Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die is hands down one of my favorite young adult books that I've read this year. Imagine all the magic of Oz mixed with the kick-ass vibe of Kill Bill. It's cool, fun and wickedly entertaining.
The story follows Amy Gumm -- a young girl who comes to Oz via tornado and discovers that she is definitely not in Kansas anymore. Oz is not the dreamy city from the movies but instead is dark, oppressed and run by an evil Dorothy. But the people of Oz need Amy's help and she is recruited by the The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked -- the good witches. Amy has a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And then, Dorothy must die.
Dorothy Must Die is available now, and I caught up with author Danielle Paige to get all the details.
What was the inspiration behind Dorothy Must Die?
I always wondered what happened when Dorothy went back home. She was in this magical, amazing land where she became a hero and then she has to go back to a farm in the middle of nowhere and just go back to being a normal girl. I thought there was no going back for her. So it all came from there. I have always been interested in "the after." After the credits roll, after the last page, and Dorothy Must Die is that story.
It was pretty scary at first, the Yellow Brick Road felt a little like sacred ground. But I could just see it. The crumbly brick road with a goth munchkin standing in the center of it. And I just kept going from there.
This was definitely not Dorothy's Oz, and I loved that! Why was it important to you to change our view of Oz and make everything not as it seems?
I think it all came from Dorothy. Once she morphed into a very different person than the one we grew up with, Oz changed with her. As she grew darker and twistier so did the landscape and so did all of her friends. Everything that happens in the book is the fallout from good Dorothy breaking bad.
The main character, Amy Gumm, is beyond amazing. What would you like readers to know about Amy before picking up the book?
Thank you, I'm biased, but I love her. She's spent her whole life being on the outside, being this tough kid who has spent her life without friends and with a mom who isn't really there for her anymore. She's spent her whole life taking care of herself. When her trailer is dropped into Oz by the tornado, and she becomes part of the order of Revolutionary Order of Formerly Wicked Witches she is finally part of something. But there's this huge catch, they want her to kill someone. And not just anyone -- one of the most beloved characters of all time. So she's got to weigh her own moral center against what's happening in Oz. What and who is really Good or really Wicked...
You are a screenwriter as well as an author. How do you think your background in writing scripts impacted writing a novel?
My first writing job was in soaps, and I loved it. Daytime TV gets a lot of flack for its crazy, unbelievable story lines, but as a writer you get to make seemingly implausible plot lines work and make them believable and make the audience take that journey with you. I feel like daytime totally prepared me for YA. I love stretching myself as a writer and I love world-building. Taking on Oz was a huge challenge, but so much fun for me as a fan and as a writer.
Any chance Dorothy Must Die will be hitting the big screen, and if so, do you have a dream cast?
I would love to see Dorothy on any screen big or small. There is a chance right now for the small screen, fingers crossed. But when I was writing it, Dorothy screamed teenage Lindsay Lohan to me! And as for Amy, I'd kill for Keirnan Shipka (Mad Men, Flowers in the Attic) or Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars -- I'm obsessed with that cast! I'd take any of the Liars!)
I also love Billie Madison (Saving Mr. Banks, Trophy Wife). She does that tough girl/heartbreaking thing that I love. And one more -- Kaitlyn Dever (she was on a season of FX's Justified playing an orphaned, drug dealer's kid and she just killed me)!
If you could describe your book in one word, what would it be?
One is tough -- if I could have three the title pretty much does it. But one -- I am going to borrow from a twitter follower -- "Oz-tastic!"