Jacob Devlin is a rising young adult fantasy author from southern Arizona. His upcoming novel, The Carver will be published by Blaze Publishing on July 19, 2016. The novel is the first in a series that imagines fairy tale characters (Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Alice) mixing in the real world, how they turned out as adults, and the adventures their teenage sons and daughters are going through! We have conducted an interview with Jacob.
What inspires you to write about fairy tale characters with their adventures of their future teenage children?
Honestly, it all started with my Masters thesis! I was getting my M.A. in Italian Studies and got to research some fun things, like this fascinating idea called the “Peter Pan Syndrome” (the pop psychology term we use when a 30-year-old dude still acts like he’s 12) and how it shows up in Italian literature. Interestingly, the story of Pinocchio kept coming up. When I was writing my thesis, I started thinking, “Wait, so what if Peter Pan and Pinocchio did grow up? How would they turn out and baggage would they still be carrying from their childhood? What would their kids and jobs and wives be like?” I had to toss Alice (from Wonderland) into the mix too because she’s so unique, and there was so much potential to explore her legacy.
How did you come up with the name for your novel, 'The Carver'?
The story opens with a man named Pino DiLegno (better known to you as Pinocchio), who has sort of taken on Geppetto’s legacy of woodwork and carving figurines. When Pino is abducted by a mysterious stranger, these figurines are passed on to Pino’s son as clues to help save his family. So Pinocchio is the Carver.
Where did you draw your inspirations for your characters and stories in the series?
A lot of things inspired me! I read the original books: Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For each character and for the overall mood and feel of the book, I made playlists which featured a lot of Muse, Escala, and music from the Kingdom Hearts series. Also, since I watch too many movies, I put faces to all my characters, and that helped me imagine their adult selves a lot more vividly. For example, you might get to see Snow White roaming the Woodlands, and to me, she looks exactly like Zooey Deschanel. I have this whole “dream cast” in my head, and it’s got Patrick Stewart, Octavia Spencer, Steven Amell, Chris Pratt… it’d be a very expensive movie! Haha!
Why did you choose the 'teenage' phase of life specifically to retell its story? What is so special about this phase?
I wanted to touch upon those formative years when life is starting to take shape and you really decide who you want to be. Anything could happen, especially when you’re the son of “the boy who never grew up” or the daughter of Alice! I really wanted to know how these characters would deal with their teenage years. Cling to their childhood? Grow up too fast? Are they stuck somewhere in between?
Who are you writing this book series for? Who would you like to reach?
This is a story about family, about the ups and downs of growing up, and about finding magic and adventure and something to believe in, even in dark times and unexpected place. With that said, my hope is that there's a little something for everybody, but I think teens especially will have a lot of fun with this. If you enjoy watching Once Upon a Time or reading fairy tale retellings like The Lunar Chronicles, I hope you'll enjoy this!
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