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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Friday, January 20, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Daniel Coleman

I'm very excited to have author Daniel Coleman here today for an interview and giveaway! Be sure to check out my review of Jabberwocky and Hatter

Welcome Daniel!

Q. Why Wonderland? What drew you to Lewis Carroll’s world and why did you decide to write about it? Was it an intimidating task to take on, since Carroll’s work and world is so iconic?

It started with JABBERWOCKY.  I memorized the poem years and years ago.  There is so much story told in seven stanzas, yet so much unanswered.  Over those years I puzzled over how a boy could succeed at slaying the Jabberwocky and why he would even attempt it alone.  Then there are the questions of the Tumtum Tree and other things in the poem that aren’t explained.  I even looked in bookstores and online for a novel by someone who had written the back story.  I never found one, so I decided to write it.

As I wrote Jabberwocky, I got into that world and started thinking about other characters of Wonderland.  There were so many that grabbed me that I went on to write HATTER.

It was very intimidating to write about such an iconic world, and I hesitated for over a year to jump in, but a few ideas for characters and plot that I’d been percolating for years came together.  Even though I was anxious to get into a different genre, eventually I couldn’t resist writing the story that was floating around in my mind about the Hatter and other characters of Wonderland.

Q. Did you find inspiration for Jabberwocky and Hatter in works other than Carroll’s?

I stayed as true as possible to the original Alice works, including using names of characters that he had already given (such as Hatta), using details about characters’ personalities and about the world, and I formed my story around them.  But I also incorporated other popular ideas relating to Wonderland.  There are traces of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland as well as Tim Burton’s.  It was a challenge that I really enjoyed to bring them all together and mesh them into a story that could be enjoyed by people who were fans of any version of Alice in Wonderland. 

One more note on inspiration: creativity can be drawn from all aspects of life.  My writing is influenced by music, art, dance, and any other type of creative effort.

Q. Do you  have a favorite character that you created? A favorite character in Carroll's Wonderland?

HATTER was the fourth book I wrote, and the two main characters, Hatta and Chism, were more dear to me than any other I’d ever written.  I think I did a better job of getting inside their heads, understanding them and portraying who they are than the majority of my characters up to that point.

My favorite character in Wonderland has to be the Cheshire Cat.  He wasn’t my favorite before I started writing, but after writing his scene in JABBERWOCKY and a couple scenes in HATTER, I guess I gained an appreciation for how clever and entertaining he is.

Q. In my Literary Theory class in college we studied Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass quite extensively and I was amazed at all the different interpretations and "meanings" that people took away from these stories. Is there a specific meaning or message that you hope readers take away from your adventures in Wonderland?

I was amazed when I got into Lewis Carroll’s books how deep they were, and how much symbolism there is.  It’s astonishing that he was able to create a world so popular and lasting and also so rich with symbolism.

Wonderland is such a deep and rich world with a plethora of colorful characters, but none of them are treated very deeply.  Even the Hatter, who is one of the best known literature characters in history, only appears in a handful of short scenes.  I wanted more of the Mad Hatter, so I wrote it.

There are a few different themes in Hatter, but if it has a message, it’s kindness.  You can see that everything that works out for the Hatter is because of how kind he is.  Things come back around for him eventually because of it.  Maybe this is idealistic, but I hope readers will be inspired to take a bit of that kindness into their own lives. 

Q. Do you have plans to write anymore stories that take place in Wonderland? What other writing projects are you working on?

I do have plans to write at least two more books in Wonderland but it might be a year or more until I get to them. 

SPOILER ALERT:  One of the books I have outlined follows Chism, who becomes the Red Knight, as he has more of his own adventures.  A couple other characters in Wonderland who have intrigued me are Tweedledee and Tweedledum. 

As you can see, the most unstable characters in Wonderland tend to grab my attention.

There are two other projects I’ve been working on over the last few years that are getting very close to publication.  One is a contemporary tragedy/romance called GIFTS AND CONSEQUENCES.  It will be available sometime in February.  I have details on my website –
My other recent novel won First Place in the League of Utah Writer’s contest last year.  It’s an Urban Fantasy called New Phoenix Rising.  It’s in the hands of my beta readers right now.  I may be a little biased, but it’s the best story I’ve ever written. 

Q. You have a really funny video on Youtube- Waving at the School Bus- which shows you waving at your childrens' school bus in different hilarious costumes. Where did the idea behind this come from? What kind of reactions have you received? What's been your most outrageous or favorite costume?

The idea for this is not original, but each of my costumes and props are.  A friend of mine has a brother who did this last year for his high school son.  I thought it would be fun for my elementary-aged kids this year.  The original intent was to embarrass them, but it backfired because they think it’s awesome and so do all their friends.

