Published by CreateSpace on 5-9-2014
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Spawned from an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow the protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they are thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons.
James Benedict is a just man haunted by evil. Pushed to the edge, everything stripped from him, a new man arises . . . a man whose name strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it: "Captain Hook".
Eileen Davis was a timid woman. Through a fateful cruise she finds herself in the company of the Captain of the Mistral Thief. With his guidance, and the meddling of the local barista, she eventually finds her inner strength.
Will the two of them unite through time to fulfill the promise of their ancestors or will tempers ignite leading all to failure?
True love's magic is not to avoid changes,
But to navigate them successfully
Interview With Elizabeth Los
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
Second on the Right is a fantasy novel that turns the original story of Peter Pan upside down. Those fond memories of Peter Pan whisking Wendy and her brothers off to Neverland, forget all of that. This isn’t a bedtime story. It’s the account of what Hook really went through and what he lost prior to those events.
What makes your book unique?
It’s a twisted on a children’s classic. The villain is now the hero and the hero the villain. The book pushes James Hook beyond what a man should endure, testing his sanity and his will to live.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
Second on the Right was written in answer because of my fondness for Hook. While most children cheered for Peter Pan, the Darling children or Tinkerbell, I was off to the side and alone, cheering for the captain. I’ve found this to be the case more often than not and I wonder why. Is it the complex nature of villains? I always felt there was more to Hook.
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
Second on the Right is supposed to be a fun and easy read. I didn’t have any particular theme in mind, but I’ve been told by others that there are some messages to glean from the story. Readers have told me that they enjoyed how certain delicate subjects were broached, such as tragedy and abuse. One theme that seems to be brought up is how the characters’ decisions affect those around them. An act based on passion, whether love or hate, can lead to poor choices.
How long did it take to write the book?
Over four years, at least. I spent the last two years revising and revising. It has passed through several beta readers, proofreaders and two professional editors.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
When considering Second on the Right, it’s difficult to chose between James Benedict (aka Captain Hook) or Captain Robert Benedict. I like aspects of both characters, but they each have their flaws as well. Still, if I really had to choose, I suppose it would be Hook. He’s always been a favorite of mine, ever since I first read J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (aka Peter and Wendy). He’s loyal, loving, a gentleman and true to his word.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I initially wrote without an outline. When it grew to novel length, I realized I needed more structure. I completed an outline, then went through the story again, always from beginning to end. Having some freedom to write allows more creativity on my part, but if I don’t have some basic outline, I will lose my way and quite possibly write myself into a corner and that is never good. But not unexpected turns.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
On occasion I have readers ask me why I started in present day rather than back in the days of pirates. It might have been an easier story to write if I had done that. But no, there’s nothing I would go back and change.
How did you come up with the cover?
My husband is an art major. He come up with the idea of using an American Indian star map. I wanted the hook on the cover, so I found tutorials on how to make that hook into a shadow looming over the map.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think it was a sudden revelation. It happened more over time. I wrote stories as a child. In Junior High, I received a poor grade on a fictional story, but was published in a conference journal for my article on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I continued to write in High School and College, but more for fun. I’d create random stories for my friends with the sole purpose of entertainment. It wasn’t until around 2009 that I came across those old stories. Showing them to my friend, she encouraged me to get back into writing. I started with the one story that had always been in my head: the story of Hook. I take it a day at a time, because I want to enjoy the process, not call it a career.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
The one I remember was about a satellite that was taken off course by some space debris. Pulled through a black hole, the machine encountered a universe of artificial intelligence. When it was able to return to Earth, it’s program had been altered, giving it the same intelligence.
Honestly, it wasn’t very good. So the grade I received I fully deserved! 🙂
What is your favorite genre, and why?
Science Fiction! I love the explanation of why things work, why they happen, the cause and effect, etc. I like the clinical aspects of medicine. I guess you might say I have more of an engineer mind, so Science Fiction makes more sense to me than Fantasy.
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
I’ve really enjoyed the Pendergast series by Preston and Child, but I’ve always been inspired by Doyle’s Holmes stories.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on a series of paranormal mysteries. They will be considered young adult books. The main characters start off in High School and we’ll be able to watch them grow physically and emotionally with each book. My plan is to have at least the next two written when the first is ready for publishing.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Be professional! Take your time in writing and editing. Seek out advice to learn more. Take it seriously if you want to be taken seriously.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
Eh…it’s difficult to do. I often work late on my laptop when the kids are in bed. I also rise early in the morning to write more before beginning my day. It doesn’t always work out. For those times when I’m inspired but don’t have the time, I keep a journal nearby where I scribble in notes to refer to late. That has been really helpful for me.
The night grew its darkest, just before dawn, when every man aboard the Mistral Thief heard a strange triumphant crow. Benedict shot up with a start. Recognizing the familiar sound, he grabbed hold of his sword and burst out onto the deck. He could make out the figure of the boy, Peter.
He heard the sound of his crew, spooked by the noise of what shouldn’t be on board a ship. They scurried to light the deck lamps. As the light grew stronger, Benedict could see more clearly a petite figure on the mast, hands on hips, weapon at the side. Glancing back to the deck, he saw James coming from below. Benedict decided to hold off on approaching the figure, knowing of James’ desire for revenge. He kept a watchful eye, fully aware of James’ tendency to act on impulse.
“Peter,” James said in a low growl. “Show yourself!” he shouted.
“That crow. I’ve heard that before,” Benedict commented.
Peter alighted onto the railing with such ease and grace it irritated James. He gave a slight bow, as if observing the niceties. Pulling one of two bags from his belt, he held it up in his hand. James held the sheath of his sword with his hook, struggling only momentarily to hurriedly unsheathe it.
