Like most kids I grew up loving Oz, but as an adult I was just blown away by the richness of the world L. Frank Baum created and I wanted to go back there. Witches, wizards, and munchkins, oh my! There is something incredibly modern about the books and the themes are timeless - wicked vs. Good, loyalty, friendship, etc. And the MGM movie is just perfection.
But the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch weren't the only scary things in Oz and I found myself wanting to explore more of that darkness. So my Oz is a little twistier and a little darker and takes on what happens when the center of the original story goes bad. Dorothy's turn causes a ripple effect that changes everyone and everything in Oz.
2. Would you share with us your perspective on the main character Amy Gumm?
Amy's life has not been led in technicolor so far. Her father left when she was young and her mother has checked out emotionally because of addiction issues. She's bullied at school because of her vintage clothes and trailer park home and a penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. She comes to Oz a much less innocent girl than Dorothy. She has never really had a friend. So Oz is a second chance for her in a lot of ways. She gets to find her place in a new world and she gets to be a hero.
But her new friends and witches and they are asking her to kill one of the most beloved characters of all time.
3. Who is the the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and why are they recruiting Amy Gumm?
They are "formerly" Wicked Witches. Things have gotten so bad in Oz because of Dorothy's actions, the Wicked have to restore order and save Oz. They believe that Amy is the key to stopping Dorothy. Amy has to decide for herself exactly what is Good and what is Wicked and how reformed the witches actually are.
4. Could you go into what Dorothy is up to in this book and how she ties into your story?
Dorothy has risen to power and become a bit addicted to it. She is literally draining the magic out of Oz for her own personal use.
5. Why can't good witches be trusted in your book and how are wicked witches the good guys? This seems a bit topsy turvy.
Dorothy has gone to such an extreme with her wickedness and she's taken her friends with her. And the things that they once fought so hard for are now corrupting them. The Scarecrow's brains have made him a bit of a mad scientist. The Tin Man's heart leads him to do anything for love. And the Lion's Courage literally has him 'roided up on the fear others.
The Revolutionary witches have to counteract what Dorothy is doing before Oz itself is destroyed. It isn't so much that they have become so good, it is that Dorothy has out- wicked them.
6. What can you tell us about your prequel novel, "No Place Like?" This is about Dorothy's rise to power correct?
I've been calling it "Breaking Dorothy." It starts after her return from Oz and Dorothy finds her homecoming anticlimactic. After Oz where she essentially saved the world and became a hero, she's back in Kansas where no one believes her and there is no magic. The seeds of discontent are sown and a new Dorothy begins to form.
So when she returns to Oz and meets Queen Ozma, the ruler of Oz, Dorothy finds herself wanting more than just to be a guest in The Emerald Palace, she wants the throne. And there is another big inciting incident at the end of No Place Oz that cements the change in her.
7. What advice would you give writers regarding obstacles they must overcome to be published?
Once upon a time I was a daytime writer and those shows were dying off. There was such a small pool
Of possibilities. So I started to look at other television and books. I found that the book world had so many more doors to knock on. Between traditional publishing and self publishing and all the imprints that there are out there I think that it is a good time for writers. I also have to say - try and surprise yourself. Write that big idea that seems outside the box. If you asked me five years ago if I'd be on the Yellow Brick Road I would have laughed.
8. What are you up to next book wise or projects wise and any links you'd like to share?
The sequel to Dorothy Must Die.
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