Lewis Carroll, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
* I have a shelf dedicated to various printings of Alice, annotated and not, and Alice spinoffs.
(It’s so overstocked, I had to start a second shelf.)
* My mom threw me a mad-tea-party-themed baby shower.
* I visited Oxford simply because it’s where C.L. Dodgson spent his days. (And to set foot inside Alice’s Shop, where I spent the bulk of my souvenir money.)
* My son’s name is Charles, after my favorite mathematician.
Needless to say, I’m a sucker for all things Alice. So when I saw Follow the White Rabbit listed on NetGalley, I knew I had to check it out. And I’m so glad I did. Before I write more about how much I enjoyed this book, I’m delighted to present an interview with the author, Kellie Sheridan.
Literature lovers of all backgrounds seem to be drawn to the Alice books. Do you remember your first experience with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass? What was it about them that you loved?
While I would love to be able to say my first experience with Alice happened within the pages of Lewis Carroll’s books, but alas, that’s not the case. My first Alice was the little girl in the blue dress from Disney’s versions, and that movie will always have a soft spot in my heart. Now, I love seeing all the different adaptations. It’s pretty incredible how many different directions this story has gone since 1865.
What is it about Wonderland that appealed to you as a writer?
Nostalgia, the silliness, the character. Absolutely everything. There is so much possibility within the pages of the Wonderland stories, that really anything goes. Right now, my version of Wonderland is stagnant, and more like our world than the one from the original books, but it’s evolving and as it does, I am going to have so much fun.
What was the hardest part about continuing someone else’s original work?
The plotting. Oh my goodness, the plotting. My characters are attempting to follow at least the general path of the overall story, but of course… it’s never quite that simple. Layering three existing characters into their new incarnations, while plotting in circles… well, it’s very detail oriented. And I love it, but I want to make sure I do it right.
Who was your favorite character to reinvent?
While I really like writing The Mad Hatter character, the White Rabbit is probably the most fun. Technically the only thing that character HAD to do was get Alice to Wonderland, once that was done (minor spoiler: Alice goes to Wonderland :P)) the White Rabbit was free to choose her own destiny, and I love that!
What are you working on at the moment?
In addition to my own work (see the next question), I’ve been hard at work with Patchwork Press. I’m currently helping to polish both The Rising by Terra Harmony and A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings. As a group, we’ve got a lot, a lot of books scheduled for the final quarter of the year. It’s a little nuts.
Any news about Awake and Dreaming, the next installment in the Beautiful Madness series? (I’ll admit that this is a selfish question…I want to find out what happens next!)
This month! (September) It’s currently going through the ringer with beta readers, before it goes to my editor. I won’t be doing a blog tour or anything for this one, because it’s taken so long to get from A to PUBLISH on this one, as soon as it’s ready, it’ll be going out there into the world.
Check out Kellie’s website here.
Follow Kellie on Twitter: @Kellie_Sheridan
Okay, on to my review. Follow the White Rabbit is a novella and part one of the Beautiful Madness series. It’s not a retelling of the Alice stories; rather, it takes place in a post-Alice Wonderland. Prophecies have been made about the return of Alice, among other things, but not everyone in Wonderland is keeping an eye on the skies. Rather, they go about their lives, unconcerned about the welfare of their home. Except for Gwen. She’s a faithful student of the prophecies and anticipates the return of Alice via the white rabbit. She and her housemate, Marc, are approached by the White Queen and asked to help determine when and where Alice will arrive.
Kellie Sheridan does a fine job of capturing the essence of Wonderland: the quirky, the everyday, the magical, the unexpected. Citizens of Wonderland are like us, but they are different, too, which makes them even more interesting. Old characters have been reimagined, but they’re still there, still recognizable, if you look closely enough.
There’s an undercurrent of the struggles between chaos and order, between nature and technology, that makes for a beautifully twisted mirror of our civilization. I really can’t wait to see where this is all headed.
My only complaint is that a novella doesn’t give the reader much time to really get to see the characters in action. I feel like I know about them because I’m told about them, not because I’ve actually gotten to know them. And I really love getting to know a character over time. But my only complaint is that I wanted more, so there are worse things that could happen, you know?
All in all: Check this out if you love Alice, or fantasy, or if you’re looking for a quick but interesting read.
Thanks again to Kellie Sheridan for her time and for providing a digital copy of her book for the following giveaway.
Aaaand on to the giveaway. Unfortunately, since this blog is hosted by WordPress, I can’t embed the contest widget here. But the good news is that all you have to do is click on the link below, and what’s one more click in the grand scheme of things, right?
P.S. This is my first giveaway. If it’s glitchy, or just really obviously novice, I apologize in advance. Let me know if you’ve got suggestions for running future giveaways!