David-Matthew BarnesGenre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Romance/LGBTPublisher: Bold Strokes BooksBook Description:Nominated for the American Library Association’s 2014 Rainbow Books!After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician's assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark.Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux.It's there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo.When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she's faced with the most crucial choice of her life.
A Guest Blog by David-Matthew Barnes
Do you believe in magic? Within seconds of answering this question when it was posed to me by the guide of a ghost tour in New Orleans, the initial concept for what would become my novel Wonderland started to form. Back in my hotel room, I worked until all hours of the night, fleshing out the details of the emotional and magical journey that fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore would take the minute she stepped foot on the island of Avalon Cove, as a result of her mother’s death. At once, I knew I had uncovered the start of something very different than I had ever written before.
The question of whether or not magic exists was a point I kept returning to during the creative process. In many ways, it was my driving force while writing the novel. Sure, my opinion was one thing – but how would my characters answer that same question if asked? This seemed so significant I decided it was the perfect place to start the novel. On page one, Destiny is asked this question by her uncle just moments after her arrival. The question (and her eventual answer) has considerable weight to it because her uncle is a magician, just as Destiny’s grandfather was. Of course, Destiny spends the rest of the novel coming to the conclusion that she (like me) does in fact believe in magic – a revelation that’s prompted by her continual visits to a place called Wonderland. Yet, along the way, Destiny also discovers she believes in love.
My previous novels have all been reality based and character driven. With Wonderland, the supernatural and paranormal elements of the story liberated me. With magic, all things are indeed possible. Often during the writing of the novel, I found myself returning to a place of deep imagination I hadn’t really allowed myself to tap into since being a child. I allowed myself to go back to a place in my life when whether or not I believed in magic was a moot point because it hadn’t occurred to me yet to even question its existence. Doing so resulted in one of the most exhilarating creative experiences I’ve had in my career. Suddenly, I was freed to do whatever I wanted on the page, without the restrictions reality can present. When I wrote my first short story at the age of seven (The Blue Witch: a five-page epic about a lonely witch that prompted a phone call home by my impressed second-grade teacher), magic was a part of my every thought and daydream. I’m not sure at what point in our lives we stop believing, but I’m convinced the characters and plot of Wonderland found me specifically to remind me that just like imagination, magic is beautiful – and very real.
Here’s a song that inspired the novel: Magic by Emii.
David-Matthew Barnes is a filmmaker, novelist, playwright, poet, and teacher.
He is the award-winning author of nine novels including the young adult novels Swimming to Chicago and Wonderland, which were nominated by the American Library Association for their annual Rainbow Books, a list of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and teens. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Comstock Review, and The Southeast Review. He was selected by Kent State University as the national winner of the Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Award. In addition, he's received the Carrie McCray Literary Award, the Slam Boston Award for Best Play, and earned double awards for poetry and playwriting in the World AIDS Day Writing Contest.
Barnes is also the author of over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and International Thriller Writers.
Barnes' first film was Frozen Stars, which he wrote and directed while still an undergrad in college. The coming-of-age independent film stars Lana Parrilla of ABC's Once Upon a Time.
Barnes earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has taught college courses in writing and the arts for the last decade.
He lives in the city of Denver where he serves as the CEO of Fairground CineFilms.