I recently got to interview Tom Mula, author of the new book The Hackers of Oz.
Scraps and the Scarecrow come here, and help Elizabeth, our heroine, defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. Again.
What inspired you to write this story?
Truthfully, a dream I had many years ago, of the brightly-colored Oz characters on a gray street in downtown Chicago. I always remembered the dream, and finally got around to writing the book.
How does this story fit in with the original Oz books or the 1939 movie?
It’s based on the original books; it also references the popular mythology created in the movie. Anything more is a spoiler; suffice to mention that Scraps and the Scarecrow are very familiar with the movie.
You’ve written quite a few books and plays already, most notably Jacob Marley’s The Christmas Carol. How was writing The Hackers from Oz different than the other projects you’ve done?
As in Jacob Marley's The Christmas Carol, I was dealing with a hugely popular work of genius that many people care about deeply; and once again, I felt a responsibility to be faithful to what I saw as essential in Baum’s creation: his sunny, wacky, joyful humor and whimsy. And as in the Baum stories, there is genuine danger, and the stakes are high. I had the same experience writing Scraps that I’m sure Baum had: once you let The Patchwork Girl open her mouth, it’s pretty hard to get it closed again. Sometimes characters write themselves. Making this journey with Scraps was a delight, and surprisingly, very moving for me.
Would you consider The Wizard of Oz to be a childhood favorite?
Oh, heck yes.
Are you planning on writing any more Oz stories in the near future?
It’s very possible. Another of the characters in the book seems to have a great deal more to say that seems pretty interesting.
Why do you think Oz fans should check out this story in particular?
Thanks to Tom for taking the time to do this interview! Amazon is currently out of stock, but you can order Hackers from Oz in hardcover format here from Barnes & Noble.I’ve really strived to deliver a genuine Oz book—sunny, funny, optimistic, faithful to Baum, delightfully illustrated. At the same time, putting the Oz folk in our world…is not the most natural fit, and they have some strong opinions. I’ve tried to make the book about something important, in addition to being highly entertaining. I hope your blog followers will think I’ve succeeded.