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A Place Called Wonderland

H.J. Ramsay
H.J. Ramsay Author Interview

Ever Alice continues the story of Alice in Wonderland and finds Alice in an Asylum at 15 years old. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

Narratives that explore the inner world, and in this case Alice’s inner world, are the ones I am most interested in. I’ve always had a long-standing fascination with psychology. From my academic studies to my work history to my writing, it can be found in nearly every aspect of my life. Since I see things from that lens, when I read the original Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I saw undertones of mental health throughout the text. To me, this was a girl who had a mental health disorder. When I set out to delve into this, I wanted to stay true to the time period by examining what mental health treatment would have looked like back then, including the use of the asylum, and what would have most likely happened to Alice if she were talking about a place called Wonderland.

Alice is a different character from Lewis Carrol’s Alice. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

In Ever Alice, I wanted to take Alice away from being this observer-type who is trying to make sense of Wonderland, though there is an element of that, to becoming more of an active participant and throwing reason and logic to the wind. In keeping with my mental health theme, I wanted Alice to ultimately embrace who she was and the beauty of her own mind.

I enjoyed Wonderland and felt it captured the same oddness as the original. What were some themes you wanted to maintain and what were some new themes you wanted to introduce?

I definitely wanted to keep the original coming of age theme, but I also wanted to look at the themes of acceptance and belonging. The idea of finding the persons, places, and situations that fit us and not trying to change ourselves for others or for how we think society wants us to be.  

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The last several years I’ve been looking at work that I finished and abandoned for one reason or another. Ever Alice was one of those. I wrote it 10 years ago and randomly opened the file one New Year’s Eve and decided I was going to self-publish it. The next book I’m working on is even older, so it’s been collecting dust for a while. Just like with Ever Alice, I’m coming at it with new eyes and really loving the massive changes it’s going through. It’s a big story, one that I see being at least a trilogy. It’s about a girl who has been given the gift of prophecy by the god Apollo and sees the destruction of her home, the mythological island of Atlantis, and she has to grapple with the weight of that information. I’m hoping to have the first book available sometime 2021. 

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Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

Ever Alice

Ever Alice by [H.J. Ramsay]

H.J Ramsay’s reinvention of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland is as beautiful as it is eerie. Her book, Ever Alice delves deeper into what Wonderland truly is. Through the eyes of both Alice and Rosamund, the Queen of Hearts, she gives two perspectives of a powerful tale. In many ways, Ever Alice reads like a sequel to the original Lewis Carrol classic.

While this book starts with Alice trying to recover from her first Wonderland visit and trying to fit in to her family, it ends with her finally finding her place. Throughout the story, she continues to follow and look up to the White Rabbit in the pursuit of her true destiny. On the other hand, the Queen of Hearts continues with her fits of paranoid rage which unexpectedly lead her down a path to more destruction than she had ever imagined.

Ever Alice is undeniably creative, but I felt that the first part of the novel wasn’t as eventful and compelling as the rest of the novel certainly is. However, the author more than makes up for this. It almost feels like this transition marks a quick-paced race to the biggest plot twists of all time. Even with this I still felt like the first few pages captured the original feel of Wonderland and how things are just a bit absurd.

The ending of this book leaves you with as many questions as it does answers. In some ways, it makes you think deeper about what Lewis Carroll was trying to convey in the original classic.

In this book, we get to interact with many beloved characters but some of them have been written in different and unexpected ways. For instance, our beloved Mad Hatter is no longer close to Alice in any way; sad in my opinion, but I see how the author uses such unexpected occurrences to give the story more depth .

The running theme of this book is family and the need to belong. It is a book for the misfits and the characters are a representation of this. Ultimately, it is evident that the plot of this book was extremely thought out and meticulously planned. I also love the whimsical writing style used by H.J. Ramsay. A wonderful continuation of a literary classic that adds a unique layer to a much beloved fantasy story.

Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07TNHCZG8

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