Unbirthday: A Twisted Tale (9781484781319): Braswell, Liz: Books

1. What inspired the idea to retell Alice in Wonderland?

A lifelong obsession with Alice and all things Alice!  And recently rewatching the Disney movie, of course!

2. What was the hardest part of world building for Unbirthday?

Keeping Wonderland Wonderland-y, while keeping in mind an older audience.  Making it whimsical but not over the top.  Referring to the lovely technicolor creatures in the movie and the Lewis Carroll language in the book while not knocking the reader out of sustained disbelief.

3. What part did you enjoy the most?

Spending time with characters I wish I knew in person.  The Hatter, the Cheshire Cat…

4. Is there a line or scene that is your particular favorite?

My favorite scene is when Alice, the Dodo, the Dormouse, and the Hatter are drifting along the Sea of Tears in a floating umbrella, reciting poetry. (It is all, of course, Nonsense)

5. What kind of research did you have to do for this book?

So much!  In particular I want to give a shout out to Ruth Goodman and her book How to be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life.  Of course I watched and rewatched Disney’s Alice, no chore there, and reread the books (with my children).  But getting the details of Victorian life correct was a huge task!

6. Is Alice in Wonderland your favorite fairy tale, if not what is?

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books of all time!  Strictly speaking, however, it is not a fairy tale; it comes from one author, not an oral tradition or mythology.  My favorite western fairy tale is either The Goose Girl or the Frog Princess-yes, you heard that right–from the Von Schonwerth collection of traditional European fairy tales.

7. If you wrote a your own version of a fairytale, what would it be about?

My first book published (now available as an anthology called Once, Again) was a retelling of Snow White set in the nineteenth century: a little steampunk, a little magic.  if I were to write another one it would be a retelling of the Goose Girl!  I kept pet geese as a girl myself…

8. If you could go down the rabbit hole, would you?

Um, is that even a question? YES

9. What would Alice think about you writing her story if she were real?

I hope she would appreciate how I gave her interesting hobbies and a kind of career, and a direction for her life.  I think she would be glad she got sent back to Wonderland!

10. Would you prefer to be the hero or the villain in a book and why?

No villain ever thinks of herself as the villain.  Of course I’d want to be the hero…but would others think of me that way?

11. What is your favorite literary word?

Gibbous, maybe.  Possibly benthic.  I have an editor who hates me for insisting on using that.

12. Do you have a go-to snack or drink for writing?


Also Dubble Bubble, the bubble gum, especially when I’m editing.  I order three pound bags of it.

13. Did you always want to write books?

Ever since I could first put a sentence together I’ve been writing stories…So yes! I just didn’t think anyone would ever pay me to write them. 🙂

14. If you could choose one character to bring to life from Unbirthday who would it be?

GAH!  Not fair!  Cheshire AND the Hatter?  Please?

15. Do you find it easier to write beginnings or endings?

Endings!  I have a problem settling on just the right opening scene or POV.  Many of my books have a prologue because I can’t choose!

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