8 Apr 2022

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: SECOND STAR TO THE LEFT by Megan Van Dyke

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: Megan Van Dyke
Series: N/A
Source: N/A
Publisher: City Owl Press
Publication Date: February 15, 2022


Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust—wants absolution.

Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.

Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.

However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.

As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find—each other.

There’s one sure-fire way to get me excited about a book concept. Tell me it’s a retelling or reimagining of one of my favorite classic stories. Fairy tales captured my heart at a young age, and have never let go. They have magic to them…aside from the obvious curses and spells. That’s probably because they contain so many elements that make a great story: adventure, magic, a boring or miserable life turned upside down, triumphs over adversity, found families, happy endings, and sometimes just a bit of pixie dust. 😉

Classic stories get retold over and over again, but it takes a careful balance and deft hand to write one that truly stands out from the crowd while still paying homage to the original.

Personally, I get disappointed if I pick up a book that’s a retelling of a classic, and I can’t find the things I loved about the original in its pages. After all, that’s the beauty of a retelling. It’s familiar. Comfortable. And yet, it’s something new and exciting too. 

A great retelling is like eating your favorite comfort food, but with a twist that makes it even better than you remember. After all, if we wanted just to read the original story, we’d go read that again, right? 

But if I can’t find those familiar elements, it loses that “comfort” factor. It can still be a great story, but I might be disappointed that it lacks the classic elements I loved. The same is true of retellings that lack creativity. Sure, mac and cheese is great, but if I’m hoping for something new and exciting but am served another cup of Easy Mac, I’ll probably be disappointed, even though I like Easy Mac.

Striking that balance of familiar and new was one of the major things I had to focus on when writing Second Star to the Left, an adult reimagining of Peter Pan. I knew it needed to have elements of the original story that readers, myself included, love, but also have enough of its own unique flavor and twists to be exciting and engaging on its own. 

For me, the originality came from asking “why” and “what if” questions about the classic tale. Why is Tinker Bell hanging out with humans? Hm… What if she was banished from her homeland? But why? Well, what if she broke pixie law by selling pixie dust? But not pixie dust as we know it from the original. In this version, humans use it as a drug to let them fly, or rather, get high. 

Similar to the source material, but a very different adult twist!

Since I love a good romance, I knew that element needed a significant boost in this story. Peter is just a kid. He’d be too young for the kind of love interest I had in mind, especially since I knew this story would focus on Tinker Bell. But Captain Hook? Especially a younger, sexier Captain Hook? Now that could be interesting. 
Definitely an adult twist on the classic tale.

I always felt like there was some history between Captain Hook and Tinker Bell. But what could have caused that? Well, what does Captain Hook value most? He loves his ship and being an intimidating pirate captain, so what if Tinker Bell got him cursed so that the seas turned against him? That would definitely cause some tension. A little (or a lot of) tension is my catnip in romance, so it was a must-add ingredient for this reimagining too.

The questions continued to flow, and the characters revealed their stories to me bit by bit, giving me so many exciting snippets of information and twists that even I, the author, didn’t see coming. Even if I have a plan and think I know the story, my characters always know best, and I let them lead the way. Besides, if a twist shocks me, I know it’s going to surprise and excite my readers.

Back to making this retelling my own: While it’s a grown-up version of Neverland that’s quite different than the classic tale many people know, I knew it needed to have some characters and elements that make the original special. Peter and the lost boys are there, of course. We also get Hook’s loyal first mate, Smee, and a host of other pirates. The merfolk play a key role, and we see a certain nefarious crocodile—though this one might be a little more human than reptilian. 

However, we also get new characters and places, and some events might be slightly different than you remember. In fact, if Second Star to the Left were to fit within the canon timeline, it would be a prequel, as it explores the dynamics that occur when several of these classic characters first meet and what events might possibly have led to the Peter Pan story most people know. 

My ultimate hope with this, and all the retellings I write, is that readers will enjoy this adventure as much, if not more, than the original. I hope it’s that new twist on mac and cheese that they’ve been craving, but that still gives them that warm and fuzzy feeling. And perhaps, it sticks with them so much that they even view the classic tale in an entirely new light. 

I can't wait to read this one!

1 comment:

  1. A good retelling is like eating your favourite comfort food, but with a twist that makes it even better. After all, if we only wanted to read the original story again, we'd do so. I run an online service that helps people, particularly students, with their academic tasks.


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