I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.
I grew up in Vienna – not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to the country side, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop. (The laptop came first!}
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher back then called me a liar. Today, I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.
People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. After my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I knew I could do anything if only I never stopped dreaming.
That’s also part of what I teach my sutdents in writing workshops today. Always dream big! If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.
Some personal stuff:
I love everything that is labeled Disney, and if it’s pink, all the better. My patronus is a wolf and my wand’s the broken twig of an apple tree, 10 inch, but it does the job. Glitter on my shoes is a must, though I don’t care for the glass slippers. Cinderella’s ball gown? Heck, anytime!
In Neverland you look at the story of Peter Pan, from a very different perspective, casting Captain Hook, or Jamie, as the romantic lead. What gave you the idea?
Martha, you know me. 😉 Nothing gave me the idea, actually. In fact, it was someone. Jamie Hook himself. I’m telling you and your reader this, because I know you’ve got experience with energies and will understand when I tell you that I sort of channelled the story. The idea, the characters, the book. And it wasn’t on purpose, either.
It was in a moment when I watched Peter Pan with my son a long time ago that suddenly one very charismatic and insisting energy tapped on my shoulder.
Writing always happens like that for me. I don’t just invent stories. I always wait for the moment when a great energy out there stops by and says hi. They feel almost as real to me, as the person next to you feels to you.
I get their thoughts and intentions in form of emotions and images in my head. James Hook—the one I wrote about—is a character in a different dimension, if you like to look at it that way. And he broadcasted his story on a frequency that connected with my reception. I was a tremendously lucky girl that he chose me to tell his story.
Angel, or Angelina McFarland comes from an extremely wealthy and formal family. What was your inspiration for her upbringing?
Again, I didn’t invent her. She was just there and I picked up on what she told me about herself, just like with Jamie. It was her life, set in stone, that I wrote about. If it was my story to tell, without their influences, she would probably have been a NY city girl, drug addict and making all these things up. But as I understand it, these characters do live in the form of special energy somewhere out there (sorry, I really can’t name that place). It might be that they met and wanted to come together, but to make that happen, maybe someone had to write that story. I like to see myself as some sort of character matchmaker. For it to happen, I have to write it down.
This is also why I never continue stories after the couple came together. From then on it’s not my story to tell anymore. They come to me, tell me what they want to happen, and in the end, they leave again. The leaving really is the hardest part, because after spending such a long time with them, it’s just so sad to let them go. But it has to be, so new character energies can come and tap on my shoulder.
Age is a really strong theme in the book. Angel doesn’t want to stay a teenager, and Peter doesn’t want to grow up. Jamie stopped aging at 19, but comes across clearly as a grown man. In the sequel age plays an even bigger role. What role do you see age playing in the story?
I have the feeling that age stands a little for innocence in this book. Peter had to face some terrible things that made him scared of growing up. For when you grow up, you have grown-up problems. There’s this certain point in your life, when you come out of your innocence and start seeing life from a different angle.
Peter refuses to go past this point.
Angel is exactly at this point.
And Jamie is long past this point, but he can’t move on, because Peter put the spell on them all. Jamie wants to continue with a grown-up life, because he understands what kind of opportunities you have. Things that you never see as a kid.
What is the importance of memory in Neverland?
Losing your memory equals losing your ties to the real world. No memory, no need to go back and grow up. With every day spent in Neverland, the real world with all the duties fades more, and at the same time you slip into the world of innocence. It’s like ageing in reverse.
At the beginning, Hook seems to be a bad guy pretending to be nice. Later he comes across as a good guy, pretending to be a ruthless pirate. Who is the real Captain Hook, and how much does he actually change during the story?
Well, let’s start out with saying, over the centuries he got very frustrated. He sure was a spirited, happy child. He experienced what love is, from his mother, but he also had to face abandonment, when his father left them and chose another family. Looking at his story from his childhood on until the very last page in the book, then he sure was the one facing the biggest change of them all. It was a change from good to bitter and back to good. The bitter part in the middle was never what he would have become without Peter. So when Angel came to Neverland and he found the difference in her from all the stoic things in his life, he was reminded of who he really was and could be again.
The second book in the series, Pan’s Revenge, leaves things open for a sequel. Do you see yourself revisiting Neverland?
I revisit Neverland very often. But only for myself and to see good friends again. When I finished the book with the open ending, I thought, maybe one day, there will be another book. Because Neverland was amazing and I wanted to go there again, with all the emotions taking hold of me as they do while I write some such energy’s story. But there are two reasons why I’ll never do it.
One: The story is told. It was Angel’s and Jamie’s story and not the story of someone else.
They do have their happily ever after, and I do not ask them to come back from whichever happy place they are right now, only to give them trouble again, just so there can be another book. This seems unfair to me. And I wouldn’t enjoy it.
The second reason is, that if there was another book, it would be from someone else’s perspective. Peter let’s say, or maybe even Jack Smee. When I write a book, I always give my very best to make them the most adorable character possible. To me, Jamie is perfect. He has been so from the very first second, he introduced himself to me. He IS the real soul of Neverland.
If I write another book now, that new male lead would have to be equally adorable, if not more. And that would ruin Jamie in the entire series. This cannot happen. I won’t let it.
It doesn’t mean that stories are better the longer they are. I always try to close them in the best possible moment. And with Neverland, I think I achieved that.
Would you like to tell us about your most recent release, The Impossible Bet?
Oh, that is a tricky story. Jace Rhode has a bunch of friends that outclass any enemy. 🙂 For a mindless action at his birthday party, he’s getting in trouble with one of them and the outcome is a seriously funny but difficult wager. Jace is so sure of himself that he jumps into it without hesitation. What he didn’t reckon on was that love would get in the way.
The wager in Jace’s words:
Two of which must be initiated by the girl—a girl my friends select for me.
I have just under two weeks.
If I win, I get the coveted role of Tristan in a stage production.
If I lose, I’m still in the play…in the worst possible way. Playing Isolde in lacy underwear is something I may never live down!
The bet should be a piece of cake—until my friends pick my conquest. My quirky new neighbour, Pippi Longstocking in Pink. Yikes!
Oh, and did I mention I’m not allowed to speak to her? At. All.
Where can people find you online?
Pictures from www.123rf.com, 17700739, 40818224, 69659595.
Head shot and book covers copyright Anna Katmore.