about Neverland and Hook, I really get sentimental. Or maybe nostalgic is a better word for it. When I finished writing Neverland, I was sad like never before when I finished a book. Why? Because the adventure was over. And it was the greatest adventure in my life so far.
I’ve never really been a fantasy writer, but this story just flew to me. The characters spoke to me in a way that I only had to close my eyes and I’d hear every word they said. I could type this book blind. Something was very weird about that.
True, the story had been a backburner for a long time. I came up with the idea—or rather the wish—to write about Neverland and an adorable Captain Hook when I was in hospital with my son in October 2008. We watched Peter Pan, and I fell asleep before the film had ended. I started dreaming… And when I woke up, I grabbed my notebook and a pen and wrote a 20-page scene from the middle of the novel.
It was a scene that never appeared in the book later, but it gave me an idea of how this story should go.
With so many other projects to work on, I really didn’t have time to start writing this book. Until the beginning of 2014. When I mentioned it to my agent back then, she told me I should write a different book first. In fact, she wanted me to write Susan Miller’s book, GBT 5. Why? Because contemporary sells better than fantasy right now.
I was torn. I tried to write Dating Trouble, but it wouldn’t flow. There was always this small voice in my mind telling me that I had a date with a pirate, and now was the time to meet him…not in six months or another couple of years. NOW. And so I put everything else aside and started writing Angel’s story.
From the very first scene in her house, the big mansion in London at night, with the kids playing, I knew exactly what kind of mood this book was going to be in. Everything felt so right. So comfortable. And safe. I knew, this was going to be my greatest adventure ever…
And that is exactly why I’m so sad right now. Nothing in my future life or writing career will ever be as big as Neverland. Nothing can ever top that. In a way it’s a good feeling, because I know I created something great. But it’s also heart-wrenching, because I’ve been on the mountaintop. There’s nothing higher to climb than that.
And returning from that peak hurts. When, for weeks, you’ve been living in a world full of wonder—full of pirates, pixies, and romance—the real world seems so colorless. You don’t want to go back. You’re trying to stay there…
I’ve read my own book several times. I normally don’t do that, but with this one it’s different. I can’t get away from this fantastic world with all its wonders. Can’t get away from Hook. I’m thinking up ways to get back. To stay there. A movie made of the book seemed like the only chance for a while. But now I’m thinking not even that would be enough for me anymore. Nothing about it would be real, and someday…one day…I’d have to return to the here and now. And it would hurt again.
It does right now.
I’m listening to the playlist I put together for the book. All the songs—each single one—ignites a memory. I don’t even have to read the actual book, because it’s all there, still warm and sizzling in my mind. Some songs just make me want to cry. Is that awkward? I think it is. And I don’t know what to do about it. Do you?
Yeah, I know I’m sounding a little depressed today, and that’s just how I feel. The only thing that could pull me out of it right now, I think, is a little note slipped into my hand from a stranger passing by. What he should have written on it? Only one thing, of course…
Meet me on your balcony.