Hello! Today I am so happy to share my interview with Elizabeth Lim, author of Spin the Dawn. Spin the Dawn comes out this Tuesday, July 9th, so pre-order your copy now!
Read on to find out more about this amazing new release!!!
Q: Hi Elizabeth! I just want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Could you tell us a little about your new book, Spin The Dawn?
A: Sure thing!
Pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway, Spin the Dawn is about a young seamstress, Maia Tamarin, who disguises herself as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor. Her task to sew the legendary dresses of the sun, moon, and stars lead her on an adventure of danger and romance along a reimagined Silk Road.
Q: On your website, you mentioned that you used to write fanfiction when you were younger. Is there anything you learned when writing fanfiction that you found useful when writing Reflection and Spin The Dawn?
A: Yes! I wrote a lot of Sailor Moon fanfiction when I was younger, and it was probably the best practice I could have given myself as an aspiring writer. It was like being been given cheat sheets on worldbuilding and character analysis, with an established universe to draw upon, and characters that I knew intimately and adored. Most importantly, through writing fanfiction, I learned how to develop character and how to write with voice.
Q: What would you say is the most challenging part of being an author? Also, what do you think is the most rewarding part?
A: For me, the biggest challenge is the self-doubt. Writing can be such a solitary craft that I’m always very anxious once I actually have to start sending it to people (like my editor!) to read. I’m learning to grow a thicker skin though! The most rewarding part is getting my story out to my readers, and hearing that they connected with my characters. And seeing fan art! That always brings a big smile to my face.
Q: Spin the Dawn is an #OwnVoices novel. What are some of your favorite #OwnVoices reads?
A: The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf, which is a girl who’s separated from her mother during the 1969 race riots in Malaysia made me cry and laugh at the same time, it was powerful and beautifully written.
I also loved American Panda by Gloria Chao – Mei is a Taiwanese-American girl entering MIT a year early, and grapples with the Asian-American struggle with identity – it was so funny and heartwarming, I think I’m due for a reread soon!
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Spin the Dawn?
A: I started out by writing what I wanted to read as a kid. There wasn’t much Chinese-inspired fantasy on shelves when I was growing up, and that was something I’d dearly wanted, so I began there. I’ve also always loved fairytales, and much of Spin the Dawn drew from the fairytales my father used to tell me as a child, such as Perrault’s Donkeyskin, the Norweigian fairytale, East of the Sun, and the Chinese legend, The Cowherd and the Weaver.
Q: There are a lot of gorgeous clothes mentioned in Spin the Dawn. If you could pick one item of clothing from the book to add to your closet, which one would you pick?
A: Ooo the dresses of the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars would be easy picks, but I’d actually love the water dress Maia sews, inspired by her home in Port Kamalan (no spoilers so I wont say when she makes it!).
Q: Spin the Dawn is book one in a series. I know it’s extremely early, but is there anything you can say about the sequel?
A: Expect more Lady Sarnai ☺
Q: What are you most excited for people to see in Spin the Dawn?
A: I’m excited for so many things! For people to see Maia’s ambition and grit to become the best tailor she can be, in spite of the obstacles her society presents, for people to read a Chinese-inspired fantasy, and for people to catch glimpses of my favorite fairytales, all spun as part of Maia’s tale.
About Elizabeth Lim
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She grew up in Northern California, with a brief stint in Tokyo, Japan, but now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with a degree in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and completed her graduate degrees at The Juilliard School.
More About Spin The Dawn
Page Count: 416
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Synopsis: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Alright, your turn to answer a question. If you could own one outfit/piece of clothing from a book, what would you choose?
I think I would have to go with the blood of the stars dress from Spin the Dawn. I won’t say why though, because spoilers.