Interview with Bobbi JG Weiss, author of Hooked


Bobbi JG Weiss made her world debut one Christmas morning (cough-mutter-mutter) years ago, and as long as she can remember, she’s wanted to be a writer. Why? She has no idea. Probably a birth defect.

After several boring “normal” jobs, her writing wishes came true — she and her husband/partner David Cody Weiss began to make their living as full-time freelance writers, focusing on Hollywood tie-in merchandise like movie/TV novel adaptations, comics, and other related and often ridiculous products. After 20+ years of this, the “WeissGuys” decided to enter the wild world of self-publishing.

You can find more information about Bobbi, her books, her life, and her weird husband at  http://www.weisswriters.com/. She also posts on Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook unless her passwords mysteriously stop working and she can’t get on, which seems to happen a lot. Why? She has no idea. Probably computer voodoo.

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About The Book

He is not Captain Hook.

His name is Jonathan Stuart, and he’s just an ornery post-alcoholic bookstore owner from Pasadena with a mania for fencing and a bad habit of disappointing his girlfriend. He doesn’t want to be in the Neverland, impossibly trapped aboard the Jolly Roger with a horde of greedy stinking pirates. He was tricked there by Peter Pan.

Pan happily invites children to come to his wondrous magical island, but he has to trick adults. No adult in their right mind would go willingly. Adults, you see, don’t have a very good time in the Neverland. The fairies and mermaids are against them. The island itself is against them. Most of all, Peter Pan is against them.

In particular, Peter Pan is against Jonathan Stuart. Why? Jonathan had better figure that out, and he’d better do it fast before his mutating memories insist that, not only does he indeed belong in this nightmarish hell of bloodthirsty children, ticking crocodiles and vengeful boy gods, but he’s never existed anyplace else.

So you see, he’s definitely not Captain Hook.

Well, not yet.


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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I got the idea for HOOKED waaaay back in 1990, when Disney's Peter Pan was first released as a VHS and I'd bought a copy. I remember the moment exactly — I was standing in my bedroom looking at the cover, and I thought out of nowhere, "Captain Hook isn't a villain. He actually seems rather unhappy. But why?" I decided to read the original novel by J.M. Barrie, and I discovered that Hook is miserable, often falling into "melancholy." And I thought, "Why did Barrie make him that way?" True, Pan took Hook's hand, but that makes Hook angry, not melancholy. The melancholy seems to come from somewhere else. I toyed with the idea for years, being too busy at that time earning a living as a full-time freelance writer to do more than jot down plot ideas. (The last thing you want to do after a long day of writing is write.) It took me practically 20 years to finish!

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

HOOKED was very hard to write. For one thing, I had no idea what I was talking about. Pirates and tall ships and beloved classic characters — I knew I had to do extensive research and get it right. So I researched my pants off. (I've posted my HOOKED research library up on my website if you want to actually see what I did. Go to the bobbijgweiss.com Store and then click HOOKED Behind-the-Scenes.)

The biggest problem I had was that I couldn't write the book at first. I realized I just wasn't a good enough writer to handle the complex story I wanted to tell. Instead of paring it down, though, I decided to let myself grow as a writer. That wasn't an easy decision to make, because I really wanted to write the sucker, but I forced myself to wait till I felt ready. That is the advice I'd like to give other writers. Be honest about your abilities. Don't put something out until it's the best it can be. If that means waiting awhile, then wait.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published. When my agent of many years decided to quit and do other things, I knew it could take months just to find a new agent, let alone a publisher. I was already curious about the self-publishing movement, so I decided to dive in. It's been a ton of work, but it's been worth it. The process has taught me so much about so many different things!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I crept up on publishing, first by selling short comics, then longer comics, then full Disney comic books, then books. So I was used to seeing my name in print by stages. (I will, however, admit to going to bookstores just to gaze at my name on the shelf!) And I've always been determined to be a writer, so for me, it was only a matter of time.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?


I'm used to juggling several writing projects at once, so I have 3 at present. 1) A New Adult SF trilogy that's sort of adventure/horror. By horror I mean creepy-in-concept like HOOKED is, not gore or anything. I like creepy. I hope to have the first book done and out within a year. 2) A wacky comedy chapter book series about a girl who was named after a bottle of shampoo. I'm almost done with that, so I plan to have the first book out next year, perhaps the summer. 3) Another chapter book series that's sort of edutainment (I do so hate that term, but whatever). This book will be fun to write because the protagonist is a lot like I was as a kid — she's growing up with a lot of animals, and I was a 4-H'er with lots of animals. I don't think the first book will be ready for awhile, though. It's my "back burner" project. And I have lots of ideas beyond those!

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Okay, here goes — I LOVE FANFIC! I think some fanfic writers are better than some professionals. So now follows the obligatory statement: I have never stolen an idea or concept from fanfic. I've been around long enough that I have more of my own ideas than I can ever write. I like fanfic sites because I'm a shameless fangirl. (My very first "published" story was a Star Trek fic in a fan mag. Later, I took that idea and turned it into one of the Star Trek Next Generation: Starfleet Academy novels I wrote for Simon & Schuster, a Data adventure entitled Deceived.) GO FANFIC WRITERS!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
  
No message. I wrote HOOKED to give you the creeps, and maybe a few laughs. It's pure entertainment. (Well, unless you're a male with the last name of Stuart...)

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Hauntings. Pirates. Doomed love. Sword fights. Frantic struggle. Madness. Storms at sea. Evil that is not really evil and kindness that is not really kind. And dreams about giants. Very big, very prophetic giants. Heh.



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