Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s upcoming novel, Second Star, took me by surprise. I picked it up out of curiosity, not really knowing what it was truly about. But as I read I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the story. I immersed myself in the mystery – what really happened to John and Michael Darling? I immersed myself in the blossoming romance – I really hope Wendy ends up with … well, I can’t say who as it will give some key story elements away.
It’s obvious that I enjoyed Second Star. So much so that I reached out to author Alyssa B. Sheinmel to see if she would be willing to answer a few questions for us. And guess what!? She was!
BookBandit Blog (BB): Second Star is based upon the classic Peter Pan – of all the classic stories, why did you choose to retell this one?
Alyssa B. Sheinmel (ABS): The world and characters of Peter Pan have just always been fascinating to me. I actually wrote one of my college admissions essays about Neverland; I’d been the kind of kid who’d worn a watch from the day she learned how to tell time and I wondered what kind of effect Neverland would have on me.
BB: With that, if you could retell any other classic story, which would you want to retell and why?
ABS: Oh my goodness, that is an impossible question! I love modern-day retellings of existing stories, whether fairy tales, mythology, classic novels…I honestly can’t pick just one. I hope there will be a few in my writing future!
BB: Why surfing/surfers? (p.s. I don’t surf, never have, probably never will – but I have to say I absolutely adore the surfing aspect of Second Star)
ABS: I’ve never surfed a day in my life either, and I doubt that I will ever try – but I became absolutely obsessed with all things surfing as I researched and wrote this novel. It started with a book called The Wave by Susan Casey, about not just big wave surfing but also about the ocean and waves themselves. After that, the floodgates opened. I watched every surfing video I could find, read every book I could about big wave surfing – and the more I read, the bigger a part I knew surfing would play in Second Star. (And I’m so thrilled to hear that you adored the surfing part of the story – I loved, loved writing it.)
BB: f you had to describe Second Star to a reader who hasn’t a clue as to what it’s about, but you could only use three words, what three words would you choose to describe your book?
ABS: Sand, Waves, Longing
BB: What next for you? Can you tell of any upcoming projects?
ABS: My next book is called Faceless. It’s the story of a girl named Maisie who’s in a terrible accident. Her injuries are so severe that she undergoes a partial face transplant. It’s been an intense book to research and write – I always fall for my characters a little bit, and it’s never easy to write the more difficult parts of their stories. But I’ve also really loved writing it, and I’m excited for people to read it when it publishes next year.
BB: What advice can you offer to aspiring writers?
ABS: My number one piece of advice is never stop reading. I’m a firm believer that you can learn something from everything you read, whether it’s a novel you love, (or even a one you dislike), an article in a fashion magazine, a blog post, an op-ed column, even a textbook. I really do think that everything I read has something to teach me about writing.
A big THANK YOU to Alyssa for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me/the blog. If you want more information about Second Star or about Alyssa B. Sheinmel be sure to check her out!