Fun fact: summer hasn’t officially started yet (Monday!) and yet it’s 109 degrees in my neck of the woods. Temperatures like this can make a writer go completely mad. I look at a glass of water and I swear it’s shrieking, “Drink me! Drink me!” and it’s highly advised that people wear big floppy hats to keep the sun out of their face. Yep, I’m pretty sure Arizona is just a desert Wonderland.
How very fitting (and generous) that Alice herself has chosen to drop by and seek shade in my humble Castle of Writing! She looks a little different than you might expect from watching her in cartoons, but then again, she’s acquired a bit of life experience since her trip down the rabbit hole. She’s a single mom, she’s traveled all over, and I’m pretty sure she does NOT want to have an outdoor tea party in 109-degree weather.
Jacob: Don’t worry, Alice. We’ll keep it inside today.
Alice: No, it’s fine! It doesn’t really bother me that much. I’ve been to places where the weather is so much weirder.
Jacob: Like Phoenix?
Alice: *laughs* Even that’s not so bad… It’s Alicia now, by the way.
Jacob: You got it! I’ll call you Alicia. What prompted the name change, if I might ask?
Alicia: Oh, I guess I just needed a fresh start. You probably know all about the old Alice from books that have written and things people say. And people said some pretty mean things sometimes. “Alice is crazy. Alice wants attention. Alice reads too many books and doesn’t live in the real world.” After a while you get tired of hearing these things. You might even start believing them. So I changed my name when I got married.
Jacob: That’s really interesting… is there really that much in a name, do you think? Do you feel different? Act different? Are you different because you changed your name?
Alicia: Well, for a while I felt different, but I think that was love talking. I married this guy and he made me feel normal. We had a daughter together. We traveled a bit. And then I sort of saw a different side of him when I opened up to him about Wonderland and what I’ve been through. We’re not together anymore. Since the divorce, I sort of learned to embrace the real me again, but I kept the new name.
Jacob: I’m really glad you’re working toward that self-acceptance again. When I read about you, I always think of somebody really confident and strong and independent, which you are, but there’s always a little more beneath the surface, right? Everybody has moments of self-doubt. But you’ll be happy to know that you’re in the presence of people who believe you about Wonderland and everything you wanna tell us! So if you don’t mind me asking… what was it like?
Alicia: Hmm, did you ever see that Willy Wonka movie? The older one?
Jacob: Classic! One of my faves!
Alicia: At times Wonderland is like the chocolate factory. It’s fun and it’s colorful and it’s organic and there are amazing things to see, and you want to be that kid who wins the factory and gets to stay forever. And then there’s a whole other side…
Alicia: It really is terrifying sometimes, like Willy Wonka’s boat ride. They’re always at war, the bees are the size of horses, it gets dark, you couldn’t pay me enough money to walk through the urban part of it, and the Queen of Hearts was a horrible person.
Jacob: Was she, really? Was she worse than–
Alicia: Oh God no. The Queen of Hearts was just grumpy and spoiled and she did like to collect people’s heads, but she wasn’t as bad as the person you’re thinking of.
Jacob: She beheaded people, and yet she’s “not that bad”? Wow. That’s saying something.
Alicia: Yep. But she’s no longer a threat to Wonderland. The king isn’t too happy, though. I escaped before he became much of a problem.
Jacob: Would you ever go back?
Alicia: I don’t think so. I’ve done my time, and I guess I just don’t want to know what became of it right now. I wouldn’t want to bring my daughter into all of that. I think she has enough on her plate.
Jacob: I kinda wanna go check it out… am I weird for that?
Alicia: As I’ve said before, all the best people are! But seriously, I really, really wouldn’t recommend it.
I have to admit her words made me want to play with Wonderland even more, but for now, I’m just really excited to share The Carver with you all in ONE MORE MONTH!
In a few more days, I’m headed to Nashville to enjoy the Utopia Conference with my publishers and fellow authors. Needless to say, I can’t wait for my first big conference! I can’t wait to share updates with you all, and that’s why the next character interview will have to wait an extra week. I promise it’ll be worth your time though! Hua Mulan is coming to test your honor, and she isn’t even coming alone…