Friday, November 27, 2009

Interview, Review and Giveaway: Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

Interview with Frank Beddor, author of Arch Enemy, Book 3 in The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy and the Hatter M graphic novel series.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Beddor for joining me today and taking the time for this interview.

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.

TTBA: I also read that you took around two years mapping the world of your Wonderland. Specifically, how difficult was the world building for this series or what kind of obstacles were you up against?

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?

FB:  Did I inspire the recent trend of Alice in Wonderland themed projects? I doubt it since most are still telling Lewis Carroll’s version! While I can’t say I inspired anybody I have been thinking a lot about the question of “why Alice why now?” There are probably as many reasons as there are fans of the books but in general maybe it’s because today’s world is upside down, chaotic and random. I think people relate to Alice and her journey and in their hearts hope to be as stoic and courageous as she was in exploring (and enjoying!) Wonderland. The popularity of Alice in Wonderland has endured for nearly 150 years and been read by generations so it captures a large part of our shared imaginative history. It’s not just books, film and television that riff on Alice and Wonderland but music, clothing lines, nightclubs, games, toys etc. etc. etc. Across the pop culture spectrum, from artists and musicians to ad agencies and internet moguls, they are all tapping into our shared imaginative history of the Alice iconography to simultaneously reflect the chaotic world we live in (fear) and marry it to the comfort and reassurance of a childhood fairy tale (escape and security) to capture their audience.

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?

FB:  I anticipate book one of the LGW trilogy to be on big screens in 3 years. I have finished the screenplay and have partnered with producer Chuck Roven who has produced many big films including ‘Dark Knight’. There is too much material to combine all three books into one film so I anticipate that with success I will go on to produce these separately. I also plan to adapt the Hatter M graphic novel series into a film and am considering the unique possibilities for unfolding his realm jumping adventures within the framework of the LGW trilogy.

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.

I plan to complete a total of 5 Hatter M geo-graphic novels to document his 13 years searching our world for Alyss. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel, but even as we speak this group of radical cartographers and astral historians are working non-stop to piece together the arc of Hatter’s travels. Through the Institute’s work and communiqués from readers around the world new evidence of Wonderland’s existence and effect on our world continues to mount so you never really know where the portals will take you.

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.


Mini-Review:  Arch Enemy, Book 3, The Looking Glass Wars

Let me just say again how much I love The Looking Glass Wars trilogy and Arch Enemy, the final book, is no exception.  Imagination, the power that Wonderland runs on, has disappeared and King Arch, the chauvinist ruler of Borderland has declared himself king of Wonderland.  In a world without imagination, war is being waged by Arch with heavy artillery.  In the fight to save Wonderland and imagination, old enemies must join forces.

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 trilogy consists of:
  • The Looking Glass Wars
  • Seeing Redd
  • Arch Enemy
For more information on the books and the author, visit Frank Beddor's site here.

Giveaway:  the ARC of Arch Enemy

  • United States entries only (sorry broke right now!)
  • you must leave a comment with your email address
  • +2 for old followers
  • +1 for new followers
  • +1 for following me on Twitter (@truebookaddict)--leave your handle
  • +2 for Tweeting and/or blogging about giveway (sidebar is okay)--must leave links.  Max. 4 points
  • Can do all entries in one comment.
  • I will announce winners here and email the winner.  Winner will have 48 hours to reply with mailing information.
  • Giveaway ends Friday, December 11th @ 11:59 pm CT
Good Luck!

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.


Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. I just wanted to comment on the wonderful interview with the author of LGW. I really liked the insight he gave into the books, and the graphic series as well. I have never read a graphic novel as of yet, but this one sounds quite interesting. I will have to add his series to my TBR pile, and will look forward to the movie! Also, nice Xmas background! It is more modern than what you usually use, but I like the colors and the sparkly trees! Looking forward to checking out your Xmas blog, even though I am a HUMBUG!! BAH
    Luv you

  2. I just got the first book in this series and can't wait to read it! Please count me in for the giveaway.

    +1 new follower
    +1 follow on twitter @throuthehaze

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  3. Great interview Michelle. I've seen the books around but haven't picked them up yet. You have convinced me that I'm really missing out on something.

    I'm an old follower through Google Friend Connect.

    I follow on twitter @Ryan_Groff


  4. I love Frank Beddor! I've read The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd twice.

    Great contest! I'd love to be entered.
    +1 I'm a new follower.


  5. Cool Triple Threat as I like to call it (review, interview, contest)! I read 1 and 2, LOVED them... Was going to pick up 3, but maybe ill wait and see if i can get lucky ;o)

    +2 old Follower

    The Lateiner Gang

  6. Wow! This was an extremely awesome interview! So good that I'm feeling like I want to get out there right now and buy the first two of the books. So I definitely want to enter for the third. :-)
    +2 old follower
    +1 follow on twitter @brizmus
    +2 in my sidebar under the Contest List


  7. Okay, I want to read these. I have been saying that for a while now. If I win this one then I will have to go buy the first two and read them. hehehe...


    +2 for an old follower
    +1 for following on twitter
    +2 for posting the contest on my side bar

  8. New follower. Can't wait to read this book.


  9. Thank you so much for the reminder. You mentioned this in a comment on my review for one of his books.
    Oh I just love him and the world he creates!

    I would love to enter to win this ARC. I am almost too excited to type!

    +2 old follower
    (i'm sending you "pick me" vibes!)

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