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Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Launch: Born to be a Dragon

Guys. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the reasons I love being part of the children’s writing community is the, er, community. (Please don’t laugh at my inability to come up with another word for community. It’s early and I haven’t hooked up my coffee IV yet. The community twins are staying.)

And there’s no time I more enjoy it then when I get to cheer on a friend. This week, the lovely Eisley Jacobs is launching her book BORN TO BE A DRAGON, a middle grade novel about a legend that keeps humans and dragons apart and the unlikely friendship between Meia, a young girl, and Deglan, a 10-year-old dragon.

Instead of just telling you about the book, I dragged Eisley all the way here to chat. (So you know, we live about 1,660 miles apart; that’s how much she wanted to be here to talk to you guys.) (You in back, shut up about the Internet.) So, let’s get started.

Tell us about yourself using four adjectives, one adverb, a plural noun and a proper noun. (Then proceed to throw a rotten tomato at my head.)
Haha … okay. Well here we go: Hyperactive, Imaginative, Extroverted, Busy! Animatedly! Kids! Eisley (which means strong)!

You write MG and YA novels. Aside from the obvious differences (MC’s age, etc.) what are the differences between writing MG and YA for you?
The big difference for me is the level of conflict needed to pull the reader forward. Middle grade is much easier to write because the conflict is very internal; doing the right thing; fitting into the crowd; social situations. Whereas young adult is mostly composed of external conflicts that are part of a bigger picture. It requires more planning and more twisting the plots together in the right manner so it is a little harder to weave, but no less rewarding.

Tell me what your book’s about in two separate tweets.
A dragon. A girl. A legend. Things are about to change.

What was the writing process like for this story?
The idea for this story came strolling through my head when I was writing the third book in a YA Series called THE RINGS OF TIME. I tried to ignore it, but the blue dragon would not relent! So, I gave in and began. The story came out chapter by chapter as I wrote and then read to my children gauging their reactions. It all came together so quickly that when I was done, I had to read it all over again just to make sure I’d really written everything down and in the right order. Then came the question of what to do with it next. I’d written four other novels that hadn’t seen the light of day yet, but BORN TO BE A DRAGON screamed that it needed to be out there first. And so it was.

Has anything in this process been harder than you imagined?
You know, the hardest part of this process is putting yourself out there for public criticism. I have to remind myself that there will be someone sometime that just plain hates it. It happens to every book, even the New York Times bestsellers. As long as I can continually remind myself that if I make one child smile and believe they are meant for so much more, then the journey has been worth it!

What are the top two pearls of wisdom you’ve learned from writing this story?
That you don’t have to be defined by what society says you are. And that you are meant to live for so much more then you can ever imagine! 

Once the book was finished and polished, what were your next steps for getting it published?
Professional editor came next. Then the painstaking process of revisions, once again. Then more revisions in between cover art creation and changes. Then more critiques. Then maybe some more revisions. Another editor pass. And then victory! The final file was uploaded and I could rest (ha!) well. 

In the book, everyone believes dragons find humans crunchy and delicious, especially when topped with ketchup. If you had to eat dragon, what would it taste like—and would you eat it with ketchup or pick another condiment?
Definitely a ketchup kinda girl ;)

Tell me about your villain. If Lord Edric had an evil laugh (as all villains do), what would it sound like?
Hmmm, good question, but unfortunately he doesn’t laugh. It’s more like a cackle or grunt. He doesn’t really find the situation very comical. However, if I had to choose someone I would have to say it sounds a bit like Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda.

Meia, a young girl, and Deglan, a 10-year-old dragon, become friends. What’s the benefit to having a dragon for a friend?
You never have to worry about being the meal of a dragon.

On to the lightening round!

Where do you live?
Denver, Colorado

Do you have another job or are you a full-time writer?
I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her three children and cares for one to three others … on top of writing.

Favorite MG book:
Hands down, CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis. I could read them over and over again.

Favorite YA book:

Best book you’ve read recently that you think everyone needs to go read NOW:
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

You can find out more about Eisley’s writing on her website. To buy BORN TO BE A DRAGON, you can visit Eisley’s site (for autographed copies), Amazon (paperback or Kindle version), and Barnes & Noble (Nook version).

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