Published by Amazon Digital Services on August 27, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy & Magic
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Getting into Wonderland Academy is easy:
You must be a little mad. (Check)You must follow the white rabbit. (Check)You must find the key to enter Wonderland. (Check)You must not be named Alice, or risk being beheaded by order of the Queen of Hearts.
We might have an issue with that last one.
My name may be Alice, but Wonderland Academy is everything my real life isn't. My boyfriend recently died. I just did a stint in a psych ward on suicide watch. And everyone thinks I'm "crazy" because I see people who aren't there. Ridiculous, right? That's why I'm willing to risk my neck to be here as "Lacey" Crane.
But who wouldn't want to learn how to ride a jabberwocky, train with a vorpal sword, cast spells using a teacup, or shapeshift into a fairy? As long as no one figures out my real name, I should be fine.
The only problem? Aiden, the Queen of Hearts' son, is quickly becoming my best friend. And then there's Corbin. Despite the fact my heart is still broken, every time I see Corbin, something inside me flutters to life. How I'm going to pass my classes and protect my secret like my life depends on it is beyond me. But I better find a way. Because in Wonderland, no Alice is safe.
Wonderland Academy re-imagines the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland for a fresh, new adventure. Combining whimsy, magic, and a splash of steampunk, New York Times best-selling author Melanie Karsak invites you into this beautifully re-envisioned fairy tale adventure.
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 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!
Bumpalump Cookie Recipe (*Overthere Edition)
In Wonderland Academy, Lacey is enrolled in the Alchemy of Baking. She makes a cookie that will turn you as thin as paper. Perfecting a Bumpalump cookie with standard Overthere ingredients proved challenging, but if you would like to make your own batch, try the below recipe. Karsak children approved!
Ingredients for Bumpalump cookies:
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup butter (softened)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup maple (Tumtum) syrup. Note: this will make your cookie slightly browner.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle of salt
2 tsp. rose syrup. *If you use the rose syrup, reduce the maple syrup by about 2 tsp to compensate for the wetness. This ingredient can be omitted.
Ingredients for Grapeish crystal topping:
Purple sugar cookie crystal sprinkles
1-3 Tbs lemon juice (more lemon = sourer, but don’t overdo or the acid in the lemon will curdle your milk)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
* * *
- Oven to 375f degrees (190c degrees)
- Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and set aside.
- Cream butter, sugar, and maple syrup. Add in egg, vanilla, and rose syrup.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
- Roll into balls and bake on a greased cookie sheet.
*Depending on the thickness of your maple syrup, your dough might be a bit wet. Feel free to add additional flour if needed. Add just a little at a time.
- Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden around the edges. Keep in mind the maple syrup will darken the cookies. Depending on the brand of rose syrup used, you may have additional coloration.
- While cookies are baking, prepare the grapeish topping (aka lemon glaze with sprinkles)
- Whisk sugar and milk until smooth
- Add the desired amount of lemon (1-3 Tbs)
- Spoon or drizzle over warm or cool (but not hot) cookies.
- Shake sugar crystals on top. *If your cookies are very warm, the sprinkles might melt, causing discoloration.
Enjoy! No guarantee these will turn you as flat as paper, but I hope you’ll enjoy the unique floral and lemony flavors of this cookie.
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