Sep 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

Hello, lost boys, girls, and scallywag pirates! I am very excited about today's post, for I have Brianna Shrum here to talk about her debut novel Never Never, a retelling of Peter Pan told from the point of view of the one and only Captain Hook. I've already read the book (spoiler alert: I loved it), and I very much want to shove it in all your faces or else make you all walk the plank. But for now, I've got a interview with Brianna that will hopefully hook you (pun intended) into Never Never, and there's also a giveaway for the book that you'll definitely want to enter. So don't be a codfish--check it out!

RachelI feel like I have an advantage with this interview, because I’ve already read (and totally heart) your book. Never Never is the story of Peter Pan that we all know and love—but you chose to write it from the point of view of one the world’s—in fiction and nonfiction—most infamous pirates: Captain James Hook. Why did you go for the villain?

BriannaI remember one of my early elementary school teachers reading us The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I remember it because it was the story of the wolf. And more than the story, I remember truly empathizing with the villain, for the first time ever. And I never stopped from there. (Thanks, teacher. You created a monster!)

There’s something weirdly intoxicating about falling in love with a villain, isn’t there? The ones I love best are confident and powerful and above all, passionate. And that passion is something we can all identify with, I think. I’m fascinated by destructive characters, and how regular people can relate to them, in their heart of hearts, whether or not we want to admit it.

RachelIn Never Never, you do a swell job of explaining what Neverland is—how it exists, what makes it works, and so on. To keep it short—and to let readers learn about Neverland for themselves—Neverland is created on dreams. How did you go about creating this world, and from a new perspective?

BriannaHonestly, I sat there and dreamed for a while. I watched a lot of Pan stuff and fantasy, googled cool places, all that. But the weirdest stuff in Neverland came from letting myself just sit there and think: what would *I* dream into Neverland? If Peter had chosen me to be a dreamer? And you’ll know the answer to that question when you read the book ^_^ (Well. Not you, Rachel. AS you already have haha.)

RachelSince Neverland is made of dreams, what would your Neverland look like?

BriannaThis is the BEST question. It would be gorgeous and glowy and colorful, and almost always sunset or nighttime. And it would probably have a lot of my favorite fictional characters traipsing around (All madly in love with me of course), which if you know me, paints kind of a terrifying Neverland, because all my favorite characters are just…like…SUPER evil…..Also there would be dinosaurs.

RachelOne of the things I really liked about Never Never was how it was written. I thought that it had a sort of fairy tale-esque quality to it, and that helped to tell the story. Did you set out to write the book a certain way, or did you just write?

BriannaI’m so glad you liked that!! I did do this intentionally. I have such respect for J.M. Barrie and his original incredible story that I really wanted to respect his style, while staying true to my own. I think my story is a much closer POV than Barrie’s, whose narrator is quite distant (and has a personality of his own) but I wanted that whimsical, fairytale style to continue on into my version of the story, even in, and maybe especially in, the darker, adult parts of the tale.

RachelLet’s talk some more about Hook. From the many versions of Peter Pan, to Hook and Once Upon a Time, the codfish has been portrayed in numerous ways. Tell us about your Hook.

BriannaMy Hook. My James is passionate. He’s passionate to fault. Quick to fall in love, quick to get angry, quick to hate. He is quick to feel, and he feels everything deeply. And that passion and determination is his greatest strength and greatest flaw. He shows you his side of the story, but he’s also a pretty raw guy, so I don’t think the fact the he is a VILLAIN is hidden either. He’s a flawed, deeply feeling guy, borne out of his own person and circumstance.

RachelThe original Peter Pan story doesn’t really have any romance, so why did you decide to include some in yours (and thank you for doing so because oh my gosh *insert heart eyes here*)?

Brianna*grin* I have literally never in my life written a story without romance. I think desire can drive the most reasonable people to do the most wildly unreasonable things. Plus, I freaking LOVE Tiger Lily. I could. Not. Wait. To write about her. And picturing James in love with this spirited, witty, strong woman was just too delicious an opportunity for me not to take! (Plus I super love sexual tension. And kissing.)

RachelWhat are you working on next? (I’ve already told you this, but I’m all for a story from Tiger Lily’s point of view. It would be fantastic.)

Brianna*side-eyes Tiger Lily short story that may or may not be in MS Word right now, and may or may not be an incentive for people to pre-order Never Never/order in the first week of publication* My brother and I are co-writing a very dark epic fantasy that I am MORE THAN A LITTLE EXCITED ABOUT. It’s dark and romantic, and very villain-y. ;)

RachelIf you were to retell another story and write it from the villain’s side, what story and villain would you choose?

BriannaDorian Gray. That’s all I’ll say about thattttt for now. *waggles eyebrows*

RachelIf all Pan needed was faith, trust, and pixie dust, what does Hook need?

BriannaHope, adventure…and maybe a little more childhood.

RachelIt’s release day (!!!) and you see Never Never on shelves for the first time—what do you do?

BriannaFREAK THE FRICK OUT. I would very much like to make Harry do the Scrubs EEEAAAGGGGGLLLLEEEEEE with me when I see it. But like, we’d have to practice. We’re no Turk and JD.

TitleNever Never
Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publishing Date: September 22, 2015
Pages: 368
Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.       
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, two boys, and two big, floppy hound dogs. She thinks chai tea is proof of magic in the world, and loves all things kissy, magical, and strange. She'd totally love to connect with you. You can find her saying ridiculous things on Twitter @briannashrum.

Enter to win a finished copy of Never Never! US only, sorry!

And remember, if you order Never Never during release week, you can get super cool bonus content--just fill out this form.

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September 21: The YA Book Traveler

September 22: KellyVision

September 23: A Glass of Wine

September 24: Cover Contessa


  1. That's a hard question. I'd have a hard time resisting such an adventure, but at the same time, I've had a lot of pretty great adventures growing up. I love the idea of Peter Pan and I'm really looking forward to this retelling.

  2. Well, today I'd totally go with him, but normally I wouldn't as I think there are a bunch of adventures that are easier to have as adults. I can't wait to read this book!

  3. I think I'd go. Never even gave this a though before so I just think it would be so different I'd go with him.

  4. I would go. I love Peter Pan, and adulthood is way too stressful to pass on an opportunity like that!

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