THE ISLAND OF
REIMAGINING THE STORY OF
PETER & WENDY
Genre: Middle Grade / Fairy Tale / Fantasy
Publisher: Luna y Miel Publishing
Date of Publication: November 9, 2013
Number of Pages: 188
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Peter is still the boy who doesn’t grow up. Wendy is a girl who had to grow up too soon. And Wendy’s brother, Michael, has autism and a connection to The Island of Lost Children, a book for readers 8-12 and any fan of Peter Pan. When Peter leaves his island home, it’s to search for pick-up soccer games and mock sword fights. Wendy spends her evenings looking after her two brothers—sometimes bratty JJ as well as Michael—while her parents work nights. In the midst of several unusual events including the disappearance of her classmate, Lily, at odds with her adoptive mother, Wendy doesn’t realize that Peter’s pirate nemesis is keeping an eye on her. Everything changes for Wendy and her family when a peculiar fairy named Bellatresse helps Peter find the girl whose stories he once listened to outside her bedroom window.
With its quirky humor and occasionally touching moments, The Island of Lost Children is about children creating their own stories, families, and communities, all while swashbuckling, navigating mystical rivers, riding child-made roller coasters, and, of course, sailing high through the open skies.
How has being a Texan influenced your writing?
Texas has inspired a couple of novels for adults I have in the works—one that incorporates the not-so-familiar history of East Texas in a narrative set in the early years of the last century. And for years I’ve been mulling over writing a mystery novel set in the Hill Country with major characters inspired by some of our most colorful elected officials. The former is drafted and percolating in a drawer. The latter is just an idea waiting to be fleshed out.
I do like to set some stories in generic urban areas because I like the energy of places where lots of people of different backgrounds come together. But I also appreciate the small towns and rural areas across the state where members of my family come from.
Where did your love of bookish things come from?
I was the quiet student who enjoyed reading and writing starting in junior high school. As a kid, my sister, friends and I created elaborate stories in our backyard and in the fields behind my home. When my grandparents installed an underground bomb shelter in their backyard, my cousins, sister and I turned it into the Starship Enterprise and the Bat Cave. At least we got some use out of it, because I doubt anyone could have survived a nuclear war there.
What kind(s) of writing do you do?
I most like to write books and short stories that try to put flesh on the bone of social concerns. I wrote a young adult novel where the main character, who experiences her own sense of unease over her mother’s serious illness, develops a relationship with a boy whose parents are undocumented even as he has temporary protected status in the US under DACA. The two characters come together as comic book creators and write out those experiences in their stories.
I also recently wrote a humorous psychological thriller I describe as the one Tina Fey might have created if she’d written Gone Girl with sisters. The novel pokes a little fun at social media and foodie culture. Full disclosure: The foundation of my house may not survive all the cookbooks I’ve purchased over the years, and the Food Network is on constantly, so in a sense, I’m making fun of myself.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I read across many genres and tend to write or think of stories in several genres, picking the one that best tells the story I want to tell. I decided to write my children’s books because I liked living in those universes for a while after spending so much time in the serious worlds of my young adult novel and the mystery novel for adults that I recently finished.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I’m currently shopping my young adult novel, GEM of the Starry Skies, to agents. In the meantime, I’ve started another novel set in Austin and a group of islands off the coast of Chile called Chiloe. Prominent in the culture there is a folklore I’ve incorporated into the narrative of a woman working to get on the other side of a devastating loss.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Invincibility. I feel I could be effective lecturing wrong doers as long as they couldn't kill me.
Kim Batchelor writes books for children and adults, stories both real and fantastical, foreign and domestic. She has been published in the Texas Observer, The Best of Friday Flash, and local literary journal, Contexas. She teaches creative writing to incarcerated women and lives in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, with a spouse, two dogs, and way too many cats. One of her prized possessions is a busted tambourine given to her by Eddie Vedder. Okay, he tossed it to her in a dark stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, but the real story is never as interesting as the one she makes up.
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