The costume I’m most proud of is the Darth Maul costume.  That and the Rock Star took the most work because I had to shave my head and get into costume in less than 5 minutes.  Oh yeah, laundry day was tough, as well.

The reaction has been a lot of fun.  A couple of my son’s friends, kindergarteners, who have always been very shy around me now come up to me and talk to me about the costumes.  They even say hi when we pass at the school or at church or the grocery store. 

Check my blog for more pictures from this semester:

Q. You also have a podcast- Create or Die. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Some people are surprised to learn that my mentor in writing is a professional painter named John Berry.  The podcast came about after years of conversations with him about creativity and about being a professional and making a career out of being an artist.  He’s made a living for 20 years as a landscape painter.
I’ve learned so much from him, and studied creativity and earning a career in The Arts, and I feel like we have a lot to share.  We’ve done episodes about Getting Started, Common Blocks, Ideas as Embryos, and Exposure.  His line is, “You can die from exposure.”

Neither of us would have arrived at where we are without other artists helping us, so we are just trying to pass that on.

We do an episode every week.  It’s on iTunes and also at

Q. Who's your favorite literary villain...who do you just love to hate or hate to love?

Can I cheat and give you two?
The first one is Inspector Javert.  The dichotomy in his character is genius.  Even though he’s the villain of the story, he is a man who always does the right thing.  Now, a lot of villains believe they are doing the right thing, but Javert does what a lot of noble people would do in those situations, and that resonates with readers. 

The other is Mr. Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  Stevenson uses a chemical potion to out Mr. Hyde, which represents the base and low elements of man’s nature.  The villain is the evil that lurks in all of our souls. 

Q. What's the one book you wish you wrote?

I’ll go with Ender’s Game.  I love books and movies that have a twist at the end that you should see coming, but you don’t. 

Q. What's the one book you think everybody should read at least once?

Les Miserables.  I’ve never read the unabridged, 1000-page version, but the abridged version of the book was so good I have a hard time giving any book 5 Stars now because I gave that book 5 Stars.  It’s just hard to put any book on the same shelf with it.
I can’t remember reading any other book in which I was so emotionally involved that I literally had to put it down and get back to reality for a while before I could take any more of it.

Thanks for interviewing me, Aeicha.  I’m off to write!
Thanks for stopping by Daniel and thanks for the following awesome giveaway!

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon  

Daniel Colemanspends his time back and forth between two worlds – the fantastic world of Writing where happy endings are common, and the very real- life world of Firefighting where the outcomes are as varied as the emergencies.A small farming town in northern Utah is his home, where he resides with his wife, 3 kids and an ever-changing menagerie.
Daniel got his start in writing the same place he started reading–Fantasy (See Jabberwocky and Hatter). But other projects demanded their due and Gifts and Consequences resulted. He is currently working on follow-up books as well as polishing a science-based Urban Fantasy novel, New Phoenix Rising, which recently won First Place in the League of Utah Writers Contest!

Daniel has generously offered one paperback copy and one ebook copy of his books. Each winner will be able to choose which book they want- Jabberwocky or Hatter.
Please note that if the winner of the ebook does not have a Kindle then they will have to wait until after March 6 to receive their ebook.
There will be 2 winners: one paperback and one ebook winner.
Giveaway will run from 1/20 - 1/27 at 11:59pm ET
Open to everyone
Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter

  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • One main entry per person
  • Winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours or new winners will be chosen

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Maya Floria Yasmin said...

Nice to know you, Daniel :)

Unknown said...

Hi nice to meet you. Thank you for the opportunity to win :)

In Julie's Opinion said...

Very nice to meet you, Daniel!! I have a copy of Jabberwocky on my Kindle waiting to be read, and I would love to have this book ready to go when I finish it! Thanks so much for the giveaway:)

Erica McFarland said...

Have always loved Alice in Wonderland!

Mary Preston said...

I'm looking forward to reading these books. They look like so much fun.


Aparna said...

Thanks for the giveaway :)
Can't wait to read these ^_^

Unknown said...

Hi Daniel, I'm very enjoying the interview. I read review of your books on GR and that sounds very interesting books. I hope I win this.

Thank u for this awesome giveaway :)

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland - I can't wait to check out these books. Hatter's cover is beautiful!!

Thanks for the chance!

Anonymous said...

Both of these books sound amazing! I would love to win one!!

Sara Kovach / Dare to be Different - Teach! said...

Both books sound fabulous. I am a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I love to find books with this as a spinoff.

Kathryn said...

I can't believe I've never heard of these books. Thanks for enlightening me :)