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Splintered

The conception, contributing artwork and songs, and book excerpts.



The Idea :

People often ask how I came up with the idea for an Alice in Wonderland spin-off, and what my writing process was like. These are my favorite questions because each author's process is different. Some writers are inspired by newspaper articles, current events, etc..., and then craft detailed plots before they even research or write. As for me, I'm a visual writer, so I'll see something intriguing that spurs a story idea--whether it be a live scene, a picture, a movie, or even an unusual arrangement of words. Next, I have to motivate and get to know my main characters (I even find head shots of them for visualization). After that, I research, which in turn births a very sparse skeleton plot. What's nice about having it be vague is I'm free to let my characters feel their way through the story.

It was a given that I would one day see something which would ignite the spark for an Alice in Wonderland adaptation, considering I'm a huge fan of Lewis Carroll's genius. The actual idea came to me when I went to see the Tim Burton & Disney Alice movie. The cinematography was so vivid and evocative that I didn't want to leave the setting when it was over. So I started playing out Wonderland continuations and scenarios in my mind. I decided to write a follow-up story about the world, making things a little darker and a little funkier, but I needed it to be contemporary and different than it had ever been done. Then I saw the book Alice I Have Been and everything clicked into place. I could have my contemporary heroine be a descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who actually inspired Carroll to write his story to begin with! Once that fell into my lap, I started the process of writing.

The main thing I did for research was re-read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It had been years since I'd revisited them, and I needed the characters and settings fresh in my mind. It was important to me that my book be a tribute to Carroll's amazing works, while having the funkiness/creepiness that he injected into his scenes evolve from subtle nuances to take center stage. In my favorite fairy tale retellings, the author doesn’t make light of the original. They expand on the first author’s vision by turning the characters and settings on their heads while digging deeper into the world. I’m hoping I managed to do that with Splintered, and also hope to see a whole new generation seek out the originals upon reading my spin-off, because Lewis Carroll's works are creations of pure literary beauty--vividly allegorical adventures for readers of all ages.

 

Art Gallery:

This will be where I post readers' visual interpretations of Splintered. As for me, I'm lucky to draw a stick with a #2 pencil (note that I didn't say stick figure; yeah, I'm that bad). But even though I don't have artistic ability, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate it. Below are a few pictures that friends and acquaintances have designed in homage to the premise and/or specific scenes. I can't wait to see this section grow once the book comes out!

 

Amy Hitt Jim Webb

 

Cherie

 

For my contribution to the gallery, here's a conceptualization collage made up of images found online while researching. These sketches, pictures, and unusual landscapes each played a role in my warping of Lewis Carroll's world. Some are hiding teasers: sentences from Splintered that they inspired. Move your mouse across the pictures to find them (Javascript needs to be enabled).

 


Playlist:

Songs invigorate my muse, and with Splintered, I was drawn to a combination of alternative rock, experimental, and dark fairy tale compositions. This music player represents only a fraction of my personal playlist, but these are the selections that found their way to my ear buds most often...



Excerpts:

Once I get the okay from my publisher, I'll post the first chapter or two. Until then, the only excerpts I can offer are embedded in the collage above.

 

Top

 

Patient claims to have been locked in a bird cage in "Wonderland," having been “seduced by a statue boy at the age of seven to dive into a rabbit hole.“
This queen is drawn in profile, dressed in a gown of silver and white lace. There’s no name written underneath, but I know it just the same.
He tilts his antlered head to blow three loud blasts from the instrument. Then with a flick of his wrist and a rattle of bones, he throws open the parchment.
There must be a hole or a metal lid … something that could hide a tunnel.
The doll’s eyes snap open, sucking all of my courage away. Something in its empty gaze begs for escape … something that’s trapped, unhappy and restless, aching to get out.
The famous Lewis Carroll scene passes through my mind … of the card guards painting the roses red in the garden to keep from being beheaded. How ironic, that someone would actually do the same thing in order to lose their head.
The cemetery is a hallowed place revered by all netherlings. No one will set foot inside, other than the keepers of the garden: the Twid Sisters.
Despite his impressive height, he’s as graceful as a black swan.
My bugs don’t die in vain. I use them in my art, arranging their corpses in outlines and shapes.
Ivy snakes around my legs and torso then up my chest, sealing me within a leafy cocoon so thick only my head and upheld arms peer through. Two strands cinch my wrists together.
Aphrodite and Adonis perform a graceful dance, entwining their long bodies, capturing the food as it floats down like they’re lovers catching snowflakes on their tongues.
I tossed and turned in bed that night. Once I finally fell asleep, I had the Alice nightmare for the first time…
Lightning flashed, a flood of light. Mommy always told me it wasn’t safe to go outside when it’s storming … but the moth fluttered, beautiful, taunting, promising it was okay.
Am I destined for her fate? Shaved, wearing a straitjacket and an eel turban, grimacing like the Cheshire cat as I convulse on a metal gurney?
A guy’s silhouette appears behind me in the reflection. The image is distorted and broken into a hundred pieces, all except his inky eyes and dark, shapely mouth.
A swarm of humanoid creatures the size of grasshoppers and the color of lima beans hovers around us.
I started boarding when I was fourteen. I needed a sport that could be done while wearing my iPod and ear buds to muffle the whispers of passing bugs and flowers.
As for me, I favor the messy look—hair out of sorts, body slicked in sweat with motor oil or watercolors slashed across his olive skin. That’s the Jeb I grew up with.
The sun and the moon are twisted into one, the moon tingeing its brighter brother like a coat of blue paint. A filter effect results, slapping everything with an ultraviolet hue.
Black tattoo-like marks flank both temples in the shape of dragonfly wings. A network of veins ties the outlines together, as if real wings were pressed onto a stamp pad then transferred to the skin.
My personal favorites are the gothic fairies with bat wings, black tears pouring from their eyes as they stand over withered human corpses, haunting depictions of misery and loss.
Winter’s Heartbeat, my pride, is a chaotic tangle of baby’s breath and silvery glass beads forming an image of a tree. Dried winterberries dot the end of each branch, as if the tree is bleeding. Jet black crickets form the backdrop.
Their pointed ears and flowing hair sparkle like stardust, and their eyes are bulbous and metallic like those of a dragonfly, as if they’re wearing dark copper sunglasses.
When the zebra-striped lizard waiters return, bulbous eyes twisting every direction, they carry a platter garnished with dried fruit and something that resembles a duck.
The emo guy stares at me, his eyes bleeding black tears like he knows my pain. Fear and loneliness war within me. I have the strangest longing to be in his arms—wrapped up in leather.