|The Wizard's Wireless
Interviews with People Inspired by Oz
Hosted by The Daily Ozmapolitan
The Lost Boy
A Conversation with Joshua Patrick Dudley
Joshua Patrick Dudley has
a unique take on the Oz story. He's been working on a series of
Oz books that assumes Oz is a real place where anyone can go (if lucky
enough). Not only that, but his books are written in the first
person, giving them a storyteller quality that draws readers in.
I asked him what inspired him to write a trilogy about his own journey
JPD: When I started writing the
story, I knew that there would be too much information for any normal
human to handle, so I knew that I would have to spread it out in a
series. I have an odd fascination with the number three, so a trilogy
WW:Is your book set in an alternate reality or does the Land of Oz really exist somewhere?
JPD: The Land of Oz definitely
exists, somewhere. The characters are brought into the Land of Oz,
inside the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” but their presence is
what alters it to appear to be a different reality like Oz.
WW:Dorothy spent most of her first visit to Oz trying to get back home. Would you choose to live in Oz? Why or why not?
Dorothy, I’m sure I would grow homesick. But, if I still had a way to
see, or stay in contact with my friends and family, I would move to Oz
in a heartbeat. My bags are already packed.
WW:Family is very important to you. Who are some of the people who have influenced your life the most?
mother and both of my grandmothers have been the biggest influence in
my life. They all share a love for the arts, including music,
literature and theater. They have all influenced me to stick with my
dreams, even when times are tough, and have assured me that everything
works out one way or another.
WW: Tell us about your experiences with Oz while growing up. What character do you identify with the most?
up, I watched the MGM musical of the Wizard of Oz, at least twice a
week until I was about fourteen. I had written Oz plays, one entitled
“Christmas in Oz” when I was in the fifth grade and I had sewn a
reproduction of just about every Oz costume there was. The Scarecrow
always my favorite to dress up as, because I related to him the most. I
didn’t really have too many concerns, besides learning everything there
was to know about Oz. So like the Scarecrow, I was in search of a
brain, an Oz-Brain.
WW:I'm sure you've read most if not all of the 40 official Oz books. What are some of your favorites and why?
JPD: My absolute
favorite is book number seven, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, by L. Frank
Baum. I thought it was one of his most creative stories, filled with
fresh ideas and some of the best new characters. Two of my personal
favorite characters, Scraps (The Patchwork Girl) and Bungle (The Glass
Cat) were both introduced in this novel and I found their characters
very intriguing. My list of favorites continues mostly with the stories
written by L. Frank Baum. I have nothing against Ruth Plumly Thompson’s
continued stories of Oz, I simply prefer Baum’s writing style and sense
WW:There are Baum camps and Thompson camps in the world of Oz fandom. How have Oz fans reacted to your books?
JPD: At first, most of the emails I
received were from angry Ozians, telling me I was ruining the stories
of Oz. Then, a wonderful thing happened. Children found my book. I’d
say fifth graders are the reason my novels have become such a success.
Most of the Oz community eventually joined my side, when they learned
that my stories were altered versions of Oz and that the main idea of
stories was to preserve Oz in its original Baum-state.
WW:Why do you think Oz resonates with so many people after 110 years?
JPD: I don’t think that question
has just one answer. I think Oz connects with every person in a
different way. Some people simply love the astonishing stories told in
this classic American fairy tale, some love the MGM movie, others can
find interest in Oz by simply relating the stories to the lives of
authors, or relating it to the history of other countries, such as our
own. I do think it is safe to say that everyone loves Oz and Oz has a
special connection with everyone, everywhere.
WW: After the third and final book
in the series comes out in early 2011, what are your plans for Oz?
JPD: After I finish the Lost in Oz trilogy, I have another series of Oz books in the works. I don’t want to reveal too much, but the series will start with a new group of characters, that are somehow connected to the characters of Lost in Oz. The characters from the first novels will be back, but they will play a new role in the history of Oz. I’m not planning this as another trilogy; I want to feel free to write as many more adventures in Oz as I can, so we will just call it a series for now.
WW:You are also planning a graphic mini-series based on Book 1 in the trilogy. Can you tell us about the artists and how you came to work with them?
JPD: Well, those are two separate projects. Yes, there is a graphic-novel version of the first books in the works, but there is also an animated, on-line mini-series, being created in the Sims 2. The graphic novel has been in the works for a while, am I’m just starting to get some sample artwork from a few different artists that I am considering. Also on Facebook, I found a very talented artist, Benjamin Kissell, who will be doing all of the interior artwork for the comic series.
The on-line mini-series, is being created by various people all over the world, who I met on Facebook. Most of the artists for the mini-series are about seventeen and very talented. Each of the seven parts of the mini-series will be created by different Sims director, using the same characters. I also have a brilliant composer, Isaias Garcia who will be composing an original score to the mini-series. I’m really excited to see how that all plays out.
contest is open to anyone, of any age, and involves writing a two
hundred to five hundred word essay on who your character would be in
The winner will play a role vital to the characters’ journey out of Oz
permanently. All entries should be sent to LostinOzCameo@yahoo.com,
please include your full name, your age, your email address and your
mailing address. There is more information at www.LostinOzBook.com WW:
WW:You're running an online contest for someone to win a cameo in the final book. Tell us more about that. What role will they play?
JPD: This year I will definitely be appearing at Oz-Stravaganza from June 4-6, in Chittenango, New York. Then in September, I will be at Chesterton, Indiana’s Wizard of Oz festival, running September 17-19. And in October, I will appear the Grand Re-Opening of Matilda Joslyn Gage’s home in Fayetteville, New York from October 8 - 10, which is also known as The Wonderful Weekend of Oz. There may be a few more popping up, but they are not confirmed yet.
my non-author life, I like to explore other forms of artistic
expression. I write and record original musicals, have performed on
theater stages and I love creating computer generated artwork. My
favorite thing to do, still author related, I guess, is teaching
creative writing workshops in middle-schools across the country. I get
to spend a day with students and talk with them about the writing
process, before we all put our brains together and write a story as a
class. The experience is the most rewarding and exciting thing I think
I have ever done. WW:
WW:What do you do in your non-Oz author life?
WW: Tell us
about your favorite personal Ozzy moment in your life.
JPD: I’m sure a lot of people say this, but meeting the Munchkins, John Fricke (pictured at right: John Fricke, Maryellen St. Aubin and Joshua Patrick Dudley) and the Baums has probably been the best and most rewarding Oz experience I have had to date. To feel like I am somehow a part of something so huge and grand, is a wonderful feeling. John Fricke has been the biggest inspiration in my Oz journeys and I am proud to say he has become a dear friend of mine.
WW:If you had one magical item from Oz, what would it be and why?
JPD: I would love to have a copy of Glinda’s Great Book of Records. It would be so thrilling to learn what was really happening in Oz now, and what the characters have done since the end of the official forty books. ∆
Joshua Patrick Dudley pursues a variety of
artistic endeavors including writing, graphic design, acting, singing
and dancing. Joshua also is working on a non-Oz hip-hop album. Joshua
lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he recently completed the
third installment of his Lost in Oz trilogy, "Temple of the Deadly
Blair Frodelius lives in
upstate New York and is the
--Interviewed by Blair Frodelius; March 21, 2010Home Again