From Wonderland to Weariland [Guest Post by Author Mary Shotwell]

16 Oct 2016 by

I received an offer from Merge Publishing that I just couldn’t resist – a review copy of Weariland by Mary Shotwell. After reading the book, lazily and completely while in a Florida resort, I had a couple questions for the author.


 

Why Alice in Wonderland?

The story of Alice appealed to me at an early age. Who wouldn’t want to discover a portal to a fantastical land in a backyard? There are many interpretations of the story, and one in particular captivated me before reading the book (several times over). I never connected to the Disney cartoon version, although I know many Alice fans do. I got hooked to the story watchin the 1985 made-for-television movie starring
Natalie Gregory. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of your followers haven’t heard of the film. It’s a musical version, with Red Buttons as the White Rabbit, Sherman Hemsley as The Mouse, Imogene Coca as The Cook, and my favorite, Sammy Davis Jr. as The Caterpillar. He breaks into tap dance portraying Father William while singing the poem.

As my brothers would testify, I watched the movie as any young child would, repeatedly until the VHS tape wore thin. I loved the characters, the scenery, and the music. I wanted to eat the decadent pastries and drink the elixirs she did. Perhaps what stuck with me most is the feeling of being torn between two worlds. I empathized with Alice so desperately wanting to go home, yet I wanted her to continue exploring the land and meeting wonderful creatures. I’ve kept that curiosity with me, and wanted to explore the story further.

How does this compare to other Alice in Wonderland spin offs?

What sets Weariland apart from other spinoffs is that it is a modern-day continuation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It takes place in the present, and explores how a teenager would react to discovering such a world. Weariland covers what has happened to Wonderland almost two centuries after we last left it in Carroll’s story. It is the story in the raw—by that, I mean it doesn’t incorporate other stories (like Aladdin in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland), or accentuate the psychedelic oddities like Tim Burton’s take on a sequel/retelling. I wanted to have a realistic point of view of the fantastical world—how real people would react to seeing or knowing about a completely different world. I wanted to stay true to Carroll’s characters and the world he created, while evolving them over time.

Information

Weariland
by Mary Shotwell

Publisher: Merge Publishing
Published: May 10, 2016 Pages: 286
Review Source: Merge Publishing, free review copy Review Format: Kindle
ISBN: 978-0-9904432-7-8 Finished on September 8, 2016

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