FB: THANK YOU! The pleasure is all mine.
TTBA: I read in your bio that you were inspired to write The Looking Glass Wars by an exhibit of ancient cards at the British Museum, particularly an incomplete set that had images that reminded you of Alice in Wonderland. Had you always had a keen interest in the story of Alice in Wonderland or was this a new interest?
FB: Not so much of an interest – I would say more of an ‘emotion’. Until I discovered the cards at the British Museum I was quite ANTI- Alice. My grandmother (whose name is actually Alice) insisted on reading Alice in Wonderland to me when I was about 10. It was a hot summer day and all the other kids were at the pool. Needless to probably say, it wasn’t a treasured memory and I despised the book until much later in life when the discovery of the cards ignited this fascination in me. I think there is some good evidence for predestination in these seemingly random events. My grandmother ‘Alice’, for some reason insisting on reading me Lewis Carroll’s book when I was 10 and then my discovery of the cards years later. If I hadn’t had the powerful ‘negative’ memory of that summer afternoon with my Grandmother would I have been aware of the similarity between the cards in the museum and Alice in Wonderland? If I had been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s tale would I have been so fervent in my search for the true story? Perhaps not. This leads me to ponder the many influences that continue to come to our world from Wonderland. I like to believe that someone somewhere wanted the truth to be told.
FB: Because I am someone who enjoys puzzles, clues and mysteries the world building was more of a ‘world revealing’ since the cards lead the way for my research and writing. Along with literally telling the story of Alyss, the cards ‘inspired’ in my mind’s eye images of characters and environments that I described to artists who went on to create the art that is visual the foundation of the Looking Glass Wars.
TTBA: I am a bit of a feminist so I was impressed by the dominant female hierarchy in Wonderland's ruling class. Was this something you believe strongly in...the ability of women to be the dominant figure in society or was it just a natural course given Carroll's use of female characters such as Alice, the Duchess of the House, and the Queen of Hearts?
FB: Going back to my dear, dominate Grandmother Alice I have always had strong women in my life and I am very thankful for that. Again, this could be seen as a reason for my ‘calling’ to reveal the story of Princess Alyss. I was suited to the task of taking this seriously and willing to devote a big part of my life to it. You have to remember that the story Princess Alyss told Lewis Carroll was not totally ignored. As a writer he simply chose to put his own fantastical spin on it. If you read his books carefully there is much that is valid including the matriarchal rule of Wonderland. He definitely got that much right.
TTBA: It seems there is a "trend" lately with Alice in Wonderland themed books and movies with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and SyFy's mini-series Alice. And Sasha Soren has an Alice themed book coming out called Random Magic. Do you think you may have inspired this trend? What do you think is the reason for the world's fascination with Alice and her Wonderland?
TTBA: I read that The Looking Glass Wars trilogy will be making it to the big screen. When can we expect the first installment or will the three books be combined in to one film?
TTBA: Arch Enemy is the third book and it seemed to pretty much wrap things up. Do you think you will revisit Wonderland and continue on with the series or was Arch Enemy truly the end?
FB: The Hatter M series continues with Volume 2 MAD WITH WONDER available now.
Since the beginning of this journey I have repeatedly uncovered lost and hidden evidence of Wonderland. It seems the more I write the more I discover which naturally leads to additional material to be written. Through a series of fortunate discoveries I released Princess Alyss of Wonderland, which features the lost art and journals of Princess Alyss Heart while she was exiled here in our world. In turn, the information uncovered in these journals opened several fascinating pathways, which lead me to deduce Alyss was not the only princess to have been exiled; in fact, evidence suggests that there is actually a league of exiled princesses spread across our world right NOW.
TTBA: Are you working on any new books of a different subject matter? I'm excited to see what you do next. Can we expect to see more novels from you in the future? (fingers crossed)
FB: Please keep those fingers crossed! I do have new books in mind that I am beginning to research and outline. When you ask if they are of a ‘different subject matter’ I must answer yes and no. The novels will not focus exclusively on Alyss but rather on a deepening of some of the other characters that readers know from LGW. I am currently investigating information that has come to me with regard to Redd possibly having an heir as well as the unexpurgated school records of Cadet Hatter Madigan from his boyhood days at Wonderland’s Millinery Academy. Both of these slender silk threads could lead to books if the inspiration and imagination continues to flow to me from Wonderland!
TTBA: I would like to thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions and to say that I'm really looking forward to your next project, whatever that may be!
FB: Again…it was all my pleasure. Thank you for the excellent questions.
What I loved about this book were the various self-discoveries of the characters. Redd and Alyss both must confront their pasts. And Humburg Molly must look inside herself and discover her true worth. But perhaps the most enlightened aspect of Arch Enemy is the concept of Everqueen. This quote sums up the genius of the message of The Looking Glass Wars:
"You and others with Imagination will have the gifts with which you were born. For those of future generations, it will be the same. Some shall be born with much imagination, others little. As it is now. But Everqueen can never be destroyed, nor the inspiration she provides lessened."
I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland and really to anyone who just loves a great fantasy read.
- The Looking Glass Wars
- Seeing Redd
- Arch Enemy
Giveaway: the ARC of Arch Enemy
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FTC Disclaimer: I received this ARC from a publicist for Frank Beddor, which I'm giving away. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review and the opinions expressed are my own.