Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

I love Alice in Wonderland retellings! Today Nicky Peacock is here to tell us a bit more about her novel, Lost in Wonderland.

Getting lost in Wonderland
by Nicky Peacock

Growing up, Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite books. The story was magical and full of awe and adventure, it wasn’t until I re-read it as adult that I saw the themes of growing up and generally feeling lost – something I could identify with.

With last year being the book’s 150th anniversary, I wanted to write something that would not just copy Alice’s story into another genre, but take it’s elements and twist them into something darker. I knew I had to dig deep with the characters so I gave my protagonist, Mouse mazeophobia, the fear of being lost. A fear that I’ve had ever since I can remember. 

I know what you’re thinking, how could I have that fear in the age of Satnavs and cell phones? And I really don’t have much of an answer. I have lots of gadgets, but still break out into a cold sweat when someone asks me to drive somewhere I’ve never been. To try and maintain a reasonably normal life, I’m a frequent visitor to Google Earth. It’s not just knowing the names of streets, it’s knowing the landmarks and shops that I’ll see along the way to ensure that I don’t get that falling feeling in my stomach; you know the one, when you trip over or do something incredibly silly. The feeling that everything has suddenly changed and your life as you know it is over…

I’m far from a confident driver and when you couple that with my fear, I can end up a wreck. My poor mum has gone on many a ‘dry run’ with me to places, so I know how to get somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good once I know where something is – my issues start when I stray from the familiar path. I make up for this lack of bravery with my writing. I don’t enjoy a well-trodden path when it comes to stories. I can’t think of anything worse than repeating the same formula over and over again. And Lost in Wonderland is no exception to this. My other books with Evernight Teen is Battle of the Undead, are all written first person from the protagonist, Britannia’s point of view. Lost in Wonderland is alternate points of view to weave the story into a mystery. This way the reader gets to know much more than just one characters’ knowledge.

I’d never given a character one of my actual fears before. I must admit that it was hard some times to write certain scenes (once you read the book you’ll know exactly what I mean) however it also gave Mouse a bigger slice of me than I normally give my other characters. Friends who have read the book have said that they hadn’t realized how debilitating such a fear could be, others offered to get me micro-chipped at the vets so I’d at least always be returned back to them if I got lost! Until you have an uncontrollable fear of something that comes quite naturally to most others, you just won’t be able to understand, I just hope that readers can sympathize with Mouse, even though I gave her skills and training that I unfortunately haven’t had!

With having to continually self-analysis myself throughout the writing process, Lost in Wonderland took longer to write that any other novella I’ve written. I’ve always considered writing a book is like having a baby, it shouldn’t take more than nine months to pop that sucker out! This one took thirteen months, and yes I was writing other manuscripts at the same time, but I did find that the deeper I delved into Wonderland, the more there was to discover about my characters and about myself.

Lost in Wonderland
The Twisted and the Brave #1
Nicky Peacock

Evernight Teen Publishing, 31k words
Suspense, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror

Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—
being a Wonderlander can be murder...

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

Buy Links:    Evernight Teen     Amazon      B&N

14+ due to violence and adult situations


Before I can scream, he stuffs me in his trunk. It is dark, smelly, and contains an empty plain black plastic bag and a dirty shovel; these are not good signs. I put my hands to the top of the trunk and push. It is locked. I wasn’t getting out till he wanted me to. I resign myself to curl into a ball, the acidic-smelling sweat of his palms still imprinted on my bare, narrow shoulders. I should be listening out for the car engine, hearing when it slows for corners or revs on open roads. I should be testing the resilience of all the sides of the black space around me. I should be doing all the things they tell you to do, but I don’t. I simply stay in my little ball, quiet and patient.

The car bounces up and down and I realize we’re not on the main road anymore. He’s taking me somewhere remote…

We come to a soft stop. The slam of a car door shivers through the metal of the vehicle. I know what is going to happen. It’s so inevitable that it’s almost laughable. Death comes to everyone at some point; what is that saying, “No one can avoid death and taxes.” Funny the things you remember when you’re in danger. I suppose your brain tries to distract you with all sorts of useless crap, anything to keep you from shutting down and freaking the hell out. I grab at my forearm, an almost robotic reaction, feeling down it to check that my tracking chip is still there. The hard edges beneath my skin make me smile. My small, metallic friend never lets me down, never abandons me.

