I’m thoroughly enjoying This Curious Madness – a lot. A lot a lot. The characters surprise me at every turn, and while it’s a challenge creating a more ‘adult’ Wonderland, with characters who bow deeply to the originals who inspired them while remaining true to their new forms, it’s exactly the kind of challenge I love to tackle. I hope I actually have this draft finished by the end of June, because I have other things on my plate – but I adore this novel so much I’m not sure I could put it down after this month! I hope you enjoy this look into my progress. What about you? Do you have a favorite snippet from your current WIP?
The Knave sighed. “It would be easier if we could just…” He drew a finger across his throat. “Kill the little vole.”
“Pull out her teeth, cut off her limbs, but for goodness’s sakes, don’t kill her,” the Queen snapped.
“The Hatter isn’t necessary. I can handle this.”
“I think you can.” The Queen tapped the mirror’s face with a black fingernail. “It’s just that I know Hatter can.”
“And are you happier now that you’re more rooted in reality?”
“I don’t need a boyfriend. I need a throne.”
. The last image she remembered was her own reflection. She stood before a mirror twice her size in height. Her reflection smiled at her.
The Dormouse reached both arms out and gave a deep bow. “Quite so, your Radiance.”
“Stop with the titles, mouse. ‘Your Majesty’ does just fine.”
“As you say, your Majesty.” The attendant’s large irises were the color of cherries, and swallowed the whole eyeball, leaving no room for white. He brandished a note, seeming to pluck it out of thin air, and handed it to the Queen. “This just arrived for you, brought especially by the March Hare.”
The Queen made a face of distaste and took the note. “Is he still loitering downstairs?”
“No, he’s loitering in the courtyard.”
“A bit overdressed for our day off, aren’t we?” the Dormouse asked, sneering and praying the sneer wasn’t sheared off by a flying joker.
The Hatter smiled and put the cards in the pocket of his waistcoat. “Dressed to kill,” he remarked, walking past the Dormouse and retrieving his hat from its hook. It was a bit battered and used, the only part of his outfit that was less than impeccable. “Isn’t that how it’s done?”
Alice yanked open the cutlery drawer and pulled out a chopping knife the length of her elbow to her wrist. She had long ago decided that if anyone ever broke into her apartment, she would use this particular knife to see them back out again. Jack said she was paranoid. Alice said she was prudent.
“The Heir is waking up. The Duchess needs you to go find Alice Little and bring her here before the Hatter does.”
The Rabbit twitched.
Overland and the Hatter and the heir to the Ivory Throne – breathe. Relax.
“Remember, if Alice dies, so do you,” Strauss reminded him, scratching his headful of thick, green dreadlocks. “You can’t kill her. But if you get a chance, cut the Hatter’s throat.”
Slowly, the Rabbit smiled.
There was a silver lining to this errand after all.
“WHY ON EARTH WOULD I ORDER WHITE ROSES?” Jay ran his dirt-smudged hands through his hair. Fortunately, his hair was the same brown as the dirt, and it was nicely camouflaged.
“You’re shouting,” Alice told him. Jay was seventy percent deaf, and had a tendency to raise his voice without realizing that everyone else could hear him just fine.
Jay turned around. “What?”
“YOU’RE SHOUTING,” Alice repeated.
“If the trip is too long, the fries are going to cool off,” she warned him.
He gasped. “We can’t let that happen!”
“I’m serious. Cold fries are no joke.”
There was no blood gushing over his fingers, dripping onto the grass below him. Instead, red and ivory mist unfurled from the gash across his neck, filling the air like smoke from a wildfire.
Alice had read a news story once of a girl who had fallen down onto subway tracks. Seconds before the train arrived, she rolled off against the side of the rail, under a small overhang. As the train whipped by, the girl had said she hadn’t seen her life flashing before her eyes – there had only been the sound of the sucking, roaring wind, and she had clutched at whatever she could to keep from being dragged to her death.
For the first time, Alice knew how she felt. She felt as though she was lying still while the world rushed past her, screeching like a subway train. It was like riding a roller coaster and realizing you forgot to buckle, and there was nothing to keep you in your seat except your willpower and the arms of the person who had kidnapped you.
Note to self: horses here can chew through chain. I want to go home.