Wonderland by David-Matthew Barnes‏

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.

Amazon Author Page

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.

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
Because I write mostly for young people, I receive a lot of messages and emails from them. Often they share elements of their lives with me. I started to notice a lot of them writing about losing someone they love. I knew I eventually wanted to write a novel about a young person dealing with grief and death.

The initial idea for Wonderland came to me during a ghost tour in New Orleans. The tour guide asked, “Do you believe in magic?” That question seemed so powerful to me. Back in my hotel room that night, I started to outline the plot of the book. That particular question is the first line of the novel.

Wonderland is really a combination of those two elements: love and magic.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
Because of the research involved, Wonderland took a little over a year to write.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
Writing is my greatest passion, especially when I'm able to tell a wonderful love story. My love for writing comes from my love for reading. I grew up reading fantastic novels. It didn’t take long for me to realize writing was my purpose.

With each novel I write, I aim to continue to improve and strengthen my craft. Receiving feedback from my readers also motivates me. When I receive a letter from a reader who expresses they’ve identified and connected with something I’ve created, as a writer I feel like I’ve done my job.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
Writing can be very demanding, especially where time is concerned.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
It’s a tie between a jar of pickles and Easter candy. Both have been in my fridge for way too long – at least six months.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have two novels coming out in 2014.
The first is a literary novel called Stronger Than This, which comes out in February. I truly feel this is my best work to date. It was a very challenging novel to write because I wrote it in epistolary form. It was also a very emotional experience because of the subject matter. It’s about two people who meet in a support group after losing someone they loved. They decide to help each other get through the pain and grief.

The second is a young adult novel called Fifty Yards and Holding, which will be out in August. It’s about the unexpected friendship between the star of a high school baseball team and the leader of a violent street gang. The two men end up falling in love even though everything in their world stands against them.

I’m currently writing a new young adult novel called The Marijuana Mermaids. It’s about three girls in high school who make a pact to see how much they can get away with. It’s an exploration of female rebellion.

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