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Frank Beddor
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Frank Beddor   Frank Beddor is the New York Times bestselling author of The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd, and ArchEnemy, an adaptation or rather "true telling" of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Frank Beddor is also a former world champion freestyle skier; he did the ski stunts for John Cusackís character in the movie Better Off Dead. He later produced the highest grossing comedy of all time: Thereís Something About Mary.

Buy Frank Beddor's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 12/10/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Frank Beddor

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Matthew Peterson: Hey! Youíre listening to The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction, which can be found at Iím your host, Matthew Peterson, author of Paraworld Zero. My next guest is Frank Beddor, New York Times bestselling author of The Looking Glass Wars. Frank is also a former world champion freestyle skier. He did the ski stunts for John Cusackís character in the movie Better Off Dead. He later produced the highest grossing comedy of all time: Thereís Something About Mary. Thanks for being on the show today, Frank.

Frank Beddor: Hey, Matthew. Thanks for having me.

Matthew Peterson: Now Iíd heard about The Looking Glass Wars but I had never gotten a chance to look at them until now. The first thing I realized, and this was a little bit of a surprise, that theyíre a retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story.

Frank Beddor: Well, I wouldnít say theyíre a retelling exactly. The classic fairy tale is more like a jumping off for my stories. Maybe a re-imagining.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Frank Beddor: But I would say itís, as the series goes on, it creates its own world.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, like, everybody remembers that psycho cat in the Disney movie. Your cat is nothing like that. You cat is like someone you definitely wouldnít want to see in a dark alley.

Frank Beddor: Yes, I was pretty excited when I came up with the idea. Heís an assassin for Redd. She conjured this cat; it has nine lives, but it can morph into any kind of feline. But in the attack mode itís a humanoid feline. So it stands on its two back legs, and it has these long nails that are long and sharp like butcher knives. Itís the Trojan Horse in my story.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I thought that was a funny part there. I was like, ďWhoa, that cat is evil!Ē

Frank Beddor: [laughs] Well, thank you.

Matthew Peterson: So, tell us a little bit about the first book, and weíll continue on to the second and third one. Tell us about the Looking Glass Wars.

Frank Beddor: Well, let me . . . I can tell you the . . . in about 30 seconds I can tell you the concept. Itís a little girl, Princess Alyss Heart, sheís enjoying her seventh birthday when suddenly thereís a violent cue, led by her evil Aunt Redd. Her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, whisks her to safety through the Pool of Tears. Now, Matthew, the legend is the Pool of Tears is a portal from Wonderland to our world, but no oneís ever come back and the loved ones cry for their loss, hence the name. Well, these two jump into the Pool of Tears and theyíre separated and Alyss shoots out of a puddle and she ends up in England and she befriends the famous writer, Lewis Caroll, who wants to write a book about her harrowing adventures, but the guy gets it all wrong. Can you imagine, I discovered the true story?

Matthew Peterson: Yeah!

Frank Beddor: Yeah, thatís what happened, and then out of another puddle shoots her bodyguard, but he ends up in Paris, separated from his charge and he goes on a mad search to find her, to reunite with her, to bring her back, to fight for her rightful place as the true queen of the Queendom of Wonderland.

Matthew Peterson: Now, I read the graphic novel, Hatter M?

Frank Beddor: Hatter M is the name of it, right.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, I thought that was great. ĎCause that talks exactly of what you just said, about the story about him.

Frank Beddor: Basically what happened, Matthew, was when I was in Britain for a book tour, the readers were asking me about Hatterís 13 years, because in my prose book I tell the beginning and the end, but I follow the story from Alyssí point of view. So the graphic novel is a parallel story that tells Hatterís 13 years while heís searching for her. So itís from his perspective in a different medium.

And he does have a cool signature hat. When he throws it, it turns into six blades and takes out the enemy and boomerangs back in the form of a hat.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool.

Frank Beddor: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: I saw a long time ago on some James Bond movie, where this Asian guy takes off his hat and throws it and slices a statue in half.

