28 June 2016

Alice Blogtour: This is Not Wonderland

Image from www.titanbooks.com

I'm delighted and really, really honoured to host a guest post today by Christina Henry whose book Alice is published in the UK today - you should read it:
"In a warren of crumbling buildings called the Old City, a hospital echoes with the screams of the poor souls inside. Inside, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she's in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...
Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago."
For more on the book see here and for my review, here. Now - over to Christina

This is not Wonderland

Christina Henry

It’s always a tricky thing, walking in another story’s footsteps. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is a tale beloved by millions, so embedded in our cultural memory that nearly everyone can conjure up an image of Alice – from the original story, a film remake, a video game or one of many re-imaginings done by assorted authors through the years.

Alice has taken on the quality of myth, a character no longer bound to her creator or origin story but a modern-day legend open to interpretation like those other contemporary fairy tale figures from Neverland and Oz.

I wanted to write my own story of Alice, but I wasn’t certain where to begin. When I wrote my first book, BLACK WINGS, I heard the characters speaking before I saw them, before I had an inkling of a story. That series is really driven by sound in my mind – the sound of the dialogue going rat-a-tat-tat. Because of that I never really thought of myself as a visual writer – a writer who saw things in her mind before she wrote them – until I wrote ALICE.

I played around with a few different story ideas, but nothing really stuck. Then I woke up one morning with an image in my head – a girl under glass, a girl with sad terrified eyes and wings like a butterfly. That girl wasn’t Alice, but she stayed with me.

Then one day I saw Alice. She was covered in blood, wearing a torn dress, somehow magically reappearing from a place where she was supposed to be lost forever.

Now I had Alice and my butterfly girl and I needed to draw a line between the two of them. That was where the story was. I had that line in the Old City. In the original story Alice follows a muttering white rabbit with a waistcoat and watch. In my story the Rabbit is not Alice’s unwitting guide but the very heart of her nightmares, though she does not remember exactly why. I constructed the geography of the Old City like a rabbit’s warren on steroids, full of twists and turns and terrors unforeseen.

I populated that city with pimps and killers and crime bosses, the kind of people a nice girl from the New City should never know, but Alice wasn’t a nice girl anymore. She’d come out of the Old City broken, and how would my damaged Alice survive in a place like this?

She needed a guide, a helper, someone more dangerous than the dangers around her. Again, I saw him – gray eyes and a red-stained axe in red-stained hands. Carroll’s Mad Hatter became my mad Hatcher, a murderer who loves Alice and killing things, not necessarily in that order.

Hatcher has visions of monsters, too - one monster in particular. Alice doesn’t believe that monster is real but she’ll find out soon enough. This is not Wonderland, but I hope you’ll take this journey with Alice and Hatcher.

Next stop on the blogtour: Off With Her Head

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