Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview and Cover Reveal: Audrey Greathouse, author of THE NEVERLAND WARS

Today I'm doing something I haven't done in a while: hosting an interview!  I'm so happy to have the lovely Audrey Greathouse on the blog today.  She wrote THE NEVERLAND WARS, a retelling of PETER PAN, and its sequel, which you will hear about more below...

Welcome to Yearning to Read, Audrey!

1. To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
  1. I've done a polysomnogram before. 
  2. I got my start as an author dealing self-published books out of my high school locker.
  3. Aside from novels, I also write and host murder mystery parties for some of my oldest friends. This year will be our seventh annual party!
  4. I'm huge fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and used to be in a shadow cast.
  5. I organized my high school's senior prank—a frozen flash mob that had all seen the school's basilisk. We wore our graduation/WIZARDING robes, wrote on the bathroom mirrors, draped a stuffed snake over the stalls, and hid a recording of "moaning myrtle" that played on loop.

2. What are your favorite things about the original Peter Pan story?
Hands down, Peter and Wendy's friendship. They are incredibly sweet together, and in a beautiful way that I think often gets lost in relationships as we get older. They clearly share this tremendous bond and play father and mother to each other while they pretend the lost boys are their children, but it is all in this really platonic, friendly way. Too few people and stories put value on intimate friendships. Sometimes someone feels like your other half or the greatest emotional influence in your life even though you're “just” friends. That said, I'm a huge fan of fairies and flying. Swings were always my favorite at the playground, and lots of days I still daydream about flying away.
3. Every writer has a favorite part of the process: outlining, drafting, editing, procrastinating, etc. What's yours?
That's a tough question! Few things compete with drafting when you're in the zone, but outlining really is my favorite part...which is why I spend so much more time on it than anything else! I like to produce really clean first drafts, and mull over an idea for months or years before I even start writing it. Once the idea stops changing in my head, that's when I know I'm ready to put it on paper. I had the idea for The Neverland Wars and wrote out a broad outline for the series in the fall of 2010...I didn't start drafting it until three years later!
4. Who is your favorite character you've created? Who would you choose as a best friend?
Those are two very different questions! Lasiandra and the mermaids are my favorite characters, but I think they'd make pretty dangerous friends. I still don't know if I should trust them or not. If I had to pick a best friend, I'd want Jay. He's got a level head on his shoulders and is pretty laid back...something I've always looked for in a friend, because I'm so high-strung! Jay is a jack of all trades and very comfortable inhabiting middle grounds, unlike Gwen. I think that confidence and self-assured nature is an admirable trait, especially in young/new adults who have so much else going on in our heads.
5. I know from personal experience that writers pour themselves into their characters to make them come alive. How are you like your main character Gwen? Which character in THE NEVERLAND WARS are you most like?
Gwen and I share a lot of aesthetic similarities. I wore a lot of weird dresses I got from thrift stores as a teenager, and never bothered with make-up. I feel like there's a few girls who buck the trends and genuinely don't care at every school, so I wanted to write that as close to my own honest experience as I could, so those other girls would be able to connect with Gwen. I'm definitely more like Gwen than any other character in The Neverland Wars. Key differences include that I'm not nearly as good at oral storytelling, have a rowdy little brother instead of a sister, and am not nearly as conflicted.
6. Would you want to live forever in Neverland? Or would you want to stay on earth and live one lifetime?
I'd head to Neverland in an instant. A tropical paradise where time doesn't exist sounds like the perfect cure for the anxiety-blob that is adulthood. I was acutely aware of this even as a kid, and spent years leaving my window open at night, hoping Peter Pan might come for me. There's a lot to recommend adulthood and a lot of fun in it, but you have to work so much harder to stay present and survive in it. Sign me up for the next flight to the mermaid's lagoon. I love Gwen, but if she thinks she might want to grow up after all...I think she's nuts.
7. How has being published changed your life?
It's introduced a completely new type crushing existential doubt into my life, which I've been trying to fill by becoming a workaholic, hahahaha. Neverland is looking as nice as ever. I was twelve when I drafted my first book, and I've wanted to be a writer ever since. I didn't really expect it to manifest this soon, and now there's this strange sense of “what now?” After all, what do you do once you've reached your life goal? It's been hard figuring out how to balance the marketing/publishing aspects of my career and everything else in my life. It's funny... I didn't think being published was something I would have to learn how to enjoy! Now that I am learning, though, it really is the best feeling.
8. If James Barrie were there anything you'd want to tell or ask him? Would you want him to read THE NEVERLAND WARS?
Oh goodness, I'd be way too embarrassed for him to read The Neverland Wars. The book focuses on teenage years instead of grade school years, and addresses so many issues I think are unique to modern life and the culture that has been born out of the technological advancements of this century. Not to mention that my writing is crumbs and crackers compared to his literary vision.
I really don't think I'd have anything to ask him, either. He left behind a beautiful story that in so many ways speaks for itself. I'd be curious to hear about the Davies boys, though, and just how much the real Peter, Michael, and George resembled the characters he created for his play and novel.
I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely adore Audrey's answers. Here are the cover and blurb for THE NEVERLAND WARS (book 1), which sounds totally awesome!  (I didn't have time to read it before the interview but it's at the very top of my list.)

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

If you want to read this (come on, you know you do!) it's available right now - for only 4 more days - for $.99!

You can find THE NEVERLAND WARS for purchase on Amazon and add it to your TBR here on Goodreads.  You can also join Audrey (and hopefully me!) on Twitter to discuss TNW and the sequel, THE PIPER'S PRICE...

Speaking of THE PIPER'S PRICE....are you guys ready to see this gorgeous cover??  I think you are.

Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn't sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he's just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she's nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn't the only one hiding from the adults' war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she'll have to confront one of Peter's oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.

UM, HELLO THERE GORGEOUS.  I need this pretty purple in my life.  (The cover links to its Goodreads page.)  It releases in February of 2017.  I can't wait to read it already...

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Give Audrey some comment love below and definitely follow her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook while you're at it.  She's awesome!

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