Alice Through The Multiverse
by Brian Trenchard-Smith
My first novel "ALICE THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE" has had a lengthy evolution. I am a film maker by trade, 42 crimes against Cinema, and counting, I hope. For me writing is an integral part of directing, so I have written or co-written 12 of my films, re-written many others without credit.
The genesis of Alice's story was a dream I had of a young girl, the daughter of a 16th century executioner, fleeing the execution site during a mighty thunderstorm, then waking up in a 21st Century psychiatric institution. Strange. What tortured region of my psyche did this come from? Upon waking, I jotted down a paragraph, then ruminated on it during my daily half hour swims in the pool at UCLA , where my wife was doing doctoral studies. Characters and plot twists would come to me. I would scribble bullet points on my hand as soon as I reached the locker room. The story developed its own momentum and a screenplay poured out of me, entitled The Executioner's Daughter. It was optioned twice for good money, but was never able to attract a star big enough to trigger finance. You cannot get Keira Knightly or Scarlet Johansson to read a script without a firm offer backed by a distributor. You cannot get a distributor without a star attached. Catch 22. So the script languished through 11 further drafts, trying to please different sponsors.
The option expired. I went on to direct several more films, but this story still gnawed at my liver. So a few years ago I wrote it as a novel. No publisher was interested. Only one bothered to reply. Again I put it aside. Then 18 months ago I said to hell with this - I'll self publish. Because there was already a book on the market titled The Executioner's Daughter (no similarity), I published it as The Headsman's Daughter. My cover targeted action thriller readers combining the eyes of a mysterious woman, an axe, a gun and a pool of blood. There were 2 versions of the artwork. I chose the one with less gore for the cover. I used the other to attract horror readers on Facebook.The trailer, my only sales tool other than social media and a short give away campaign, aimed at attracting the fans of my cult movies.
The trailer can be seen at https://vimeo.com/172389913
Sales were disappointing. Both YA readers and sophisticated fiction readers were put off by the lurid illustration, though 22 excellent reviews appeared on Amazon. Marketing was at fault, but so was the author. The title was not a grabber. So I changed it to one that might better attract the time travel, and alternate history readers for which it was intended. The existing ending did not really satisfy on reflection. There was a loose end that should be tied. So I added three more chapters, picking up from where the original ended, and expanding the alternative history aspect. It brought the subtext out front and centre on the final pages. As a result, I believe , the book has more heft..
This probably sounds a little pretentious for what is fundamentally a multi-genre page turner, a ripping yarn with a sprinkling of progressive ideas. But I feel my 15 year old concept is finally complete. And hopefully readers will respond. Time, as they say, will tell...