Wonderland Academy Author Q & A

With so many great new Academy books on the market these days, you might be wondering what makes Wonderland Academy unique? As part of my blog tour with Xpresso books, I'm talking all things inspiration behind Wonderland Academy in the following interview:

What inspired you to write Wonderland Academy?

I’m an Alice in Wonderland junkie. Seriously, half my T-shirts, most of my socks, and one wall in my office are Alice themed. I love Lewis Carroll’s whimsical world. I imagined it would be fun, and strange, to attend magic school there. Wonderland magic would be a little mad but very dangerous. It seemed like a challenge to imagine what learning Wonderland magic would be like. I also want to try out a new genre. Like the rest of the book world, I love Harry Potter with a passion. I wanted to try my hand at developing a magical world with it’s own magic school.

Tell us about your main character:

My main character is Alice “Lacey” Crane. Lacey goes by her middle name. She’s an interesting character. She’s bookish and a big geek, but when we meet her, she’s in a dark place in her life. There was a shooting at her school. She and her boyfriend tried to stop the shooter, and her boyfriend was killed. She’s been coasting ever since, not really sure what to do with her life, and struggling with depression and survivor syndrome. When she falls into Wonderland, she thinks she’s having a breakdown. In the novel, she accepts Wonderland as real and tries to find her place in this new world. She also learns, unfortunately, that her being there is a death sentence. Anyone named Alice is doomed to be beheaded, so she goes by Lacey.

Who are some of the other important characters in the book?

Lacey meets a number of new people, but by far, the most significant are Corbin, Aden, Oona, and Professor Haberdasher. Corbin, like Lacey, is from Overthere (our world). She feels an instant—and very confusing—connection to him. Aden is the son of the Queen of Hearts. He befriends Lacey from the start. While everyone else is wary of Aden and the ruling Hearts family, Lacey sees the good in Aden. Oona is from Rose Kingdom, the kingdom of the fairies. She’s one of Lacey’s first friends. Professor Haberdasher is the grandson of the Hatter. He’s in league with a number of others who conspired to bring Lacey to Wonderland. He’s interesting because he seems both good and shady. It’s hard to tell what he’s up to.

Who is your favorite character?

Besides Lacey, the Cheshire cat. Cheshire cats are a breed of mischievous cats roaming about Wonderland. One cat, in particular, has taken an interest in Lacey and is always leading her places she should not go or offering her wonderful, bad ideas. He’s snarky, meddlesome, and seems to have his own agenda that runs contrary to everyone else—and he’s always getting Lacey into a mess. Or is he helping? It’s not clear in the first book.

Is Wonderland Academy a retelling of Alice in Wonderland?

No. It is a re-imagining of Wonderland. I use Carroll’s Wonderland as a setting for my book. Lacey isn’t Lewis Carroll’s Alice. She is an Alice. That said, readers will recognize all the Wonderland trappings: Cheshire cats, talking flowers, the Queen of Hearts, the Hatter (re-mixed), the Caterpillar, etc. There is a lot here for Wonderland fans.

How many books will there be in the series?

Right now, I’m planning on a trilogy.

Is there romance in the book?

Yes! Since Lacey is still grieving the loss of her boyfriend, Nicholas. She’s very resistant to getting into a new relationship. She feel guilty whenever she considers it, but she feels an attraction for Corbin she can’t ignore. The first novel contains several flashbacks that help establish Nicholas and Lacey’s relationship. In a way, I’m telling the story of a lost love and setting the stage for a future relationship. Given those circumstances, it is a slow-burn romance.

What are some of the classes in Wonderland?

Lacey has this schedule her first term: History of Wonderland, Magical Weapons Training, Teamancy, Wildcrafting, Alchemy of Baking, and Creatures of Wonderland. Lacey most enjoys her Alchemy of Baking class. Back home, her family owns a bar and grill where she works, so she knows how to cook. But in Wonderland, she learns how to make things like those little “Eat Me” cakes and “Drink Me” potions, along with many other magical food, like Bumpalump cookies.

What scene made you cry?

Lacey has a number of flashbacks in the book, most of which revolve around her boyfriend Nicholas. Nick was killed in a school shooting. The scene where Nicholas dies is horrible. I cry every time I read it.

What makes Wonderland Academy unique versus all the other new academy series?

I’m an Alice in Wonderland junkie, in both the geeky and academic senses. As a professor, Lewis Carroll’s works are an area of academic study for me. As a fan-girl, I have about 8 million Alice in Wonderland t-shirts, socks, mugs, etc. I love this world. I think my book is unique because while I am playing in Lewis Carroll’s world, I’m giving it my own unique spin. The things we love about Alice in Wonderland are all there—the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire cats, a Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, Jabberwockies, etc, but I’m giving us a new way of looking at those old tropes. As well, my main character, Lacey (aka Alice), is a broken person. I find that broken people make the best characters. The novel starts out with her getting out of a psychiatric ward after a stay on suicide watch. Lacey survived a school shooting, but the guilt and loss plagues her. My character is very real and is coping with serious problems but finds herself in a world that is a strange mixture of whimsical and deadly.

If you could spend the day as one of the characters in your new story, who would you choose and why?

I would want to spend the day as Oona, a Wonderlandian from Rose Kingdom. Oona comes from the land of the fairies—the Tinkerbell type, not the Legolas type. While we haven’t visited Rose Kingdom yet, it is a place where most people go about in tiny fairy form, darting from place to place, and their community filled with massive trees, flowers, moonwells, standing stones, and all things magical. I would love to live in the wee fairy world! 


  1. Every new thing we learnt I wanted to clap my hands with glee. You would thinkI was 13 again. Desperately awaiting the next book in this series.

  2. Thank you for sharing