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Gregory Maguire says his latest book 'is like comfort food'

NEW YORK (AP) — Gregory Maguire attributes the first grain of the idea for his new book “A Wild Winter Swan” to “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.
He met her 25 years ago as he was getting ready to publish the hugely popular “Wicked,” written from the perspective of the witches in Oz.
“We talked about fairy tales that we loved and mythology that we were attracted to, and when the subject of Hans Christian Andersen came up she said, ‘Well, there’s that boy with one wing,'” (from “The Wild Swans.”) ‘Give him something to do.'” Maguire says he hung onto that nugget for 24 years until last year when he was transferring decades of handwritten journals to the computer.
“I transcribed the conversation I had written down with her after I left her parlor in London and I thought, ‘I’ve always loved that kid.’ When I was a boy, I used to think, ‘If he was around here, we would be best friends.'”
In “A Wild Winter Swan,” that boy with a swan wing for a left arm is prominent in a teen’s coming-of-age story set in New York City in 1962.
Maguire says he believes the book is “a perfect pandemic read” and “comfort food like mashed potatoes.” He spoke with The Associated Press about his life-long love of fairy tales, the celebrities he cast in his mind as characters in “Wicked” and how his kids ended up online despite his best efforts. Answers are edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: Did you always love fairy tales?
Maguire: Those were the books where magic happened. My favorite books were the “Narnia” chronicles, the “Grimms’ Fairy Tales,” the Andersen tales. In eighth grade I began to realize there’s something dubious about someone in middle school reading fairy tales so I began taking out books for camouflage like ‘Bronco Joe’ and……

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