Thursday, August 02, 2012

Interview with Roger S. Baum

This week I got to interview Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum. Roger has written over a dozen Oz books of his own. His book Dorothy of Oz is currently being made into an animated musical starring Lea Michele.

How did you get into writing Oz books? 

It was based on a challenge by a huge Oz fan. I thought it was presumptuous, but I decided to give it a try after writing one non-Oz adventure, titled Longears and Tailspins Adventures in Candyland.

You've written over a dozen Oz books. Which was the most challenging or daunting to write? 

The most challenging Oz book to pen is the most recent one, The Oz Enigma (soon to be published). Hopefully we will have copies available for the Chesterton Oz Festival. This new Oz adventure gently moves Oz into the 22nd century and hopefully maintains the love, heart and courage that my great grandfather tried so hard to gather into his writings. Surprise! It even takes a couple of Oz characters into outer space to visit the Big Dipper! May I add at this time, the book is being published by a wonderful publishing house that you will recognize. I wish I could give you the name, but it would be a little premature at this moment.

I look forward to reading it. One of my favorite books of yours is Dorothy of Oz, which is being made into an animated movie. How has it been working with Summertime Entertainment on bringing this story to the big screen? 

Working with Summertime Entertainment has been a pleasure. They are doing everything possible to make Dorothy of Oz a compliment to Oz fans everywhere. By the way, they just signed Bernadette Peters to play Glinda under contract.

How faithful is the movie to your book, and from what you've seen, are you happy with the changes you've made to the story?

I must admit, like most screenplays taken from books, there have been some changes to the story. This is quite normal in today's operations.

When should we expect to see the movie? 

The movie has had a couple of schedule changes. I have been assured that it will be released in the first quarter of 2013.

We already know that the Dorothy of Oz movie is the first in a planned film franchise; will be the future installments be based on your work as well? 

Yes, they are planning to use another book from my portfolio.

According to your website, you are currently working on writing The Oz Odyssey III. Can you give us a rundown of that book will be about? 

As far as writing the book titled Oz Odyssey III, it has been a funny chain of events. The book The Oz Enigma was, at first, to be titled Oz Odyssey III. But, as the story developed and became more and more unique, I decided that it should stand on its own legs, and so Oz Odyssey III has been delayed into the future. I am hoping that it will not be too far out. I don't have a theme for it except to say that it will hopefully blend with the other two releases.

Is there anything you'd like to say to the Oz fans that have supported your work over the years? 

I appreciate your question, giving me the opportunity to say something to the Oz fans who have supported me. I appreciate their enthusiasm and love for all that's good in our world - love, heart, imagination, and courage as well as self-sacrifice. I was impressed by one of the great thinkers of the world, Albert Einstein, when he said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". I think his observation speaks to Oz fans everywhere, mine as well.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Roger. 

Thank you for allowing me to answer your questions. It has been a privilege.

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