Photo from Laura Hanfin
We chatted with Danielle Paige, the author behind the bestseling Stealing Snow and Dorothy Must Die series, among others!
About the author
A graduate of Columbia University, she works in the television industry as a writer, having received an award from the Writers Guild of America and nominated for several Daytime Emmys.
She has released several books, but she is best known for the Dorothy Must Die series. It follows Amy, a high school student who is transported to Oz and recruited to help defeat the now-dictator Dorothy. The series, which spanned 4 books, is concluded by The End of Oz.
Here’s our chat!
The land of Oz is really iconic. Was it difficult to balance staying true to the story and at the same time injecting something new into it? Why did you choose to return to the land of Oz and retell the Dorothyâ€™s story?
When writing a retelling I think that there are a few iconic things that you canâ€™t imagine the story withoutâ€¦Dorothyâ€™s magic shoes in Oz, for example. But other than that the world and its characters are up for grabs to remake and reshape at will. I did try and remain true to Ozâ€™s central theme of Good vs. Wicked, but I wanted to reexamine it through the eyes of a modern girl.
The last book in the series is out now. Is it really the end of Oz? How hard is it to let go of the story and the characters youâ€™ve worked with for so many years?
I loved Oz long before I got to reimagine it and my version of Oz will stick with me forever. It is hard saying goodbye to Amy and Dorothy and Nox and everyone in Oz. I think that Oz is forever. A place where I could tell endless stories. A place where perhaps Amyâ€™s story continues. But for now, I have left my characters with the endings, for good or for Wicked, that they deserve. And as for me, a writer, I love that I get to begin all over again with a new world and a new cast of characters. I have been lucky to have my readers come with me from Oz to Algid, the land where my Snow Queen retelling takes place. And I hope they come with me on my next book journey as well.
What made you decide to spice up Amyâ€™s journey by injecting romance in the story?
In the original tale, Dorothy is so young that romance isnâ€™t on the table. Even in the movie version, there is no mention of love except for the Tin Manâ€™s romantic past. But Amyâ€™s a teenager, and my audience is largely teen or older, so romance had to be a factor. And while magic is seemingly the most powerful thing in Oz, what happens when a force as strong as love is introduced?
Can you share a few of your favorite experiences writing and/or promoting the â€˜Dorothy Must Dieâ€™ series? What do you find exciting about being a writer?
On my very first tour stop a girl dressed up as evil Dorothy. I was so surprised, and thrilled at the same time, that something I wrote sparked that. When I did my first Skype visit, the class and the classroom were all decorated in their finest Oz creations. I wrote my first fairy tale at age 6 and I was smitten. I knew I wanted to write and I am still writing now. I love the writing itselfâ€”it is work but it is the best kind of work. Spinning a story is still my favorite thing. But the response from readers, knowing that kids and adults are reading and enjoying my work has been such a gift.
Can you describe yourself using 3 fairy tale titles?
First thing that comes to mind is Cinderellaâ€”for all the times Iâ€™ve had to stay home and write instead of going to the ball. But I would hope to be more of a Sheherazad from the Arabian Nightsâ€”spinning a story to survive. Or a Belle from Beauty and the Beastâ€”a big reader who would do anything for her family.
You used to be a writer for television. What’s the biggest difference between writing for TV and writing for books, if any?
Television and film is all about showing and not telling. Dialogue and action are meant to speak volumes. Writing books mean having to explore the internal motivations of the characters and actually put them down on the page.
Will we be seeing â€˜Dorothy Must Dieâ€™ or â€˜Stealing Snowâ€™ adapted for TV or film anytime soon?
No official news I can share yet. But I am hopeful for something on the Yellow Brick Road. I would love to see Dorothy and Snow on any screen.
Whatâ€™s next in the pipeline for you? Do you have any new series or books your Filipino readers should look forward to?
After the second Stealing Snow in the Spring, I will be working on a fairy godmother origin story that I am so excited about.
Read her works!
The entire Dorothy Must Die series is available in NBS starting at P395 each. You may also order it online here.
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