Clockwork Wonderland Author Guest Blog Post: Jaap Boekestein

The Tick, Tock Story

By

Jaap Boekestein

Like any text nowadays: spoilers ahead! Those who enter with be corrupted with knowledge.
I need to write. When I don’t write, when I don’t create I get unhappy and I die a little inside. The never-ending urge to evade death by creating. Dear Sigmund no doubt would have had to say some interesting things about that. Or not, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Now am I in the happy circumstances I can purely write for fun. I make my living by doing things to computer systems and that allows me to be a non-commercial writer, photographer, and illustrator in my spare time. So basically I can be totally selective in what I write. For me, the theme for an anthology or magazine must be interesting, challenging or fun. Not too broad, not too restrictive and it must take me places in my mind I haven’t visited before.

Basically every evening I check a bunch of websites for interesting calls for short story submissions. When and where I first learned of Clockwork Wonderland I really can’t tell. Probably a few websites at the same time because there usually is a fair amount of overlap.
Alice in Wonderland…
Horror…
Time…

Now, that is interesting, I thought. Alice in Wonderland with Horror. ‘Real Horror’ said the submission if my memory serves me well.
Ah! And Time.
Aha!

Now does Alice in Wonderland lend itself easily for satire, adventure, humor even erotica (or porn, but you can turn everything into porn), but horror? For a good horror-story the reader needs to feel for at least one character. The reader must care so you can take grab that feeling by hairs and push it slowly towards the rotating blade of a lawnmower. (The blade is rusty, you feel the wind, you hear the engine. Slowly, slowly. You fight and scream, to no avail. What will be first? Your nose? How much will it hurt? And will that evil bastard push on, slicing up your face, breaking your jaw? How long will you feel before you pass out?). Yes, it is a dirty job to be a horror writer, but somebody has to do it. Sweet sadists like yours truly for example.

Anyway, I just didn’t see myself building up Alice as a character to care for. Way too much luggage, too many clashing images I had to overcome. Too many movies, books and games with Alice as the heroine. No, that wouldn’t do at all. But of course Alice needed to be a major character in the story, so I decided to make her the villain. What would happen to Alice when she was all grown up? A nasty, bloodthirsty, manipulative, murderous lady clad like a bad ass Dominatrix? Sure, why not. Always fun to write about your dream lady ;-).

The easiest way to get your readers to feel for a character is to use the love story. Or a slightly crooked but still sympathetic character. So I used both. Shot both barrels, so to say. Now I had the love story, I had Alice as the Big Evil, but I still needed to incorporate Time.

My twisted mind conjured up an image of a huge clock working like a kind of guillotine. Yes, I definitely would use that! Still, that was not enough. Time had to be part of the story, from the first to the last second. How?

Getting ideas for a story is just asking yourself a bunch of questions and finding original answers. It is not a big secret.
Anyway, when did Time play a role in the original stories?
Duh, right from the beginning! One white rabbit with a watch, remember?
Yes! But what to do with that nugget?
Well… I considered introducing Father Time somewhere, but the Alice movie that just came out around that time used that same idea. So no, that was out. Time, time, time…

That watch. What if it was a huge watch with people running around on it?
Or… What if it was a normal watch with a lot of tiny people running around on it? And when our heroes were hiding on that watch?
The story was born.
So dear reader, I hope you will enjoy or have enjoyed my story.
Let me know if you want more.
You can trust me.
I am a horror writer.
I will start the lawn mower.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1544785518/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493493560&sr=8-1&keywords=clockwork+wonderland

 

Jaap Boekestein

http://jaapboekestein.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/jaapboekestein.com

http://www.moordenmysterie.eu/

http://www.wonderwaan.info/

 

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Clockwork Wonderland Author Guest Blog Post: Michele Roger

 

Alice in Wonderland: the Bridge Between Reality and Fantasy

By

Michele Roger

 

It’s a Fine Line

           I discovered Lewis Carol and “Alice in Wonderland” later than most children.  While many of my friends tell me they read it with parents as a childhood bedtime story, I didn’t read the classic tale until high school.  Admittedly, by the time it was assigned to me, I was resentful.  Why was an Honors English class reading a kids book?

