Monday, June 26, 2017

Guest Blog: Carrie Pack

The first book I read that really meant something to me was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I vividly remember realizing that there was more to the land of Oz than the 1939 Judy Garland film. And when I learned there were more stories about Oz, I devoured book after book in the series.


In particular, I was hooked on The Scarecrow of Oz. I think I checked it out of my school library so many times, the entire card was filled with my name and a series of dates. The school librarian encouraged me to try the other Oz books, and I’m so glad she did. There were adventures about the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, and even characters whom we never met in the 1939 film like Tik Tok, Ozma and the Sawhorse. I loved the idea that a story could continue and evolve after the main quest was over.


Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed Wicked so much when it first came out. I read Gregory Maguire’s now famous book when I was in high school, before anyone knew what it would become. Before anyone could pronounce Elphaba. To me it was just another side to the Oz books I’d loved so much as a young reader. Imagine my surprise when the rest of the world loved it as much as I did.


It’s probably what sparked my love of fanfiction. I wanted more of these worlds and kept searching and searching. As the internet took off, so did my access to fanfiction. I read fanfiction after fanfiction for my favorite TV shows and started to see a deeply complex world where fans could continue writing about the worlds and characters they loved. Eventually I began writing it. And writing and writing. But I never did anything with it.


Then, a few years ago, fanfiction started to get some serious media attention, and while writing my first of many blog rants about fanfiction as a valid form of writing, I realized Wicked was essentially published Oz fanfiction. My mind was blown and my view changed forever. I mean, I always knew fan reimaginings could be complex, but to uncover published examples? Well, now I had proof that what I was doing was worthwhile. I began to write more fanfiction and eventually I crafted my own characters and settings. It wasn’t an overnight journey, but eventually it gave me the motivation I needed to become a published author.


And I owe it all to Oz.


I’d love to hear from your readers. What are some of your favorite book memories? Was there one book that will never leave you?


Author Bio

Never one for following the “rules,” Carrie Pack is a published author of books in multiple genres, including Designs on You, In the Present Tense (a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year finalist) and the forthcoming Grrrls on the Side (2017). Her novels focus on characters finding themselves in their own time—something she experienced for herself when she came out as bisexual recently. She’s passionate about positive representation in her writing and has been a feminist before she knew what the word meant, thanks to a progressive and civic-minded grandmother. Coincidentally that’s also where she got her love of red lipstick and desserts. Carrie lives in Florida, or as she likes to call it, “America’s Wang.”


About Grrrls on the Side

The year is 1994 and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape—an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meet-up.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what’s right.
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