Although it is written for the Young Adult audience, The Firebirds had its genesis in the minds of brainstorming third graders. I was working at a school large enough to have 6 third grades and I was painting a backdrop for a play. There happened to be three sets of identical twins at our school, all around the same age, and the students suggested that it would be fun to write a play for them where one student went into a box, a button was pressed, and out came twins. By the third time it happened, you would start to believe in that box. We decided the copies should be different from the original children in some interesting way. The first suggestion was to make them evil, but making them much smarter won out. The principal had to be behind it all. She could be the witch, they said. The good witch, I suggested, or at least redeem her at the end. Some parts of our play were written, but it was never produced. Over the years I have re-worked it into a three-part novel, sans class, but with their inspired framework in place. The Gilded Cage is book one.