The Lost Girls series is an example of a broad genre known as "Old Wine in New Bottles." I simply took parts and pieces of well-loved childrens' fantasies and set them in one of the most fascinating historic periods in history -- the years between 1850 and 1940.
I decided to remove Alice Liddell, Dorothy Gale and Wendy Darling from their fantasy worlds and toss them into the real world of their time.
This is a story for Baum, Carroll and Barrie nerds. I do not necessarily follow their stories except in the broadest sense (with a fair amount of satire thrown in). But it does include references and hommages to often obscure elements of the original works.
On the other hand, I've taken a bit of liberty with actual historical events and chronology (hard-core history buffs will spot them right away).All I can say is, "It's Hollywood, not History."
I believe that the characters of Alice Liddell, Dorothy Gale and Wendy Darling actually exist. We, as humans, have given them life in our collective consciousness through reading, acting and even creating their stories.
That said, they show themselves to us in different ways. For example, for many, Dorothy Gale will always look and be like the young teen character Judy Garland played in the 1939 film.
For others, she will be the short, flaxen-haired child of eight or nine as depicted by W.W. Denslow.
All I can say is, this is how she showed herself to me. She looks a little like Judy, except seven years younger at the outset of the tale. At the beginning, she's a frightened child, but she's also the offspring of tough, resilient people who had been through a hell of a lot.
Her Kansas is a lot grittier, but more colorful than either Baum or MGM imagined. After doing the research, I gained a whole new respect for the state of Kansas, its people and history.
The Kansas of Adventures of the Lost Girls is based on historical events that occurred in Kansas during the 19th Century, but is not 100 percent true to recorded history. (The movie "Hickok" will give you some idea of what it was like.)
Not surprisingly, the Dorothy who showed herself to me is a hard-assed cowgirl, albeit one with a tender and loving heart. She's had to be this way. And her grandparents and parents had been among the first white settlers of the Kansas Territory, when it was a violent and dangerous place.
So that "true grit" has been passed on and remains within her.
Now, the story becomes: how does a pragmatic, unimaginative but otherwise bright farm girl raised in a hardscrabble environment deal with an experience such as Oz?
I'm always happy to hear from readers. Please submit your comments and questions below!