imageGay “Wicked” author Gregory Maguire appears at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse tonight.

He’s there to discuss and sign his new novel, “A Lion Among Men,” the third volume in the “Wicked Years” series.

Writer Gregory Maguire sees the soul in wicked people L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel “The Wonder Wizard of Oz,” and the classic 1939 movie based on it, have captured the world’s imagination. But Maguire always thought there was a better story hiding behind the simplistic battle between good and evil.

“‘The Wizard of Oz’ really seemed ripe to plunder for me for several reasons,” Maguire tells Southern Voice. “In the MGM version, Judy Garland and all the rest, it has become part of our cultural consciousness, but in the book form from 1900, there is an awful lot to explore.”

Maguire developed a vibrant fantasy world that incorporated politics, class, religion and marginalization from society to create “Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.” His book and the musical crafted from the story have grown into their own presence in worldwide culture.

“I feel like a bit of a tramp trying to horn in on someone else’s creation,” Maguire admits with a self-deprecating wit he often interjects when speaking of his own success.

Maguire crosses paths with “Wicked,” which is playing at the Fox Theatre, for the first time on a book tour this evening. So the clever folks at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution asked some of the actors in the stage production what they would ask Maguire and then relayed their questions and published the answers.

Q. What nonfictional character from history or modern culture would you like to re-imagine or reveal the secret history of? And can I be in the musical adaptation?

A. My nonfictional heroines include Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson and Laura Nyro, who are all dead, sadly. In a way, Elphaba is based on all three of them. Tell Carmen if she’s up for it she’s going to have to do a one-woman show and play all three parts. They can get down and dirty.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tweet with us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.