Danielle Paige shares her thoughts on Wicked developments and new challenges in Yellow Brick War, and we have an exclusive teaser for Dorothy’s return.
The Dorothy Must Die series follows the Kansas-born Amy Gumm through an Oz subsumed under by Dorothy Gale’s reign of terror. The third installment, Yellow Brick War, takes the battle back to the cornfields, where Amy must not only battle the enemies of her old life, but find a way to save Kansas from Dorothy’s nefarious plans.
Oh, and there may be another Witch in the way as well.
Interview with Danielle Paige
Were there any unique challenges in writing Yellow Brick War? Did you find the process different from writing the first two books in the Dorothy Must Die series?
I think it gets easier with each book because by then the characters almost tell you what they want to do next. And I think I was and am feeling a bit of nostalgia heading into the home stretch. I am not quite ready to say goodbye to Amy and her friends yet.
And I am simultaneously working on another series — Stealing Snow, a Snow Queen retelling — so balancing that is a bit of a challenge. But it’s an embarrassment of riches, getting to spend time in both worlds.
What elements of the original Oz story are you most excited to share in Yellow Brick War?
Introducing the Nome King to readers who might not be familiar with him. He’s a creepy bit of business. For those readers not familiar with all of Baum’s books, there is Wickedness in Oz beyond the Witches.
Did anything surprise you while you were writing Yellow Brick War?
Having Amy face her nemesis, Madison Pendleton. Amy’s grown up and become so much stronger. She’s now a badass teenage warrior who literally pulled the Tin Woodman’s heart out of his chest. But facing her high school bully still takes her back to being “Salvation Amy,” the girl from the trailer park who got her clothes from Goodwill and was teased mercilessly for it. And with a brand new threat that is not from Kansas lurking in the halls, high school might just be the most Wicked thing she’s faced in a long time.
If the world of Oz ever did cross over into our own world, what do you think would be the best lasting influence? What can we learn from the dark, magical society of Oz?
For me, the things I always take away from Oz are magic and perseverance and friendship. In the original Oz and in mine, Dorothy and Amy both take journeys, both remain loyal to their friends, and both get to experience magic which broadens their world view and shows them that anything is possible.
I think that our real world has found some dark, not so safe places in the last few years. I think we all long for a little bit of magic. And maybe those shoes!
Out of all the novellas, novels, and extra material you’ve written in the world of Dorothy Must Die, what is your single favorite piece or part, and why?
Impossible question. I still can’t believe that I get to write about characters that I grew up loving and that there are readers out there who read what I write.
There are so many moments I love, but I literally always go back to the first time Amy meets Indigo, she’s my little goth munchkin. I think it’s the moment that Amy realizes that this isn’t the Oz that she grew up knowing about. And for me it’s the moment that the book really felt real to me. Indigo’s a tough munchkin girl with an animated tattoo that told the story of Oz on her arm. And when Amy sees her she knows she’s not in Kansas anymore.
What have you learned through the processes of writing the Dorothy Must Die series? Have you changed as a writer?
Yes, once upon a time I started out as a soap writer, which is a different kind of fantasy. Soaps gave me my first lesson in making the unbelievable seem believable. There were occasionally supernatural storylines, like ghosts and clones, and people who came back from the dead. But I had never written this kind of fantasy, until Dorothy.
So Dorothy was a real breakthrough for me as a writer. I had always been obsessed with the Wizard of Oz and I loved watching and reading almost any kind of SciFi, but I had never really attempted it. But once I got started, I was off to the races, or rather off down the Road of Yellow Brick.
I absolutely loved my soap career, but Dorothy remind me of the joy of stretching myself as a writer. Now, when I think of a completely wild and crazy idea, I cannot wait to crack it and see where I end up next.
What can readers look forward to in the next book?
There’s that saying you can’t go home again. Well, this is what happens when Amy does.
When we last saw Amy she’d been deposited back home alongside Dorothy. Neither of them want to be there. And Amy’s surrounded by three witches. Amy has to confront her old life while continuing to fight a magical one. And there is a new obstacle for her and her love interest, and fellow witch Nox.
And Amy has to deal with her Mom who is in recovery, which in a way, is an even more important battle for her.
Finally, would you rather be a book or a computer?
Oh, that is a tough one. I would rather read books in print than on computer. But I think I would rather be a computer. Because I can’t help but have that Sci-fi dream of A.I. Wait, that sounds like a great idea for a YA novel…