Today’s post is a guest post by the lovely J.M. Sullivan, author of Alice (The Wanderland Chronicles #1), which will be released on May 16th. I am so excited and honored to have this chance to work with her to promote her debut novel! Please make sure to check out J.M. and her novel on social media. My full review of Alice will be posted on Thursday!
My name is J.M. Sullivan and I am beyond excited to introduce you to the wonders of Wanderland. After all, when I’m not busy teaching middle schoolers, wrangling my two small children, or supervising my cats’ antics, it’s my favorite place to be!
Even though I teach Science, I have always loved reading and writing. I have dabbled in several different projects, but nothing ever stuck until ALICE, which always makes me giggle. Because, see, the idea for Alice sort of hit me out of the blue. I was getting ready for bed one night after watching the latest horror movie on my husband’s Netflix list (we had been on a zombie kick), and the Red Queen’s iconic line flashed through my mind. You know the one I’m talking about: ‘Off with their heads!’
Well, as any zombie aficionado knows, decapitation is one of the most effective methods of dealing with our undead friends, and it all just sort of clicked! I knew that I was going to do an Alice retelling with zombies. Within ten minutes I had a working outline of what I wanted each character’s role to look like and how I wanted to execute it. Then, it was time for the real work.
Going into ALICE, I knew that most importantly, I wanted to stay true to Carroll’s work. I’ve read books that claim they are retellings before but really only share a character name or maybe a place. I did not want that to be something said about my book.
So, I went to the store and picked up a new copy of Alice in Wonderland and proceeded to tear it up. (Seriously, that poor book looks like a college textbook) I read the story and
used that as a guide to help my plot arc. Even my section titles are the names of chapters from the book. If I ever had a question about a name or how a character might respond, I went back to Wonderland. (Hopefully it shows).
Once I had my reference base squared I got to do the fun part—writing! With my set-up, I had a loose outline for a plot with tons of ways to work in Wonderland twists. It was so much fun seeing how Alice Carroll reacted to being placed in Wanderland and how the other characters influenced her story. I think that’s what I like the most about retellings, you can feel the magic of the original working itself into your own story. It’s a really cool feeling.
Finally, after three months of obsessive writing, I had my draft. It was the first completed manuscript I’ve ever had, and I was ready to send it out. At least I thought so. My publishing journey… oh man. But THAT is a story for another day. Needless to say, I found my AMAZING publishing company (shout out to Pen Name Publishing- woot!), and they shared my vision of bringing Alice to life.
So now, here I am, a little over a year later from the day I started writing, and Alice is about to be released into the world! It was a wild ride, but I honestly wouldn’t change any of it. I have been so blessed and learned so much, now my only hope is that Alice can mean as much to someone else as she does to me. Maybe it will be you! (I really hope so 😀 )
Thank you so much guys (especially to Ariana for so graciously inviting me to share her page), and of course,