Meet the Author of LOST IN THE NEVER WOODS, Aiden Thomas!
What inspired you to write Lost in the Never Woods?
Ever since I was a kid, I've loved fairy tales, and Peter Pan was my all-time favorite. This meant forcing my family to withstand the 90 minute wait time for the ride at Disneyland over and over again every day, of every visit! When I was in high school, I read the original novel by JM Barrie and was blown away by how dark and sinister it was. When I was in college, I took a literature course where we basically explored different novels and did psychoanalytic criticism of stores and characters. For my term paper, I chose Peter Pan and I was flooded with inspiration for Lost in the Never Woods. It inspired me to explore the darker themes of the Peter Pan canon, and to really explore the complicated psyches of the characters. Moving to the Pacific Northwest gave me the inspiration for perfect backdrop to the story—a small coastal town where everyone knows everyone else, and the constant presence of the lush forests is both beautiful and overwhelming in size.
What is your favorite moment in the book?
My favorite moment in the book (that isn’t a spoiler!) is probably when Wendy first finds Peter. That was one of the first scenes I imagined when I got the idea for Lost in the Never Woods. That scene really sets up what to expect with the rest of the story and you get immediately introduced to the forest, which I feel is a character itself!
What is your favorite retelling (other than your own, of course!)?
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is not only my favorite re-telling, but my most CHERISHED book I’ve ever read! It is a re-telling of the Greek hero, Achilles, but told as Achilles and Patroclus as lovers (a theory that actually has a lot of historical and contextual evidence!) It is a beautifully written love story with gorgeous prose. Usually books and movies don’t make me cry, but the last few sentences of The Song of Achilles had such a profound impact on me, I was RUINED! I love it so much that I actually got a tattoo in tribute to the novel!
Who would play your characters in a movie?
Wendy – AnnaSophia Robb. A big one for me is AnnaSophia is such a wonderful actor! If I were picking an actor for Wendy, that would be the most important bit, more so than looks. However, she’s also got Wendy’s stubborn, round nose, and her large eyes. AnnaSophia Robb in Bridge to Terabithia is EXACTLY how I pictured a young Wendy when she first went missing.
Peter – Froy Gutierrez. FRECKLES FRECKLES FRECKLES! For me, Peter’s most noticeable features are his freckles and his starry, blue eyes, and Froy has both! He has boyish features but strong bone structure that would work well for Peter Pan.
Mrs. Darling – Melissa Ponzio. Melissa Ponzio is another amazing actor that has all of the intense emotional range needed to play a complex character like Mrs. Darling. She has her signature messy hair, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s played a nurse before!
Mr. Darling – David Harbour. Any Stranger Things fans out there?? David Harbour has the large physical stature, rough exterior and excellent facial hair to pull off Mr. Darling. David would be able to pull off the experience-hardened severity of Mr. Darling, while also balancing who the character is at his core—a grieving father who feels powerless to help his family.
What makes you swoon?
A good sense of humor is a must have, for me! People who can make me laugh until I’m crying are my favorite sort of people. I love it when people have a hobby or cause that they’re super passionate and wax poetic about. There’s something enchanting about people who sing loudly in a car with reckless abandon, and I’ve got a real soft spot for open, unabashed smiles!