Tanya Lisle is another of my sisters in Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.
Tanya is a novelist from Metro Vancouver, British Columbia who has series littered across genres from supernatural horror to young adult fantasy. She began writing in elementary school, when she started turning homework assignments into short stories and continued this trend well into university. While attending Simon Fraser University, she developed an appreciation for public domain crossovers and cross-platform narratives. She has a shelf full of notebooks with more story ideas than pens lost to the depths of her bag. Now she writes incessantly in hopes of finishing all of them.
Thankfully, her cat, Remy, has figured out how to shut off Tanya’s computer when she needs to take a break.
Tanya describes her book:
Return to Wonderland
Years after that fateful fall down the rabbit hole, Alice has moved on from the memories of Wonderland and is now attending the prestigious Lucena Academy to get a fresh start.
Unfortunately, a purple-haired boy appears at school and reveals himself to be the Cheshire Cat. He speaks in riddles about how Wonderland is a much different place than when Alice last visited and tempts her with a visit back. Alice must decide whether or not she will go back, or the Cheshire Cat will make the choice for her.
Did something in the real world inspire Return to Wonderland?
The original inspiration for the series was actually a few years ago when Disney bought Marvel. I was a huge comic book nerd in the day and kept watching people arguing that they were going to put Mickey Mouse ears on Wolverine and getting mad about it, so I ended up writing a rather long series of articles putting a lot of the Disney characters into Marvel Universe roles. I put Alice in this Doctor Strange-esque sort of situation where Wonderland acted as the alternate universe she was meant to protect. When NaNoWriMo came around that year, I was still thinking about that one story in particular and brought in a few other characters into that universe. It’s a series now!
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I have two, but both of them for very different reasons.
First, there’s a scene with Alice trying to evade capture by the Red Knight, who is trying to get her to the Queen of Hearts. She eats a bite of the cake to grow a little and picks a fridge off of a tree to throw it at him. I swear it makes about that much sense in context! This scene marks the first time I have ever thrown a fridge in my novel. Since then, it’s become a staple of my first drafts.
There’s a second scene in the chapter right after that where Alice realizes that the Queen of Hearts has gone the bad kind of mad. She’s started taking the hearts out of the people of Wonderland and has them all on display. While they are still beating loudly around her, Alice is trapped. She sees the Queen actually rip a heart out of the chest of one of the other Wonderland inhabitants. The feeling of the scene was so much fun to write, especially with how it contrasted with the one from just before.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
That book was largely pantsed — I didn’t have a very firm plan! I created a very loose outline, included a bunch of things that I wanted to have happen, and I sat down to write. I got it out during NaNoWriMo, so there was plenty of encouragement for me to just let the words flow and let whatever random idea I could manage end up on the page, so that I could get from one idea to the next.
It really didn’t start to come together until rewriting and editing, but I feel like that’s the way most of my books come together. When I went back to look at it almost a year later, the prose was awful but the story ideas were great. I managed to turn it into something I really enjoyed.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
The best part of a promotion is always when someone buys a book and then leaves a review saying that they enjoyed it. I don’t check my reviews often, but it’s always nice to see that people enjoy reading your work.
What do you have planned next?
A break! I just wrote three drafts during NaNoWriMo last year, including book nine of this series, so I’m going to try and take a little time off of everything to rest my wrists. Granted, my editor has just gotten book six of the series (Beauty Sleep) back to me, so I’m probably going to cut it short so that I can dive into revisions.
You can pick up a copy of Return to Wonderland on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UDi2tg.
Check out Tanya’s other books at her Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2UuzwrQ.
Or follow her: