What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?
That there are so many opportunities out there. You just have to do the work first. And to really not box yourself into one genre or one thing. I started out in realistic fiction (if you can call soaps realistic) and ended up in Oz. I think you don't really know what you can do until you are doing it!
What's your favorite book and why?
It changes. There are too many to choose from. I love the classics, like Austen and Dickens and Faulkner. As for YA, just finished Marissa Meyer's Cress which I was just in awe of. She is my retelling goddess!
Where did you get the idea for Dorothy Must Die?
Total Oz fan. I have seen the movie a million times and read the Baum books.
Did you hit any snags while writing Dorothy Must Die?
What were they and how did you fix them? I really got into the groove of this big, action packed Oz world, but I had to remind myself to make time for the quieter moments so we can really see who Amy is. And I have an amazing editor, Bennett Madison. he's an expert on Oz and really great at letting me spout the kitchen sink at him until it works.
Which one of the characters in Dorothy Must Die is your favorite and why?
I love them all. It depends on who I am writing that day. OF course, I love Amy because she is my hero. But right now. I'm digging into the Lion a bit and his corner of Oz and I'm loving him.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?
Growing up I wanted to be a journalist. In college I discovered I wanted to write scripts and took an internship at a soap. My first writing job was actually for Guiding Light, a CBS soap. But soaps were becoming extinct (5 were cancelled!) I wrote a tv pilot for MTV(sold, but not produced), but discovered how much I loved writing for teens. So I set my sights on YA. And now, Dorothy!
What are you working on now? Sequel? Something new?
Sequel to Dorothy, it's a trilogy!
What drew you toward The Wizard of Oz as a realm for retellings?
I love Oz.I felt like there was another story there. I feel so lucky to be able to tell it and to have people reading it.
Do you prefer television or writing?
It’s all writing. It’s all storytelling. I have been lucky enough to have gotten to to both! There is something really cool about seeing your name in the credits on tv and watching something you wrote come to life. But to know that people are cracking open your book and imagining a new Oz, is just the best.
Do you worry that readers who love Dorothy will be offended that you've turned her into a "bad guy" figure?
I hope they pick up the book and see what I did and fall in love-to-hate with her like I did while writing her.
Danielle is giving away a signed hardcover of DOROTHY MUST DIE. US only.
Dorothy Must Die: I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!
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