One of my favorite people on the planet is Heidi Shulz. She’s the author of the delightfully funny book Hook’s Revenge, which was one of my favorite debuts from last year–and now its sequel The Pirate Code is out!
Heidi was actually in Los Angeles last month, and I got to celebrate the book’s release day with her. In the first photo, we’d just eaten mountains of pasta in Venice Beach, and Heidi is beaming over a plate of cannoli. <3
Here’s more about the new book:
Fresh off a fearsome encounter with the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn Hook decides the most practical plan is to hunt down her father’s famous fortune. After all, she’ll need the gold to fund her adventuring in the future. (And luckily, Hook left her the map.)
But the map proves to be a bit harder to crack than Jocelyn had hoped, and she’s convinced that the horrible Peter Pan might be the only one with the answers. Of course, he doesn’t really feel like helping her, so Jocelyn takes the only reasonable course of action left to her: she kidnaps his mother. Evie, though, is absolutely thrilled to be taken prisoner, so Jocelyn’s daring ploy doesn’t have quite the effect she’d planned for.
Along with the problem of her all-too-willing captive, Jocelyn must also contend with Captain Krueger, whose general policy is that no deed is too dastardly when it comes to stealing Hook’s treasure. And with the ever-shifting Whens of the Neverland working against her as well, Jocelyn, Evie, Roger, and the rest of the Hook’s Revenge crew have their work cut out for them.
In this rambunctious showdown between characters new and old, Jocelyn puts her own brand of pirating to the test in a quest to save her future and those she loves.
Heidi’s here with us today to play a tongue-in-cheek game, in which she tries her hand at illustrating her own book. Please welcome her back to the blog!
What if I Illustrated My Own Book?
by Heidi Shulz
Some of you may know that in addition to writing, I’m also a pretty good illustrator.
Take, for example, this self-portrait I crafted, while also, coincidentally, drafting my newest book, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code.
As with The Pirate Code’s predecessor, Hook’s Revenge, John Hendrix did all the illustrations, and he did a pretty good job, I guess.*
But I couldn’t help but wonder: What if I had been the illustrator?
Let’s answer that question together, shall we? I have taken it upon myself to recreate a few** of the interior illustrations from The Pirate Code.
Here we have Jim McCraig with a Wooden Leg, following his captain—and riding a cannon—into a battle to capture Peter Pan’s newest mother.
The girl led her men toward the fray, their own swords drawn. Jim McCraig, slower than the rest due to his wooden leg, rode the cannon like a wagon down the short slope, his parrot perched atop his head, both screeching in glee. One-Armed Jack followed, waving his new prosthetic—a butterfly net, well suited for capturing things—and whooping with excitement.
Not bad, right?
Next we have another battle: a fierce fight between Jocelyn, Roger, and Evie—the aforementioned mother—with Poor Smee caught in the crossfire.
Roger wiped his face with the back of his hand, then ever so slowly reached into the pot. He pulled up a sticky fistful of goo and wiped it in Jocelyn’s hair. With that, all bedlam broke loose. Jocelyn screamed with laughter and flung mush at Evie. Evie bounced up and down on the balls of her feet, giggling wildly, and poured a ladleful over Mr. Smee’s head. Mr. Smee seemed unsure what action to take, not retaliating until Jocelyn ordered him to do so, at which point he fired a glop at Roger and hit him dead center in the chest.
I like to think I perfectly captured Roger’s expression. Some magnificent art there, under the mush.
Lastly, we have my version of my favorite illustration: Jocelyn and Evie sitting together under the light of a full moon, on their wreck of a ship.
Jocelyn laid her hat aside and took first watch. She sat alone at the edge of the wreck, feet hanging between the bars of the railing. The full moon made a shining path on the water, like a road. How she wished they could all just climb on and follow it back to land.
Evie joined her, dangling her bare feet next to her.
I think I captured the sweet, melancholy feel of the original quite well, wouldn’t you agree?
All right, perhaps my illustrating skills are not quite as good as John Hendrix’s. I think I’ll stick to writing.
Instead of another fine drawing, I’ll leave you with one last quote:
If Jocelyn were being honest, she would admit she wasn’t quite eager to meet Krueger again herself. She had already had one run-in with him, and it had been more than enough. Krueger had viciously attacked her ship under the mere suspicion the girl might have information about Hook’s gold. Jocelyn had only escaped his sword when she accidently fell overboard.
However, abject honesty aboard a pirate ship—particularly about one’s feelings—is about as useful as woolen socks for a wooden leg. Jocelyn gave Mr. Smee’s suggestion the tiniest bit of consideration before tossing it overboard.
“Thank you for your concern . . .” she began. Mr. Smee gave her a hurt look. How it pained him when she was polite. She softened her speech with a “You filthy dog!” and continued: “. . . but the crew will be fine. I will be fine. We’ll be careful. What could go wrong?”
*An amazing job, as ever. John Hendrix for President.
**No, not all of them. One, because spoilers. Two, because drawing is hard.
About the Author
Heidi Schulz lies to children for fun and profit. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, Hook’s Revenge, published by Disney•Hyperion, was a Bank Street Best book, among the New York Public Library’s Top 100 Titles for Children in 2014, and an OCTE Oregon Spirit Honor Book. A sequel, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code, was released September 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, Giraffes Ruin Everything, in Spring 2016.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Heidi is one of the smartest, funniest, and nicest authors I’ve had the pleasure to meet, and I’m so happy for her success. She was even gracious enough to take me on a tour of Beverly Cleary’s neighborhood in Portland last year, so I’ll update this post when I get a chance to post some of my photos from that trip to our Tumblr.
Have you had a chance to check out this series yet? If you enjoy rollicking adventure and middle grade novels (and OBVIOUSLY if you’re a fellow Peter Pan fan), you need to check them out!