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This Ozarian Tale

T. C. Bartlett
T.C. Bartlett Author Interview

The Good Witch of the South brings a new evil witch to the land of Oz that is amassing an army to overthrow the Head of Oz. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

TC – The inspiration for the story came from the dust jacket cover art. I had just finished my memoir, Roads Over Brown County, which took me two years to write, and I was playing around with a fairy design and thought it would be a fantastic image for a book cover. I keep thinking how nice a fantasy book cover it would make but didn’t know what kind of story it should be, and I didn’t have a title. For some unknown reason, while I was working on the cover art, I was also reading Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again.

After I added tattoos on the fairy’s arm and some glowing orbs behind her, it came to me. I knew exactly who this fairy witch was. It made perfect sense; she was a good fairy witch, Glinda’s daughter, the Good Witch of the South. I instantly knew what I wanted to write.

For reasons I can’t explain, the first chapter I wrote in my journal was the epilogue. Everything else about the plot instantly fell into place.

What were some ideas that you wanted to keep from the classic Wizard of Oz and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce?

TC – That’s a good question. I decided to combine aspects from Baum’s original book and the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland. Not many realize that in Baum’s books, Glinda was the Good Witch of the South, or also known as Glinda the Good, and not the Good Witch of the North. For fun, I decided to give Glinda the last name Glinda Goodwitch. I also decided to have the main characters from Baun’s book and the movie, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion play a part in my book. I also thought it would be fun to add subtle echoes from the movie within my book.

One of my favorite moments in the film is at the end when Dorothy is back home in her own bed, and she is telling her family and friends about Oz. I wanted to capture this iconic moment in the book.

So when the main character, Samantha Goodwitch, Glinda’s daughter, is recuperating from a terrible injury from fighting the vicious red alpha dragon. She wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and looks up at her companions, and tells them about a dream she’d been having. She points a trembling finger at each one and says, “You, and you, and you . . . . . and you were there.” I also had the new Wicked Witch taunt her victims as she did in the movie, using some of the barbs the Wicked Witch of the West used. All of these small touches made the story special and fun for me when I was writing. It made me smile.

I added one piece of imagery at the beginning of the book when Sam is crouched on the roof of the castle looking out across the land of Oz that has been with me since I was a child. I am almost sure it started from the very first time I watched the movie. It happens when the Munchkins escort Dorothy to the center of Munchkin City to show her the Yellow Brick Road. Where the Yellow Brick Road spirals out from the center of the city, there is another spiraling brick road, but the bricks are red. That always fascinated me, and I have ever wondered what kind of adventures one would find following the Red Brick Road. To this day, when I watch the movie, I whisper, “Dorothy, take the Red Brick Road.”

Sam is an intriguing character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some obstacles you felt were important to the characters development?

Mainly believing in herself and proving herself to her mother, to her sister, and to everyone she loved. Every time I start a new book project, I struggle with it, from my children’s picture books to my novels – especially my novels. So, I say to everyone, “Believe!”

Do you plan to write other stories within the land of Oz?

When I first started writing this Ozarian tale, I said to myself, “What am I think writing a book based on a classic like Oz!” Doing another book? Well, I will tell you this: I have already written an outline. But to be honest, the two years it took me to write The Good Witch of the South knocked the breath out of me. I am not sure I have it in me to write another adventure in the Land of Oz. But one never knows.

I have to admit. Now that this Good Witch story is finished, I find myself genuinely missing my daily visits to the Oz.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

There is a darkness brewing in the west and alarming rumors of dragons and an evil enchantress building an army to overthrow the Great Head of Oz. A demon fairy witch the Land of Oz hasn’t seen since Dorothy Gale destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West. 
Soon to be sixteen-year-old Samantha Goodwitch, the daughter of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, knows she is disobeying her mother’s wishes when she leaves the castle to search for dragons, but she’d rather have an adventure than follow her mother’s command. When one of the Shadow Mountain Cats, Akasha, unexpectedly saves her life, the adventure turns deadly and a friendship grows between them.

But the rumors soon become real, and the freedom that had captured the hearts of the citizens of Oz is quickly unraveling. As the tensions mount and battles begin, Sam and Akasha find others who join them in the last Great War of Oz, to fight against the darkness that is devouring a once peaceful land.

*** A spectacular Ozarian adventure in the land of  Oz ***

The Good Witch of the South

Sam lived an idyllic life, one befitting a princess of Oz. The only severe blemish she suffered was the mysterious disappearance of her father years earlier. Since then, Sam, her sister Elle, and their mother Glinda had lived happily together, albeit always missing his presence. Their peaceful existence began to crumble when rumors of a new Wicked Witch started to swirl, and soon Sam was prone to terrifying visions of the future that showed utter destruction of everything she held dear. With the help of some old friends, Sam set out to discover her destiny and help good triumph over evil once again.

The Good Witch of the South by T.C. Bartlett follows Sam as she embarks on an epic adventure to save not only her family but every inhabitant in the land of Oz. Bartlett has created a beautiful world that includes enough elements from the original Oz stories to appeal to fans of the classic, but the story could just as easily stand alone in the fantasy genre. The story is familiar, with the coming-of-age heroine, the apparent underdog group of unlikely allies, and devastating death all represented, but it’s done in such a way that it is an irresistible read. Sam’s relationship with her sister and her mother are so well written they easily reflect everyday familial ties, and as she learns to grow into the person she needs to be, the relationships she forms with the others around her mature as well.

I think The Good Witch of the South is about family, and what defines such. The complex story of how her family came together provides the catalyst for a large part of the action, as well as driving much of Sam’s motivations. At the same time, Sam’s journey of self discovery provides an allegory for the transition to adulthood that she is experiencing at the same time. It is a very relatable thread that runs throughout the larger plot.

I found the timeline of The Good Witch of the South to be somewhat unclear in parts, which was a slight distraction, but ultimately it was not an insurmountable obstacle. The characters were wildly different and each provided a necessary piece of the puzzle which kept the narrative flowing and prevented it from getting stale, while the fight scenes offered excellent imagery. The Good Witch of the South is inspired by the classic Wizard of Oz but takes things in a much more mature, deep, and different direction that it stands on its own as a captivating fantasy adventure story.

Pages: 354 | ISBN: 1733908625

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