Let’s chat with the creator and the author…
1) How did you get the idea for AGES of OZ?
Gabe: It’s not so much an ‘idea’ as it is a true story that’s been waiting to be told.
Lisa: Gabe is an extremely enthusiastic, creative and fanciful guy. He loves everything about Oz and has all his life. So when he says that A Fiery Friendship is a ‘true,’ story what he actually means is—
Gabe: —that it’s a true story! Oz is an actual realm, a Magical destination that exists as an overlay of Earth. You can’t see it, or feel it, but right now, you might actually be shimmering through a crowd of Munchkins, or crossing paths with a Gillikin. And like any other realm, Oz has a history. A rich and exciting history. And I have been granted the great honor of recording that history because, as it happens, I am A Royal Historian of Oz.
Lisa: Royal Historian, huh? So … is that, like, a paying gig? Do you have an office? Is there a union?
Gabe: You’re not taking me seriously right now.
Lisa: And you’re not keeping your end of the bargain. We agreed we were going to ease our readers into this whole “I’ve been to Oz,” thing slowly. You have to admit, it’s a little difficult to believe.
Gabe: The best things often are. But you’re right. We made a deal. So from now on, we’re going to talk about the book trilogy as if it’s fiction. Because it is fiction. For now.
Lisa: Right. So let’s answer the question. How did you get the idea?
Gabe: When I was a kid, I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and thought it was awesome. I especially liked Glinda because she seemed like someone you could really trust and rely on, and I started to wonder what she would have been like—and what Oz was like—when she was a child. And I knew it would be thrilling to tell that story.
2) Is it fun to collaborate on a creative project?
Gabe: Define ‘fun.’
Lisa: It’s very exciting, but we both work very hard. Gabe has so many amazing insights to the Land of Oz and the fairyfolk who live there. He really gets things that are Magical. I’m good with words, and describing action, and expressing the important things he wants the world to know about Oz. In fiction we call these ‘themes.’
Gabe: Glinda herself is an exceptional collaborator. She believes in teamwork. I mean, how do you save a world from Wicked Witches without teamwork, right? I happen to have a great deal of experience traveling to … er, I mean, researching Oz. That, along with my boundless imagination (or, as I like to call it, my ability to record actual historical events) combined with Lisa’s experience writing stories for young people has allowed us to create this book trilogy together.
3) Who is your favorite character in the series?
Gabe: My favorite character is Locasta! No … the Queryor. Wait … Clumsy Bear!
Lisa: My favorite character is Gabriel Gale.
4) What other plans do you have for Ages of Oz?
Gabe: Movies, video games, card games, animated series, maybe a graphic novel? More books, more movies, more video games.
Lisa: What he said.
5) What do you think Mr. L. Frank Baum would say if he could read A Fiery Friendship, and A Dark Descent, which comes out next spring?
Lisa: We hope he’d say that we made him proud by remaining faithful to the purpose and the spirit of his work.
6) And what do you think Glinda would say if she knew that after all these years—over a century in fact—she is still a character that young people admire?
Gabe: If I had to guess, I think she’d say she’s glad that kids are finally getting a chance to read about how cool she was when she was thirteen. But if you want to know for sure, I can ask her next time I’m in Oz … er, I mean … oh, never mind.
7) Do you have a favorite quote from A Fiery Friendship and why is it your favorite?
Gabe: “Truth Above All!” Because if you’re true to yourself, and true to what you believe, you can change the world for the better. Just like Glinda.