Frank Beddor: Yes, well, I saw the same thing as a kid, so I used that as inspiration and I just try to put my own twist on it.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Like you said, those things are just very memorable for a kid. And these are young adult novels, right?

Frank Beddor: You know, principally I would say that my sweet spot is middle school kids. So fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth graders. But because I have a graphic novel, which is in the adult market, those readers have crossed over and picked up my prose books. So itís really worked out having both stories in different mediums.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. And your second book is Seeing Redd.

Frank Beddor: Right.

Matthew Peterson: Tell us a little bit about that one.

Frank Beddor: Well, what happens is . . . at the end of the first book, which has a terrific beginning, middle and end and feels like itís complete. In the second book, itís about Seeing Redd, whether sheís a phantom or is she really going to return. And she comes back in the story and reeks havoc and Alyss is now reluctantly sitting on the thrown and she has to battle to save Wonderland again. The difference with the second book is I end the book on a cliffhanger and the third book completes the book 2 and 3 of the story arch.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. And Redd we should point out is the evil queen.

Frank Beddor: Sheís her evil aunt and the nemesis to Alyss and in the first book to Alyssís mother, Queen Genevieve. Now she has a signature dress or battle gown. Itís this living rose bush and inside the roses, they have flesh-eating teeth.

Matthew Peterson: Ow!

Frank Beddor: And . . . [laughs] you do not want to get on her bad side.

Matthew Peterson: And this is the one that everyone will remember, ďOff with your head!Ē

Frank Beddor: Yes, yes. Well, I did use that famous line from Lewis Carol in my book.

Matthew Peterson: So he did get something right.

Frank Beddor: Yes, he did, he got a lot right, itís just he sort of sanitized his version. Remember, the book was written over a hundred and fifty years ago. So yes, he did get some of it right.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. So the final book in the trilogy is now out and I saw the cover and itís really cool. Thereís some scary looking futuristic soldier on the cover. And I have to say also, the inside cover work is just wonderful, the design of the interior. A lot of books forget about all that, but you keep it going throughout the whole book.

Frank Beddor: Well, Iíve worked with a lot of terrific concept artists, you know, that have a background in Hollywood, and since I have a background, Iíve known these guys and they did some great work. And so it seems silly not to include it in the book. Youíre referring to the cover art for Arch Enemy; the art is of a card soldier. So thereís an army of card soldiers and thereís just like, from 2 to 10, each soldier has its own sort of unique abilities and weapons. This case, I had an AD52, which is an automatic dealer--shoots out piercing cards at 52 a second and heís on the cover.

Matthew Peterson: Heís got this little heart on him. [laughs]

Frank Beddor: Yes, he does. Heís a good guy actually; heís from the heart card soldier army and heís on Alyssí side. Yes, heís a little scary. You wouldnít want him on one side and the Cat in a dark alley on the other, thatís for sure.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. So tell us a little bit about Arch Enemy.

Frank Beddor: Well, what happens in Arch Enemy, as it refers to the title, is King Arch rules neighboring Borderland. And heís a king who does not believe women should be in power. And he attacks Wonderland at a vulnerable moment when all of their powers have been reduced to nothing. And the story is basically about two sworn enemies, Redd and Alyss, who come together to try and defeat a bigger enemy--or an outside enemy in King Arch.

Matthew Peterson: So Arch Enemy is the final book in the trilogy. And you also have the offshoot with Madigan, with the graphic novels. Do you plan on writing another offshoot book, or another series in this world?

Frank Beddor: Well, it was planned as a trilogy of prose and a trilogy of graphic novels. So Iím working on the third in the graphic novel. And then Iím contemplating what to do next, whether I come up with a whole new story. Itís been proposed from my publisher to write the story of young Hatter growing up in the Millinery, which is the academy for the bodyguards, from 12 to 18. And each year they learn more about the skill set it takes to become a milliner. And Iím contemplating that. Heís a really popular character, if not the most popular character. So I think that might be fun, and I did work on the outline for my publishers, but I havenít completely committed. Iím just happy not to be writing, and just going to... doing things like this. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah, promoting. Yeah. I know exactly what youíre talking about.

