Today, I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk with Elizabeth Lim! She has written four amazing YA books: Reflection, So This is Love, Spin the Dawn, and it’s sequel, Unravel the Dusk.
Keep reading to hear more about Unravel the Dusk, Elizabeth’s other books, writing advice, and more!
“The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.”
Q: Hi Elizabeth! Thank you again for answering some of my questions. Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about Unravel the Dusk?
A: Sure! Unravel the Dusk is the second book in the Blood of Stars duology, and takes place immediately after the events of Spin the Dawn. I don’t want to give too much away, so all I’ll say is that the story takes a darker turn, as Maia is separated from those she loves and has to battle the demons within her.
Q: In what ways is writing a sequel harder than writing the first book in a series? In what ways is it easier?
A: Ah, writing a sequel is so difficult! With Spin the Dawn, the possibilities for Maia’s tale were endless. For Unravel the Dusk, I had so many loose threads to tie (pun intended) that it was tricky for me to weave a story that would do justice to the characters and world I had built. Knowing that I had readers’ expectations (as well as my own!) to live up to was also daunting, but in the end, I’m quite happy with how the sequel unravels ☺
What was easier about writing Unravel the Dusk was that the world was already built and the characters were already fleshed out. I basically had to imagine my characters in their given situations and the story unfolded on its own (for the most part, anyway).
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
A: I’d say to read as much as you can, but to listen as well – I’m a strong believer that a good ear can improve one’s writing immeasurably. Give yourself goals, not a timeline. Don’t let rejections get you down. Persistence is key – I probably got well over five hundred rejections from agents and editors before I sold a manuscript, and each one only reassured me more and more that writing books was what I wanted to do.
Q: One thing I especially love about this series is the world, are there any other books you would recommend with a Chinese-inspired fantasy world?
A: I’d recommend Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao!
Q: Unravel the Dusk will be your fourth book. Of your books, which world would you want to live in the most?
A: Haha, the other two books I’ve written are in the Disney universe, and while I’d LOVE to live in Mulan or Cinderella’s world, I’m going to have to go with my own from Spin the Dawn.
Q: This series has so many amazing characters, and I know it might be hard, but do you have any favorites?
A: Thank you! I have to say I have a soft spot for Maia. As a writer, I love her because she’s such a hardworking, talented character who just gets things done! A lot of her goals and ambitions were inspired by my own experiences, and it was very fulfilling and gratifying to write her character. But I also love Edan’s humor and sass—he’s so much fun to write, and I’d say he’s probably my favorite character to read.
Q: After reading Unravel the Dusk, we’re all going to be clamoring for more of your books. Are there any projects you’re working on that readers can look forward to?
A: I’m very excited to be writing more books in the Spin the Dawn universe! As I mentioned earlier, I have a duology coming out in 2021 called SIX CRIMSON CRANES. It features a high spirited protagonist who has to unweave a curse that’s turned her brothers into cranes, and I love it dearly. I can’t wait to share it with readers!
This is actually my second time interviewing Elizabeth Lim. Check out our interview from last year, where we talked about Spin the Dawn!
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 an A.B. in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies. She completed her graduate degrees (MM, DMA) at The Juilliard School.
Now, it’s your turn to answer a question!
What book-world would you want to live in?