Hijacked by witches, kidnapped by a dwarf and enraptured by river sprites — will Lizzie ever manage to go home? And if she can, will she want to?
Lizzie is an exhausted honor student and an enthusiastic amateur folk singer. She wakes one day in a strange and terrifying new land. The women who revive her tell her she can never go home because they scooped her up when she was about to die.
Lizzie must somehow navigate this fantastic land, try to determine how she got fished out of her life in the first place, help the people of the land understand that they are about to be colonised, and find a way, if any, to get home again. But if she does find a way — will she really want to go?
“A beautiful mixture of sorcery, mythical beasts, and aliens, Lizzie in the Land Beyond is a fantastic read from beginning to end. I love the characters, the voice of Lizzie and her bumbling youthful arrogance, the larger than life Adeline, and curmudgeonly Sculdar, and the strong and silent Osric.” — Cynthia Varady on Goodreads
Targeted Age Group:: 15-35
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I loved stories of kids transported to other lands when I was young. Dorothy, Alice, Lucy, etcetera all inspired me to wonder: What would it be like for a teenager if she suddenly found herself elsewhere? Since I teach young adults, it was fun for me to picture the reactions of students I knew if they were to find themselves in the Land Beyond.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have no idea how I come up with characters. The main character is usually me in some form, but the others — they just show up. I am always surprised and delighted by the creatures who show up under my keyboard.
The witches weren’t evil. Like most creatures, they wanted their kind to survive. Since they refused to lower themselves to having sex with males, they had to find another way.
They called it casting a need.
Now one of their kind had determined to use this method for communicating with the aliens who had arrived on their shore. Unfortunately, she netted the wrong alien.
'Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
'Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
'Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
–Hard times come again no more.
“There’s a pale, drooping maiden who toils her life away,” I sang softly into the phone. “With a worn heart whose better days are o’er,” (I pretended to choke back a sob) “Though her voice would be merry, ‘tis sighing all the day. Oh! Hard times come again no more!”
“Lizzie, please,” said my mother. “You really should be in drama, not debate.”
“I’m a singer, not an actress. I’m seventeen, and I’m scrubbing the sick from my little brother’s t-shirt and if that’s not hard times, I don’t know what is!” I cradled the cell phone against my ear as I tried to rinse off Kyle’s shirt.
“I’ll be home early tomorrow morning. I’m sure you can manage ‘til then.”
“What if Jason catches it, too? What if I catch it?”
“This is Kyle we’re talking about. It’s probably not contagious,” said Mom in her ultra-reasonable voice.
“I wonder what my debate teacher would say if I threw up every time someone disagreed with me?”
“I imagine she would say it was an invalid argument,” said Mom.
“Mom! I’m tired. My eyes are bloodshot and there are dark circles under them. I need a shower.” I wanted to throw the phone on the floor and scream. “I have homework!”
“I’m sorry, sweetie, but I have to do this conference to pay for your music competition. You know that. Get Mrs.Vinson to come in and watch the boys for an hour.”
“It’ll take more than an hour for me to prepare for semester finals. And if I don’t pass them, I won’t be graduating. Then there won’t be any point in my going to the choir competition, because the scholarship won’t do me any good without a diploma!”
“Oh, Lizzie, you’re always jumping to conclusions.”
“That’s not jumping to conclusions, that’s hyperbole. Or maybe the logical fallacy slippery slope.”
Mom laughed. “You’ll pass your debate test, anyway!” I groaned, and my mother sighed. “I’m tired, too, Liz. You know it wouldn’t be like this if I could help it.”
“I know, but –”
Jason was yelling, “Lizzie, Kyle’s throwing up again! Ewww! All over his teddy bear! Aww, don’t cry, Kyle.” Jason was being nice to his brother. Probably because he was the one who had gotten Kyle angry in the first place.
“Did you hear that? Please, Mom!” The phone slipped off my shoulder and into the sink, along with the shirt. “Shylock!” I screeched. I grabbed the phone up. Damp and disconnected, but still working, thank God. I went to clean up Kyle and teddy and whatever else Kyle had managed to spew on.
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