Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oz Writing

It's been said that if you scratch an Oz collector, you find an Oz author trying to get out - I think there's a lot of truth to that. About fifteen years ago, my partner and I wrote and illustrated two Oz books which were published by Books of Wonder. Our first attempt in this line was providing illustrations for Queen Ann in Oz, by Karyl Carlson and Eric Gjovaag. We learned quite a bit from this project, and when we were asked if we would like to come up with a story ourselves, decided to give it a try.

Masquerade in Oz was set at Halloween, and grew from an idea to do a story taking place within Ozma's palace in the Emerald City. We came up with the general outline and would discuss ideas while walking our dogs in the evening and then take turns writing, re-writing and adding to what each other wrote. I'll admit that we weren't overly concerned with Oz chronology or canon - it was a lot of fun, and we were enthusiastic. For the illustrations, we both made sketches after which I would do full sized pencil drawings. Once these were ready, Irwin would ink them. The collaboration worked well - but we are used to working with one another during the day in our stained glass studio.

The Lavender Bear of Oz was a shorter book aimed at a younger reader. Bringing L. Frank Baum's Valley of Babies from Dot & Tot of Merryland and Bear Center from Lost Princess of Oz together seemed like a natural combination. Once again we had fun in the process. We originally intended the title of this book to be “Babes in Oz” and did the illustration pictured, but that title was rejected. After digging around, I also found a couple other cover design experiments - both in a different style than the published version.

All in all, it was a fun experience and we were fortunate enough to actually be published. We did write a third story, and who knows - it might get dusted off someday.


Jay said...

I have "Queen Ann in Oz." You guys did very well on the illustrations.

Nathan said...

I have MASQUERADE and LAVENDER BEAR, and enjoyed both. The bit in the former with the bookworms eating the books in the palace library was kind of bizarre, though.

Bill Campbell said...

Thanks - the bookworm sequence did get slightly changed from the manuscript. In the original text, the bookworms are simply eating their way through the library. It was thought that that might irritate librarians(!), so it was changed to the books being restored at midnight each night.

Nathan said...

Heh, I think it's amusing to imagine a librarian refusing to accept the book because of the bookworms. It would be upsetting if a bookworm were to eat some important information, though, wouldn't it?