Author Gregory Maguire talks about final "Wicked" novel
Many of us have read “The Wizard of Oz,” perhaps learning to love Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow or Lion. Perhaps not many of us have asked ourselves one question, “Why is it that the Wicked Witch flying around on her broom is so cruel?” Concord author Gregory Maguire has not only thought about that question, he has written stories for adults and children’s books delving into just such unanswered questions.
“I write to help myself understand what I think. Once I knew I was going to write about the nature of evil, I got clues to understanding the why and how a character appears evil. I see my novel as an exploration, a retelling of a story and not a contradiction.”
His book, “Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” was developed into an award-winning musical, now in its eighth year on Broadway. Gregory received his Ph.D. in English and American literature from Tufts University, is co-director of Children’s Literature New England and his more than 25 popular books have been read and enjoyed by both adults and children. He and his husband, artist, Andy Newman, and their three children love living in this community.
Your newly published book, “Out of Oz,” is the fourth and final book in the “Wicked” series. How do you feel about that, and what advice do you have for young writers?
Finishing “Out of Oz” is a feeling similar to that of sending your children off to college; they’re on their own now, they are free. I knew I had to explore the green-skinned grandbaby born to Elphaba and tell the story of what happens to her as a young girl. It’s bitter sweet. Writing and reading are privileged experiences. I love the possibilities of sending a message out to the future. Perhaps in a way, writing is a vessel for the spirit of my birth mom. We all feel alone and are receiving messages daily from generations passed. When I read writers whose convictions I may share, I am rewarded with the feeling that I am not alone. I would suggest that young writers keep a journal, written by hand. With “tweeting” now, people can forget what it is to think. Writing by hand may be slower and more challenging but for me this process is my teacher. I wish that same learning experience for young writers. And I wish that they too can feel as I do. I’m already living over the rainbow."