Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell Blog Tour | Interview & Giveaway

Everyone knows I am a sucker for a kickass fairytale retelling, so I am so happy to welcome Lisa Maxwell to the blog today to talk about one of said kickass fairytale retellings! Thank you, Rockstar Book Tours, for having me.

Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Author Interview

Hi, Lisa! I am so excited for your book because I am a huge sucker for fairytale retellings. For those who may not know what UNHOOKED is about, can you sum it up in five words? The world’s shortest elevator pitch!
Hi! Thanks so much for having me! How about 6 words?
Nothing’s more dangerous than a story.

And now that we have my obsession with fairytales out of the way, I was wondering if you can share your top 3 fairytales?
What a great question! I love the original version of The Little Mermaid, where she doesn’t get the guy. I also loved the older version of Aladdin and the Amazing Lamp, and strangely enough, Bluebeard.

More importantly, how did this AWESOME idea for a book come to you?
To be honest? I wanted to write a book about a pirate that wasn’t a historical. When I finally came to doing a retelling of Peter Pan, I went and actually read the source text, Peter and Wendy. I was really struck by how dark Barrie’s story was and how much it had always been a tale of the dangers of childhood and believing too much in heroes, as much as it is a tale of adventure. Once I read the line, “when they grew too old, or he grew tired of them, Pan thinned their numbers,” I knew I had a story I wanted to tell.

It took longer to figure out how I wanted to retell it, because I didn’t want to rehash the same story. I wanted to add something to some of the themes I thought Barrie was dealing with in the first place. I was doing some research on Barrie and the Llewellyn Davies boys, and I saw that two had served in WWI and one had died in combat. It struck me that the same generation of children who would have been the first to grow up with Barrie’s Pan would have also been the young men who were taken in by tales of battlefield glory and rushed off to fight in WWI thinking it would be over by Christmas. There were actually thousands of child soldiers who lied about their ages to go off on an adventure, and I wanted to play with that connection—between tales of glory and adventure, and the reality of those tales.

What is your favorite quote from UNHOOKED?
Oh, gosh—there are so many I love! But this is probably my absolute favorite. It’s Gwen wrestling with what she learns in Neverland:
Since being brought to this world, I’ve come to understand that everything I’ve ever learned about good and evil, about the choices we make and the choices we must live with, have been nothing more than convenient fictions invented by those who have never been confronted by the darkness and actually forced to choose.

Was it easy for you to come up with the title for UNHOOKED? As a fairytale buff, I can’t help but smile whenever I hear it!
This book was SO hard to title! When I was writing, the file was called Neverafter, but there was another book by that name. So my husband, of all people, came up with UNHOOKED, which is what I queried the story with. When we went on submission, my awesome agent, Kathleen Rushall, thought we needed something darker to fit the flavor of the book, so we came up with HEARTLESS THINGS, which is a quote from Peter Pan. The publisher wanted to change that, so we went with THE STARS TURNED AWAY, until they changed their mind and wanted something that said Peter Pan more explicitly, so we went back to UNHOOKED. I still love HEARTLESS THINGS, but I think UNHOOKED fits the book so well! (Just don’t tell my husband I admitted to that!)

I am absolutely terrible at naming characters. How did you name yours?
Gwen is a derivative of Wendy (Gwendolyn), so that’s where she came from. Rowan just kind of came to me, and it seemed to suit an Irish pirate. Olivia was just a name I liked, and a lot of the lost boys’ names come from a range of places. I wanted to give a feel for children being taken from a variety of times and countries, but still keep the British feel of Peter Pan. Most of the names are English or from one of the British colonies.

Obviously this question is the most important of all: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream?
Hagaan Dazs vanilla bean

About the Author

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep (Flux, Fall 2015) and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

Find Lisa:  Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram



This is a US only giveaway offered up by the lovely Simon and Shuster and Lisa Maxwell.

1 winner will receive a Funko Pop Captain Hook, a large Neverland map, and a signed finished copy of UNHOOKED.

5 additional winners will receive a swag pack containing an NVR sticker, bookmark, postcard, and other assorted stickers.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The last stop on the tour will appear tomorrow at Mundie Moms, but hop on over to Rockstar Book Tours to get the full tour schedule here! 


  1. Can't wait to read this!! Fun interview, thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I thought this interview was really cute too!

      Thanks for stopping by (:

  2. Lisa, I LOVED hearing about your inspiration for Unhooked! It's totally got me hooked (*winks*) on reading this story ;)

  3. I'm actually reading this one right now; about 85% through! I'm really enjoying it and plan on finishing it tonight. I actually just passed Lisa's favorite quote :).

    1. Haha what a coincidence! I hope you love it <3