Frank Beddor: You know, talking to other people, being social, being out in the real world, you know, not being behind my computer all the time.

Matthew Peterson: Yep. I heard you holed yourself up in a room and just wrote, wrote, wrote!

Frank Beddor: Yes! I can only . . .you know, left brain, right brain, kind of stuff.

Matthew Peterson: I can understand exactly what youíre saying.

Frank Beddor: Yeah! I have your book [Paraworld Zero] right in front of me. I picked it up.

Matthew Peterson: Oh good!

Frank Beddor: Yeah, so Iím really interested in checking it out.

Matthew Peterson: You know, just like you, I finished the second one [Magical Learning]... took me a couple years, Ďcause I had a lot of things happen in between.

Frank Beddor: Yeah, life always gets in the way of finishing things.

Matthew Peterson: I had literally finished editing it, like just finished the second book and like the next day my house caught on fire and I lost my entire house.

Frank Beddor: You told me that, oh word.

Matthew Peterson: That was a little while ago and those were the little things that pop up. [laughs]

Frank Beddor: Thatís not so little. If thatís little youíve got some big problems going on! ĎCause that is a big one.

Matthew Peterson: I know. Well, I had an even bigger one before, just lots of different things.

[Matthewís Note: In a two-month time period (actually, most of this happened in one week), I lost my job of 6 years, my wife went onto bed rest at the hospital for a month, my 2-year-old at the time took ďpoison,Ē my wife split her pelvis during labor and became crippled for a month, my newborn baby had heart surgery and stayed in the hospital for weeks (it was an hour drive to the hospital, but my wife couldnít drive because she was crippled, and we still had 4 young boys at home), I started a new business where I worked 20 hours a day and then lost tens of thousands of dollars due to a fluke accident, etc... At the time, I told my friends that at least my house hadnít burned down... I spoke too soon.]

So life throws you some lemons, and I guess you make lemonade out of it.

You know, one of the things also I wanted to talk to you about... Iím sure youíve heard of the new Alice in Wonderland movie . . .

Frank Beddor: Sure! Of course.

Matthew Peterson: . . . that Tim Burton is directing.

Frank Beddor: Of course.

Matthew Peterson: I can predict right now, more people are going to read your books because of that movie. But in the movie industry, you are the CEO of Automatic Pictures, a production company, and I know youíre pushing for your series to make it to the Silver Screen.

Frank Beddor: Right.

Matthew Peterson: Do you look at Tim Burtonís Alice in Wonderland as something that would be complementary to what youíre trying to do?

Frank Beddor: Thatís a really good question, and itís pretty difficult to answer until the movie comes out. But I will tell you this. On the one hand, you know, itís good news because it brings Wonderland and all the variations on Wonderland into the public consciousness again.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Frank Beddor: On the other hand, it steps on the originality of mine, and itís uncertain what it means exactly. For instance, if you look at Twilight, you can see all of these vampire movies and shows and books, and itís just sort of ignited a wave because Stephenieís books were so well received.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Frank Beddor: Whether that will happen with this or not, itís a little bit different with movies. Itís possible, and that would be good news, especially if itís a good movie and people get inspired. The downside is that directors, the primary movers and shakers of movies, they will take a back seat and wait, because Tim Burton is such a big director, see what heís created and then decide if the Looking Glass Wars is stretching and creating fresh cinematic territory. So itís a little bit of a wait and see. If I had to choose, I would prefer my movie to come out first.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Frank Beddor: But, that doesnít mean that it wonít work out.

Matthew Peterson: Well, like I said, itís bound to bring more attention to the whole Alice in Wonderland. And of course to your books as well.

Frank Beddor: I hope so. I hope that is true.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Iíve been speaking with Frank Beddor, New York Times bestselling author of The Looking Glass Wars, with the final book in the trilogy, Arch Enemy, now available. Thanks for being on the show today, Frank.

Frank Beddor: Oh, it was really my pleasure. Thank you.

Matthew Peterson: Donít forget to go to to listen to the bonus questions. Stick around. Iíve still got John Flanagan and James Dashner coming up next.

  Read or Listen to the extra questions that didn't make it onto the live show.  

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