 

Thankfully, I was a goody-two-shoes and wanted to impress my teacher.  I dug into the story, assuming it would be a quick read, an easy paper and take me that much closer to kicking off my Spring Break.  Like so many things in my teenage life, I was wrong.  Alice in Wonderland consumed me.  It resembled many aspects of my real life and the people in it.  Epiphany hit me somewhere in the wee hours of the drive from Michigan to Florida as I sat reading in the car on a family Spring Break trip in April of 1988.  I was suffering the microcosm of my dysfunctional family crammed in the confines of a compact Ford Escort for eighteen hours when it hit me.  Lewis Carol took the extreme personalities of people he must have met somewhere in his life and turned them into the most fantastic creatures/characters to help tell a story.

 

I knew people like the caterpillar. I had parents of friends who smoked hash and made it look enlightening.  Caterpillar people loved parties, where jazz played softly in the background and martinis, were served in the library or study where guests could check out all of the books they had read.  These same people rarely spoke to their kids (my friends), drove expensive cars and paid for things with large wads of cash from their wallet.  All the while, they seemed to sit in a lofty leather chair and do nothing.  How they made their money was a mystery to me.  Caterpillars seemed addicted to the excitement of impending metamorphosis and bragged about their state of great change, telling their children they should aspire to it.  In reality, caterpillar people never turned into anything beautiful; much to the disappointment of their children.  I, on the other hand, thought they were entertaining.

 

The rest of that sophomore year and through my first summer job, I decided to find fantasy characters in my own reality.  There was no option out with a glass that said, “Drink me”,  to avoid driving in a hatchback with my parents, younger sister and two German shepherds to go places.  Heading to summer family events certainly felt like I was falling down a rabbit hole at sixteen.  I had the same tumbling feeling when I got my first summer job testing water samples and writing mind-numbing reports for the State of Michigan.

 

Mad Tea Party

The summer of 1988, I met my own personal Cheshire at a beach party. While drinks were flowing under the cover of darkness, I was drunk on a boy. One part bad boy, one part overwhelmingly charming and kind, stunningly handsome one minute, gone the next, not to be seen for weeks; leaving me with the memory of his smile.  He was well read but only shared his love of books quietly, unlike the caterpillars.  As I waited for him to materialize, I read books in his absence, hoping it would give us a chance to have something to talk about.

With all of the reading of classics and sci-fi, something inside me stirred, I was afraid to leave the safety of summer and high school.  Wonderland, Orwell’s versions of earth, the worlds of Omni magazine short stories had become a refuge.  Every college application, scholarship essay and step towards graduation, college and looming adulthood threatened to take my fantasy characters and imaginary places away.  My parents were pushing hard that I change my major from special education to law.  Secretly, I longed to be a writer.

One simply didn’t spring changing my parents well thought plans for my future.  They had their hearts set on a family lawyer.  I couldn’t just change and be a writer. Suggesting such a thing took cunning and skill.  I took an assessment test and had it sent to my mother at home so she would open it.  I waited until the weekend when I knew the cocktails would be flowing and pressed her about my results.  In reality, the school librarian had already informed me of the results, but I wanted to present my case with hard evidence.

As she stirred her drink, prepping dinner, she told me that she nor my father believed in such tests.  It said I should become a writer or a journalist.  Everyone knew girls couldn’t make any kind of living doing either of those things.  All the big work went to men.  I sighed.

 

Return to the Realm of the Queen of Hearts

It’s fair to say that I didn’t understand the Queen of Hearts and the notion of yelling, “Off with their heads!” until I heard my inner motherhood scream, “if I see that kind of behavior again, young lady, heads will roll.”  Fast forward to 2009, I was a mother of young teenagers and unknowingly, I had returned to Wonderland.

As an act of preparation for life, I read Alice in Wonderland to my kids.  We had moved into an old farmhouse in the country.  It was easy to see the characters that real people could be. Raising teenagers required escape.  I began to write, using everything I had learned from my trips down the rabbit hole.  Parenthood was the white rabbit, always in a hurry but never the less, magical and maddening and a beautiful chaos.  Lines between reality and fantasy were blurred from exhaustion but it made life all the more like Alice’s; adventurous and full of discovery.  Three novels and one children’s book later, I am thankful for Lewis Caroll.  I would have made a lousy lawyer anyways.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1544785518/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493493560&sr=8-1&keywords=clockwork+wonderland

 

Michele Roger is the author of the Sci-Fi novel, “Dark Matter” (2009), “The Conservatory” (2013) and “Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story” (2015).  She is also the author of the “Mr. Kiwi” Children’s book series under her pen name, Michele Beresford.  When she isn’t writing, she is a harpist; performing and teaching in Detroit.

https://www.amazon.com/Michele-Roger/e/B00FJQIMJ6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1492955702&sr=1-5