INTERVIEW: David Farland, Author of “Dead Blue”

David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author with nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels to his credit. He has won the Writers of the Future International Gold Award for best short story of the year, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for Best Novel in the English Language, the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year, and others. He has worked with some of the largest franchises in the world—writing novels for Star Wars and The Mummy. Dave worked for many years as the judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests, as an educator teaching creative writing at Brigham Young University, and thus has trained dozens of other New York Times bestsellers, including Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, and Stephenie Meyer. Dave currently lives in Saint George, Utah, with his wife, children, two cats and a Cocker Spaniel.

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

When Tin Man awakens after a “storm” of Flying Monkeys, he finds that his whole world has changed.

What was the genesis of the story-what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

When I was a kid of seven or eight, I first saw the Wizard of Oz on television, and I felt surprised at the directions that the story took.  It seemed to me that the ending could have been so much cooler.  After seeing the movie again over the years, and reading the book, it always seemed to me that it should have had a different ending.  So I wrote it.  Oh, and I changed everything else while I was at it.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

As a child, I always identified with the Tin Man.  It seemed to me that he could have been a cool superhero–one who was just, who didn’t let his compassion cloud his judgment.  Sort of like a gunslinger with an ax.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I went through and read the original story, along with various critiques about it.

What is the appeal of Oz? Why do you think readers/viewers love it so much?

It combined wonder, humor, horror, and adventure in a perfect mix for young boys.

What are some of your favorite Oz memories (whether from the books or the various movies, or other “reimaginings”), and what makes them your favorites?

My favorite Oz memories actually came from watching it as a child.  The Flying Monkeys really creeped me out, giving me nightmares for weeks.  It didn’t help that the Wicked Witch looked like our sixth grade teacher at my school, a woman with the promising name of Mrs. Gully.

What do you think about the new Oz movie coming out in March, Oz: The Great and Powerful? Excited? Dubious? Some combination of both?

I’m afraid that the original film will always be “the movie” for me.  I’ll definitely go see it, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.  I’d love to be blown away by it.