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Monday, May 29, 2017

An Interview with Lisa Fiedler, co-author of Ages of Oz

I'm happy to welcome Lisa Fiedler to The Hiding Spot today. Years ago I read her novel, Romeo's Ex, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Today Lisa talks about her new series, which is based on Gabriel Gale's Oz storylines!

Why did you decide to put your own spin on the familiar world of Oz? How did you balance staying true to the source material while still finding ways to be fresh and innovative? 
Actually, I wasn’t the one who came up with the idea. The creator of AGES OF OZ, Gabriel Gale, spent literally years researching the Oz canon, and developing artwork and storylines based on the original books. All that was missing was an author to turn those concepts into novels and I was happy to take on the challenge. With regard to that all-important ‘balance,’ the trick was operating within Baum’s boundaries. Gabe and I agreed not to change anything too drastically, or disregard any of the ‘truths’ of the existing material. And because we were going back in time to tell an origin story, we did have a bit of wiggle room to be creative. In our books, we give background stories to things Baum did not provide a history for. For example, in A FIERY FRIENDSHIP we created a backstory to explain how the Wickeds came to power in Oz. So that is totally fresh, but at the same time, it doesn’t ‘undo’ anything Baum did … it just adds to it! 
You’ve written both a YA and MG audience. Do you feel more comfortable writing for a particular age group? Do you find your approach differs depending on your audience? 
I love writing for both teens and young readers, and I’m really happy to zip in and out of those two genres. My approach is always the same—find the character first, decide what he or she needs to say, and then throw them into the plot and see what happens. The big difference is the way I treat the humor in my stories. (I like to think I’m extremely funny when I try to be! I sure hope my readers agree). Teen humor is very different from kid humor, so that’s where I have to stop and really put myself into the reader’s head. What’s funny to a ten-year-old might not fly with a fifteen-year-old and vice versa. I think writing for teens is slightly more challenging (just like parenting them!) because they are straddling two worlds—they’re closer to being adults than being children, but maybe they aren’t quite ready to not be kids anymore. As a writer, you need to respect that multi-faceted element. So I guess for YA fiction, I write in the same voice, just in a different octave. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end? 
I never used to outline, but I do now! I’m not sure when exactly that changed, but I find that having the outline ready before I write the first words is very comforting. Writing the outline is like a fact-finding mission or an archeological dig. There are things the story wants that I don’t know about yet … and these come out in the outline. When I finally get to the story, I always start at the beginning. Maybe I’ll come up with cool lines of dialogue, or some small event I want to include later on, so I’ll jot that stuff down and use it when I need it. But I think if I bounced around any more than that, I’d just get confused! 
Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
My office is where I get my best stuff done. I just love it! I can write other places, but I prefer to be at my desk, overlooking the back yard (where, occasionally, a family of gorgeous black bears wanders through). I have a Shakespeare corner, which includes a Bard Action Figure, and also a collection of antique typewriters (all very dusty!) I write best in the morning, or when it’s raining. No idea why. 

When I write, I always listen to music! Old music, to be precise. I mean, like, really old … 60’s Motown, 70s Disco, Eighties pop and classic rock ‘n roll. And there can never be enough Springsteen, in my opinion. This is the stuff I listened to as a kid, which I guess makes sense because I write for kids. I suppose it ‘inspires’ me back to a more youthful mindset. 

To say that Gabriel Gale inspired me during the writing of A FIERY FRIENDSHIP would be the understatement of the century. In a million years, I would have never had the guts to try my hand at creating something worthy of L. Frank Baum’s legacy, but Gabe’s unbelievable creativity and dedication to the project made me believe we could do it. 
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot. 
A book called KNIGHT’S CASTLE by Edward Eager (who also wrote HALF MAGIC). The summer between fifth and sixth grade was a tough one for me … growing pains, I guess you’d call it. I was very unsettled. I would climb into my bed with that paperback and just disappear. I’d get to the last line and then turn back and start again from the beginning. Then, after awhile, I’d go outside and play, or go to cheer practice or the pool and I’d feel okay about things. I never thought about it this way before, but that book was absolutely my hiding spot! I still have that same tattered old copy on my bookshelf, right behind me, even as I’m writing this. 
What can readers look forward to next? 
Well, for starters, the second book of our Ages of Oz series, A DARK DESCENT, comes out next Spring, and we’re currently working on the as-yet untitled third installment. After that, Gabe has some awesome ideas for movies, animation, and video games, so we’re really hoping those things will happen. From the start, AGES OF OZ was conceived as a story that would unfold in several different mediums. So that’s what we’re working toward—we want to create a multi-media companion to the already wonderful world of Oz that can be experienced beyond the page, and with all the senses.

More About the Book
Lions, and tigers, and bears, not quite! Travel down the red brick road with the world’s most iconic Good Witch, Glinda, as she embarks on a brave adventure in Oz in this start to a brand-new series from Gabriel Gale and Lisa Fiedler.

On her Declaration Day, a day meant for celebration and happiness, Glinda’s peaceful life in Oz is shattered when her mother is imprisoned for practicing forbidden Magic. As she is ripped from her home by a fearsome bounty hunter sent by Aphidina, the Witch of the South, Glinda soon uncovers a startling truth: the Oz she’s always know is not good and right—it’s a world governed by the wickedest of the wicked, overrun with tyranny, corruption, and dark power. And Glinda’s mother? She is actually a high-ranking member of a secret society whose mission is to overthrow the four Wicked Witches and set the stage for the return of the rightful ruler of Oz.

With the help of a feisty, purple-haired girl named Locasta, Glinda sets across the unforgiving landscape to rescue her mother. They are soon joined by Ben, a revolutionary New Yorker, and a mysterious girl called Shade. Armed with their individual gifts, these unlikely heroes mount an epic attack on Aphidina to free Glinda’s mother…and save the future of Oz from the Wickeds before it’s too late.


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