Peter laughed and shook his bag, “Need a hand?” He laughed even more, causing chills to run through James.
James advanced towards him, but stopped short. Peter had reached into the bag he had been holding and had removed a rotting hand, with fingers missing. It was all too familiar to James: his right hand. James and Benedict cringed, disgusted at the sight.
Peter tossed it at James, who jumped back in disgusted. The splat of soft, wet flesh hit the wood, matching the feeling in the pit of their stomachs. Laughing, Peter spun up in flight, and landed back down on the deck, retrieving the hand. Pieces had been left behind from its initial fall.
“No? Much happier with a hook, are we? You’re welcome,” he sneered. “There’s one who would appreciate a hand, yours, in fact.” He floated to the railing to glance at the waters below. “Come, take a look. I promise I won’t bite,” he grinned, taking several steps away to allow James to draw near.
James and Benedict cautiously took a glimpse. What they saw was the shadowy shape of an enormous crocodile.
James said to him, “Impossible. They can’t grow that large, can they?”
Benedict had no response. He had never seen one that large. In the water, the crocodile, nearly twenty meters long, ticked and hissed. The sounds were eerily similar to a clock.
Benedict and James peered down again at the beast. The crocodile thrashed and clawed its way partially up the side of the Mistral Thief. Sweat dampened James’ brow. Benedict looked at Peter, who was now dangling the remaining portion of what he assumed was James’ right hand over the side of the ship. The crocodile leapt from the water, greatly desiring either the hand of James or James himself.
Both James and Benedict cringed, though it was James that moved away from the railing. The scratching of the crocodile’s claws on the side of the ship seemed to make him tremble. Peter laughed maniacally, and tossed James’ hand to the crocodile.
“You’ve been using it for bait?” James looked at Peter, horror and disgust evident on his face. “This is all a game to you.”
Pan. He hasn’t aged. Should I tell James? Benedict thought. His eyes shifted in James’ direction. He needs to know.
James pointed his sword at Peter. “What do you want?” He shouted.
Peter unsheathed his knife, circling around the deck. James followed suit. Occasionally, Peter would tap the end of his sword. However, Benedict knew James was a man of indomitable courage. James held his sword steady, firmly in his left hand, his hook slightly hidden behind him. His eyes were cold as steel. At that moment, James appeared to be in complete control of his emotions and actions. Benedict couldn’t help but beam proudly at what he had done for James.
“What do I want?” Peter asked himself thoughtfully. He looked back at James, his eyes glowing faintly red. “I want you to pay,” but he stopped. “Then again, perhaps you are suffering a bit. After all, I’m finding your son to be a delicious addition to my lost boys.” He ended this with a slight hiss.
“I’ve done nothing to you,” James replied. “I believe you’re the one that will pay for taking my family.”
Benedict subtly moved closer to James. He could see how the boy was manipulating James, using the loss of Eileen and Robbie to rile him to the point of pure rage. Benedict knew all too well how easy it was to make James angry.
“Jas,” he said in quiet warning, seeing James’ shoulders rise and fall more frequently.
James voice wavered, “What areyou?”
Benedict hesitated to offer his knowledge. What would it serve but to merely fan the flame the boy had started. Quietly he said to James, “Me thinks he’s Pete, a boy I met years ago. Feeds off humans.”
“Explain, please,” James murmured to Benedict, not taking his eyes off Peter.
“Not quite o’ changeling. Thought ta be mere legend, but I’d seen it with me own eyes. A powerful creature, though from what world, I’m not sure. Feeds off tha young, slow and sure ta stay alive. No doubt, yer boy be one he’s feedin’ on,” he explained.
Peter held a penetrating gaze at Benedict. “Oooohh. You’re a rather smart one, aren’t you? But I am at a disadvantage. You seem to know me, but I do not recognize you.” The boy’s face scrunched up in contemplation until he seemed to have an epiphany, “The one who set me free! You’re so…old!”
James looked over at the captain. “You set him free?” he whispered angrily. “Why am I not surprised?”
Benedict did his best to avoid eye contact. He knew he would have to explain all of this later. Perhaps he’ll forget. Not likely though.
“It’s true.” Peter said with a grinned. “I did feed on her. The red hair had to go.” He made a violent motion as he spoke.
“Jas,” Benedict warned, seeing James tense, the muscles in his jaw tightened.
James waved him off, stepping forward.
Peter continued. “Her white skin, so soft and supple. Her screams of terror and pain, delicious. Oh, she was wonderful!” He paused for a moment, then finished, “Particularly the chewy center within.” With the last sentence, his wicked eyes fell on James.
James screamed in anguish. He charged for Peter. Benedict reached out to stop him, but he was too slow. Peter flew up to the top of the mast. James, whose momentum had gotten the better of him, teetered at the rail. The crocodile waited eagerly below. James grunted in an effort to push himself back.
Peter howled in laughter, pointing, mocking and pantomiming actions as if he were James falling over the railing. James ran to the ropes, set to climb. Benedict shouted, but James didn’t hear. Not being heeded, he and a few crewmen pounced on him, holding him down.
“Take him ta me quarters!” he barked at the bo’sun. They held James, who thrashed violently. It took five men to drag James into the captain’s quarters and slam the doors shut. Benedict addressed Peter, “Ye best be leavin’ now, or ye be facin’ mywrath.”
Peter shrugged off the threat. “I have no quarrel with you, old man.” He jumped off the mast, floating high above. “Tell himI’ll be waiting, in Neverland.” And he flew off.
Benedict rubbed his sore eyes. “I’m gettin’ too old fer this.”
At his quarters, Benedict’s hand stopped at the door. James’ screams of rage could be heard from within. Benedict opted to take his time. Making a course adjustment, he continued towards El Tiburón.