Author Spotlight with Lisa Maxwell, author of Unhooked



By: Lisa Maxwell

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016


For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.

But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?


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In honor of her new book Unhooked, Lisa Maxwell was nice enough to answer our questions for our first ever author spotlight! We also have a giveaway for a copy of the Unhooked below AND Lisa is giving away a swag pack, just leave you answer to her question in the comments.


Hi! Thanks so much for having me!

1) If you emptied out your purse, wallet, desk drawer, pockets, backpack, beach bag, saddle bag, or fanny pack, what would we find?
Probably nothing useful… Seriously. I’m a Virgo, but I’m also usually the least prepared person in the world. I was the mom who forgot diapers…regularly.

But what would you find? In my purse: Probably a tube of The Body Shop’s Vitamin E lip balm—I’ve been using that stuff for YEARS and I love it so much. My wallet with way too many of those loyalty cards in them (which I will inevitably forget to actually use). Lipstick that I always forget to wear. Broken crayons and probably a couple of cars or some Lego pieces (see above note about being a mom). In my beach bag? ALWAYS a book or three. And sunscreen.

2) What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’m a total plotter. I’ll come up with an idea, but I can’t ever start writing until I know all the parts. And then when I do write, I’m a very linear, start-to-finish, type of writer, who revises as I write.

3) Describe Unhooked in five words or less:
Not your childhood Peter Pan.
Who doesn’t love a pirate?

4) Gwen is stuck between a charming hero and a roguish pirate, we’ll have to read the book to see how her story ends up, but who would you pick in Gwen’s situation?
Well, they’re both pretty. And they’re both kind of awful too, but I have a soft spot for pirates. Then again, Pan has some serious punk-rock vibes going on, and I have a soft spot for rockers, too. UGH! Way too hard to choose!

5) What are some fun facts you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book (but are still quite relevant to the world of Unhooked)?
I love this question!!

Fun Fact #1- All of the Fey in the book are based on real myths and folklore. I wanted to build a world where the stories we tell ourselves—Peter Pan and fairy legends—came to life in unexpected ways.

Fun Fact #2- I didn’t know who was going to survive until I forced myself to write to the end. UNHOOKED is the only book I’ve written that I didn’t plot, and it took me almost two years to revise it from the original NaNoWriMo draft. Even as I was revising, I couldn’t decide who I wanted to save and who I needed to save.

Fun Fact #3- All of the boys come from different time periods. William, who is the Captain’s right-hand-man, is modeled off early 80s punk rockers with his bracelets and safety-pinned pants.

Fun Fact #4- There’s a Star Wars reference in the book.

Fun Fact #5- The Captain’s mechanical arm is a real thing! I took the inspiration from an actual Victorian prosthetic hand. Your readers can see it here:

Fun Fact #6- My Neverland is modeled off the Phi Phi islands:

6) Do you have a special story behind your inspiration for Unhooked?
I feel like I should come up with a magical story about my inspiration, but really, I just wanted to write a pirate book. I’d read Elizabeth Hoyte’s SCANDALOUS DESIRES, which had a really wickedly wonderful river pirate, and I’d just seen the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean, and I wanted a pirate to call my own. But I wanted him to be more than just a pirate, so my second piece of inspiration for both the pirate and the book as a whole came from a poem: “Dulce et Decorum Est.” It talks about stories being lies and dangerous lies at that, so I wanted to play with that idea.

7) Is there a specific scene in the book that you wish you could see your readers react to? Is it surprising, devious, romantic, or something else altogether?
I would really love to see people react to Gwen being taken by the Dark Ones. I worked so long on that particular scene, because I wanted to make sure the reader’s skin positively crawled, and I’d love to see if I succeeded.

Thanks SO much for having me and for the great questions. I’m happy to give away an UNHOOKED swag pack to one of your readers if they answer one of my questions: Who would they choose? Pirate or Pan? Leave your answer in the comments and enter our giveaway below!

about the author

lisa maxwell

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, 2-2-16). 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.
This July, she will be teaching a writing workshop for a week in western Ireland. You can check out more information at

Find Lisa on her Website | Twitter


We are giving away a copy of Unhooked, for US residents only.

And don’t forget to enter Lisa’s giveaway too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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If you like what you read above, please follow using one (or more) of the social media sites in the sidebar!

Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were provided by the author. Neither belong to us. Thank you to Lisa, and her assistant Nicole.

Comments · 5

  1. Great interview!
    I am really looking forward to this book. At first I wasn’t interested enough but the more I hear about it the more I want to read it.
    I really like feys and I am glad to hear that they are based on a true myths and folklore in this book.
    The only thing that I still don’t know, but I really, really want to know is why this book changed the title and the cover then it was planned firstly?
    Do you maybe know the answer?

    1. I don’t know what was behind the change in title and cover for this book, but I do know that in most cases, any title or cover design changes are normally out of the author’s control. It’s under the publishers control, and can change depending on the current market and what’s trending. So, I’m assuming there isn’t an interesting story behind the change, just market trends!

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