Today, I have the privilege of hosting John Davidson, author of BRICKS, an upcoming release from Anaiah Press.
Hi Lisa! Thanks for having me on the blog! This topic is awesome—this was one of my favorite parts of writing BRICKS.
I don’t want to give everything away as I hope readers will have as much fun finding all of the Oz tie-ins as I did including them, but the most obvious comparisons are the characters. Each character Cori, Slim, Leo, Sara, and Toto is directly related to a character from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I wanted to use elements from both the book and the movie. For example, in the book, the slippers were silver rather than ruby, but I included references to both.
Since the real May 20, 2013 tornado that struck my hometown of Moore, Oklahoma inspired the story, I asked myself: If the tornado played the witch, what would the other characters do or be? Obviously, there had to be a Dorothy—a character who failed to appreciate the value of home, a character that needed to go on a journey to earn that appreciation.
In Oz, the other characters had fantastical backstories, reasons within that world that revealed why one had no heart, one no brain, and one no courage. I needed real reasons why those traits would be present. Fortunately/unfortunately, a tornado made that easy. Slim’s a character who grows callous, seeing those around him getting replacements for things he could only hope to have. Sara suffers a head injury that affects her memory. In Leo, the tornado awakens a fear he’s been unable to shake since traumatic events from his youth.
Like Dorothy, Cori goes on a quest to help her friends. But whereas Dorothy is seeking to find her way home—Cori seeks to rebuild not only the house she lost, but the home (family) she thought she had.
While there are quite a few more characters, events, and references that tie back to Oz, certain elements and scenes refused to fit into the retelling mold. In those cases, I let the story go where it wanted. Retelling or not, I didn’t want to force the story to go someplace that didn’t feel natural. Besides that’s part of the fun of writing—allowing a story to tell itself through you.
In the end, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a simple story. A journey allows characters to discover and appreciate traits they had all along. By wrapping the story around that format, I was able to tell a real story with elements from one of the greatest fantasies ever told.
Sixteen-year old Cori Reigns learns that not all tornadoes take you to magical places. Some take your house, your school, and life as you knew it. Struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, Cori learns to rebuild what the storm destroyed by trusting a family she didn’t know she had and by helping friends she never appreciated.
Release Date: February 3, 2015
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Married to my bride for twenty-four years, I have an amazing son and a wonderful daughter.
Born and raised in central Oklahoma, I work in education, first as a teacher now in technology curriculum. I write. I read. And in the summer I make snow cones.