The lid to my dark place is pulled up and I see him. His face is blank. There’s no hint of emotion or even intent other than what can be derived through his actions. His hands are sturdy as he pulls me from the trunk and stands me up before him. Being barely five feet tall, I only stand to his chest. I look down to the ground between us and see the cheapest sneakers in the world, ones probably made by enslaved third-world children. Man this guy is pure evil.

“Don’t worry, girl.” He puts a hand on my cheek and graces me with a twitchy smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. The hand lingers longer than usual polite social circles would allow. My eyes widen. I know that I am one of many girls he has brought here—one of the many that he planned to rape and strangle, then leave used and vacant by the side of the road, a hollow tangle of floppy limbs. How do I know this? Because I know him. I was looking for him. I’m not who, and what, he thinks I am. I’m not a fourteen-year-old girl, scared by the death sentence before her. No, I am something else entirely.

I smack his palm from my cheek and use the momentum to reach over with my other hand to grab his wrist. I position myself in front of him and use his own body weight to pull him down and over my now bent back. He hits the ground so hard he cries out. I keep hold of his arm and twist it around and under. He moves his body, angling it in the same direction in an attempt to ease the tension I’m creating.

“Stop!” he yells, those crappy sneakers frantically pumping to find enough purchase to get him to his feet.

I push harder till I hear the bone snap. He screams, but thanks to the remote location he has taken us to, no one hears him. I let go of his wrist and turn to retrieve the shovel from the trunk. I take a minute to loom over him. He is trying to get up, but the weight and pain of his broken arm is putting him off-balance. Funny how fragile the human body actually is, even one that belongs to a sick serial killer.

I raise the shovel and smack it over his knees. He howls and tries to shield himself with his good arm. An arm that is not intact for long, as I turn the shovel and this time use the edge to dig into his flesh. Blood pools on the ground and he begins to crawl. I’m not sure where he’s trying to go. I think his goal is just to get away from me. I walk the few steps to where he’s managed to drag himself to then bring my weapon down hard onto his skull. The splintering sound of bone meeting metal is my cue to get on with the operation. I pull my cell phone from my pink sparkle-covered jeans and dial the only number on it. An automated message greets me. “Off with their heads.” I take a breath and look over at the mangled mess of the serial killer they knew as the Doll Maker. “Here, here,” I say. The call rings off and I know that I have to make my exit now. They will come and clean up the mess. No one will ever know that the Doll Maker was an accountant with really bad shoes, and I mean really bad. It’s not till they’d stopped moving that I see peeling luminous go-faster stripes adorning their sides. Yeesh. The blood splatter does little to hide their ugliness.

I stoop and check for a pulse, finding none. His skin is already clammy and I could swear slightly rubbery, but in truth it is probably just my imagination.

I throw down the shovel and begin the trek back to civilization. The night air is bitter and cruel, so I pull up my lilac hood against it. An unmarked black car zooms past me. They were quick tonight. I rub my hand up my forearm and feel the comfort of my chip. My chip is a constant friend, albeit a chatty one; they will always be able to find me, know where I am, where I’ve been. Not that I’m complaining. I was lost once, when I was very little. And although that fear bubbles in my mind every day, I beat it back with my chip. I’ll never be lost again; or at least that is what my adoptive parents tell me. Wonderland doesn’t lose its operatives.

About the Author:

Nicky is a published author of both YA and adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance and horror fiction. She lives in the heart of the UK, where she has run a writers' group for over 4 years to help new writers find their feet on the path to publication. A member of both the Society of Authors and the British Fantasy Society, Nicky has had over 30 stories published in various anthologies. She loves to talk to readers, so please feel free to either get in touch with her through her blog, or on any of the social media below.

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