Hi guys! Today, I have with me another wonderful author whose debut book just released last Tuesday! Please give a warm welcome to J. M. Sullivan, author of Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles, a dark retelling of Lewis Carroll’s original novel Alice in Wonderland.
About Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles
“Always protect your queen.”
Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.
Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.
1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?
I have always loved writing. My mom used to read to me all the time when I was little, so I remember growing up with a love of stories and literature. As I got older and realized that I could be the one who told the stories, I started making up my own. Thankfully, my writing has improved dramatically since my first stories about princes and princesses!
2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?
I love fantasy books. Probably not surprisingly, retellings are some of my absolute favorites. I love being able to escape into a new world that still has a sense of familiarity to it. The one that impacted me the most is easily Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. Not only is it the first retelling I ever read, it was also the very first book I ever picked out for myself at a book store. I absolutely fell in love with the way Levine wove her characters and worldbuilding together to create this magical story that slowly unveiled itself to be a reimagining of Cinderella! I remember being so surprised and happy all at the same time when I found out my beloved Ella of Frell was actually Cinderella! It is the same feeling I want my readers to have when they read my work.
3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?
As AMAZING as it would be unfortunately writing isn’t my full-time job (yet). To pay the bills, I follow one of my other passions, which is teaching! During the week, you’re most likely to find me in a classroom teaching sixth graders about the wonderful world of Science! Since I’m so busy, in my free time, I really just enjoy spending time at home. My kids and I have dance parties and baking adventures; or as a family we binge-watch movies. It may not be the most exciting stuff in the world, but it’s the little things in life. 😉
4. Why did you choose Alice in Wonderland as the inspiration for Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles? What about Lewis Carroll’s novel attracted you to make a retelling of it?
Actually, Alice chose me! I didn’t even have plans to write a retelling until the idea for Alice smacked me like a ton of bricks! It was only after I started writing the retelling that I realized how much I LOVED working with the genre, and now I’m not sure I ever see myself leaving!
5. Who is your favorite character from Alice in Wonderland and why? Which character would you like to meet in person?
Well, my favorite character from Wonderland is also my favorite parallel in Wanderland. I’ve always loved the Cheshire Cat for his attitude and the way he exasperates Alice. His character was always just so fascinating to me, which I tried to carry over into the character of Chess in Wanderland. While he’s definitely not the exact same Cheshire Carroll created, some of his traits mimicked his namesake and helped shape him into the fabulously snarky and endearing character Alice knows and (secretly) loves.
6. Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles is a dark YA fantasy retelling of Lewis Carroll’s novel. What were some of the challenges as you were trying to put a new spin onto an old tale?
Since I write retellings, there’s always this fear that I am going to incredibly disappoint the fans of the original. It comes with the genre, though. You’re working with stories that people have grown up on and have cherished memories of. Even though you’re creating a new, re-imagined version, you still have a responsibility to it’s integrity, and it’s intimidating!
7. Why do you believe that it is important for an author to connect with readers, bloggers, reviewers, fellow authors, and other book enthusiasts? What is your favorite part about chatting with people all around the world?
It’s important because I think that they are some of the coolest people that you will ever meet! Don’t get me wrong—I love my non-bookish family and friends too, but sometimes they just don’t ‘get’ it. And since writing is SUCH a huge part of my life, having the people who understand how important the writing things are (like WIPs, OTPs, Beta Readers, and all the other writerly/book jargon terms lol) without me having to translate or having people who I can fangirl with completes that huge part of me. So THANK YOU GUYS from the bottom of my heart!
8. How is it like living in the United Arab Emirates? If I were to go visit there as a tourist soon, what would you recommend me to do?
I love it here! Actually, it’s really funny because it reminds me a lot of home. I grew up in Arizona, so moving from one desert to another, the climate is actually really similar. The one major difference is that beaches are SO MUCH closer here, which I adore! I would definitely recommend if you come, you have to visit both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They are about an hour and a half away from each other, but they are both so different! They both have awesome beaches and great malls so either way, you can’t go wrong! If you like a little more excitement, Abu Dhabi has Ferrari World, which has the world’s fastest roller coaster; or Yas Waterword, which is a huge water park. In Dubai, you can go see the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and definitely check out the Dubai Mall while you’re there! I still don’t think I’ve visited all the stores and I’ve lived here for two years!!
9. If you could live out a fairy tale, which one would you choose and why? Which Disney princess would you be, and what makes you select her?
Hands down, the Little Mermaid. I’m still kind of upset that mermaids haven’t been discovered, although if they were, I suppose I’d be even more upset that I’m not one, so there’s that. I absolutely love the water and the ocean. In fact, once upon I time, I considered being a marine biologist! The sea is where my heart is, so if I could be ‘Part of that World,’ I totally would be.
10. What is your go-to cure when you experience a case of writer’s block?
Writer’s Block is THE.WORST. I don’t know that I’ve found a cure, but for me, the best thing to do is just press on. Even if the words are terrible, getting them onto the page and pushing through the scene is the only way I can fight it off. There may be lots of head banging and whining, but I force myself to keep writing, otherwise the block kicks my butt.
11. What can we expect from you in the future? Could you give us any teasers or hints for what you are writing next?
Absolutely! I’m currently working on a new retelling project that I’m hoping will release early 2018. THE NEVERLAND TRANSMISSIONS (working title) is a SciFi retell of Peter set in outer space, told in a dual POV with Peter & Wendy. It’s with my betas right now, and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about it! I would LOVE to tease a bit, so here’s a little taste 😉
Wendy cleared her throat, schooling her voice into the formal tone she reserved for her superiors.
“Is there more to the transmission that I need to be aware of, Admiral?”
Toussant nodded. Though her lips pressed together, she seemed pleased with Wendy’s response. Another click of a button and the transmission continued.
“So far, the strangest phenomena of the planet is how it has affected our aging process. The days run longer here; as do the nights. I don’t have an exact calculation, but I would estimate we have been here for ten earth years, yet I look the same as I did the day we left. So does the twelve year old cabin boy. It’s as if not a single day has gone by. It is this phenomena that has inspired the name our crew has assigned the planet. We call it NEVERLAND.”
12. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?
Be kind to yourself! We writers are SO HARD on ourselves, and it can absolutely derail a great project! Having an inner critic can be good to help stretch your work and yourself, but don’t give the nasty little guy so much reign that he completely derails you. Just remember, someone needs your words. To get them out there you have to write them!
About the Author
J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle and positivity, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan.
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Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!