Excerpt: HOOK’S REVENGE by Heidi Schulz

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Captain Hook’s feisty daughter hits the high seas to avenge her father’s death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile in Heidi Schulz’s spirited middle-grade debut.

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

Jocelyn swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry. The letter quivered in her trembling hands. Steadying her- self, she began to decipher the bold strokes of thick, black ink covering the page.

*******

Arrrrrr your ready for another excerpt today? This section was one of the first things I wrote as I began working on Hook’s Revenge, many years ago. Even as I rewrote and revised, over and over, the letter Captain Hook sends informing Jocelyn of her quest changed very little. I hope you enjoy it!

Floreat McNary High School!

~Heidi

 

Dear Female Offspring,

Since you are now reading this epistle, the thing I fear has most assuredly happened. I am dead.

Jocelyn stared with shock at the page. She turned to Edgar, who nodded his head and motioned for her to continue.

Please do not shed many tears for me, although a few would be nice. Even the most wicked and sinister man, such as myself, takes comfort in the thought that someone will mourn his passing.

I have lived a good life. For many years I have ransacked, plundered, and slashed with both blade and hook. Few have lived a more fulfilling existence.

I am feared by all men, yet I fear none. Indeed, I fear no man or boy _especially no boy!

Yet herein lies my only shame. Call this my last confession: I am afraid of something. Indeed, if the truth be told, I am terrified.

A cold-blooded nightmare stalks my every waking minute. I am haunted by rows of razor-sharp teeth and the ticking of a fiendish timepiece.

Yes, it is true! I live in fear of the dreadful crocodile who feasted first upon that confounded clock and then upon my right hand. On that terrible day, I stared the beast in its terrible eye and felt its power. It seemed to take my measure as a man, and, to my eternal disgrace, I was found lacking.

From that time to this, I have lived in shame.

And yet the horror grows! Earlier this evening, while resting in my quarters, I beheld a vision of my own death at the beast’s sharp jaws. Smee tries to comfort me. He tells me I am simply the victim of a bad dream, but he is wholly incorrect.

I am Captain James Hook! I am no victim; I create them!

I do not have bad dreams; I inspire them!

No, this was something else: a warning of my ultimate demise. Now a grim reptilian specter of death is my truest companion.

It is my hope that penning these words will offer me some relief. Perhaps I will yet become the conqueror. I will master my fear and blast the infernal creature to hell!

And yet, if you are reading this, my victory was not to be. The crocodile has sent me to my doom. My heart has stopped, but the beast’s dreadful ticktock continues.

Oh, the injustice!

You are my only heir. As such, you must avenge my death. I lay this charge upon you: Come to the Neverland. Hunt the beast and destroy it in my name.

I have no doubt you will fail, for you are practically an infant, and a girl besides. However, as my only progeny, you must try. With my blood in your veins, you may yet overcome these weaknesses and bring me victory.

Floreat Etona!

 Jas. Hook

P.S. You must consider this quest your inheritance, along with a few personal effects and a small bag of coins left with my bo’sun, Mr. Smee. I may not be able to take my riches into the afterlife, but that is no reason to give them away.

Jocelyn read and reread the words on the page. She couldn’t seem to stop herself. She felt that were she to finish the letter and lay it aside, only then could it be true. Captain James Hook might not have been a good father, but he was the only one she had. Once she set the paper down, their connection would be broken. He would never come for her; she would truly be an orphan.

After several minutes, Edgar gently grasped the letter in his beak, pulled it from her shaking hands, and set it beside her. That was when the tears came, but as her father had requested, Jocelyn did not shed many for him. Most of the tears were for herself.

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Bio:

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, co-captaining a crew made of their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, will be published by Disney•Hyperion on September 16, 2014. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in fall 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in 2016.

Website | Twitter  | Facebook  | Goodreads

Jacket copy:

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

Purchase Hook’s Revenge: Powell’s | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

 

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Posted on September 23, 2014, in Debut Novel, Excerpt, Middle Grade and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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