Friday, August 9, 2019

Golden Braids Blog Tour DAY 5: The Dragon's Flower!

Hello, everyone! It's the final day of the Golden Braids blog tour, and we're finishing out the week with an Asian-inspired fantasy: The Dragon's Flower by Wyn Estelle Owens. I absolutely love this book; it's got an epic scope yet a personal feel, fabulous families, adorable romances, a Fox that isn't a fox, and a writing style remniscent of some of my favorite authors. You can read more of my excitement over on Light and Shadows, but while you're here, I have an interview with Wyn Estelle Owens, so maybe stick around for that first.

About . . .

The Dragon’s Flower!

In the wilds of the mountainous country of Akiyama, there stands a pagoda. When Shichiro, an exiled, honorless samurai stumbles across it one rainy morning, he expects to find it empty and abandoned. He was not expecting to find a lonely princess with near-mythical blue eyes dwelling in the top floors.

Hanako has dwelt alone for all her life, with only her two silent handmaidens and the countless dragon effigies on her walls to keep her company; her only knowledge of the outside world gained from the books and scrolls she reads. When the wandering ronin stumbles onto her haven, she gains her first friend, never knowing how deeply this chance meeting would affect her.

The threads of fate have tied these two together, and all the while turmoil boils in the midst of the Seven Countries of Azuma-no-Kuni. Rumors of alliances and armies sprout up, and whispers of the long-lost Imperial Line returning at last. Old prophecies ripen at last, and old myths prepare to show themselves once again in the hour of need. Amongst it all stand two new allies—an isolated princess and a near-friendless ronin, as the wheels of fate and destiny circle them and draw ever closer. Will peace at last return to the fractured realms, or will remnants of the once great Empire splinter beyond all redemption?

Find it On: Amazon || Goodreads

Wyn Estelle Owens!

Wyn Estelle Owens is the penname of a young woman who’s still figuring out what this whole ‘adult’ thing is all about. She lives in a big, old house in Maryland by a Hundred Acre Wood (dubbed Neldoreth) with her parents, three occasionally obnoxious brothers, her dog Jackie, and her rabbit Joker. She is fond of reading, writing, drawing, speaking in dead or imaginary languages, playing videogames, quoting classic or obscure literature, being randomly dramatic, and generally making things out of yarn. Her dream is to write stories that inspire people to chase after the wonderful world of storytelling. Her favorite all-time authors are Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Christa Kinde, and above all, J.R.R. Tolkien, who first inspired her to pursuing novel writing when she read the Hobbit at the age of seven.

Find her on Facebook.

Interview with Wyn Estelle Owens

Welcome to the blog, Wyn! First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, like your hobbies, how you got into writing, your favorite books (besides your own), or just anything else you’d like to share?
Hello, thanks for having me! Hmm… my hobbies. I have a lot of hobbies—things like drawing, reading, storytelling to my cousins, and any sort of crafting are my favorites. My favorite books are The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl and absolutely anything by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve always wanted to tell stories, but what truly inspired me was when my mother read the Hobbit to us when I was six, and then reading it for myself the next year. My early efforts were, uh… interesting, but I completed my first novel (over 200 pages, written by hand), before I turned thirteen. Someday I plan to revise that story and publish it, but who knows when that will be?

That should be interesting. So, The Dragon's Flower is an Asian retelling of Rapunzel. What gave you the inspiration for this story and especially for the setting?
The inspiration happened back in the summer of 2016, during the gap year between Five Magic Spindles and Five Poisoned Apples. I had guessed the most likely retelling for the last contest would be Snow White, but I decided to come up with a Rapunzel retelling as a back-up, just in case. I think I had been musing about different settings and tower substitutes and the like, so I had been thinking about pagodas and a possible Far Eastern retelling. Then, I ran across a picture on pinterest. It depicted a Japanese samurai on a horse, staring up at something with a look of faint wonder on his face, and I thought “I wonder if he’s looking up at a princess, like the prince in Rapunzel?” And since I already had pagodas in my mind, the picture cemented my musings, and the beginnings of The Dragon’s Flower was born—a wandering samurai and a princess dwelling at the top of a mysterious pagoda. Sadly, the horse in the picture did not make it into the actual story.

Ah well. Having read The Dragon's Flower already, I can tell that you put a lot of research into the world. How did you go about doing your research, and how did it fit in with your writing process?
Almost all of the research was done on the internet, a lot of it during the writing process. This type of research, of course, led to much hairpulling, railing at uninformative websites, and desperate searches for cross-references in order to make sure any tidbit of information was accurate. Still, it was a lot less stressful than the research for my last book, and since the world of Azuma-no-Kuni is only Japan-inspired and not Japan itself, I did have some room for improvisation.

I definitely agree that writing an "inspired-by" world is nice in that regard! What's your favorite piece of writing advice you've ever received (whether "favorite" means most interesting, most useful, most unusual, or some other definition)?
It’s been so long that I can’t remember the exact phrasing or even who said it, but this is how I remember it.

“You can’t rely on the muses, or blame them when you haven’t written anything. Muse and inspiration is fickle, if you only write when they’re in your favor you’ll never get anything done. You have to sit down and write, even if your inspiration is dry. It may be trash, or at best unrefined, but that’s what first drafts are for. The rest can be polished later, but you can’t edit words that don’t exist.”

That is advice that I pretty much live by. Great quote. Fun question: if you could pull one of your characters into our world for a day, who would you pick, and what would you two do together?

Ooohhh, one of my characters? Isao, definitely. He’s my favorite (sorry, Shichiro!), and I’d love to spend a day with him! What would we do? Well, we’d probably take a drive up north to my hometown and spend the time hanging out in all my favorite spots, laughing and joking, and eating ice cream while plotting pranks on my brothers for when we get back to my house. Then we’d probably watch something fun and actiony—A-Team, maybe?—and eat ramen until he has to return.

Isao would be super fun to hang out with! Finally, any hints on what we can expect from you next? Will you be writing any more stories set in the world of The Dragon's Flower?
Well, I do have a collection of short stories I plan to release sometime this Autumn—maybe as soon as late September. We’ll have to see on that, however. As to more stories in Azuna-no-Kuni? Ahaha, well…. DF was supposed to be a standalone. Then, all these characters showed up with either extremely interesting backstories or exciting future potential, and then I started fleshing out the history and all these intriguing near-mythological, legendary heroes started showing up, each with stories of their own, and… yeah. There’s gonna be more stories in the world of The Dragon’s Flower. When, (or how many), I’m not sure… but they are coming.

You have no idea how happy that makes me. Thanks for both answering my questions and for giving me something to look forward to!

And many thanks to all of you for stopping by! So, tell me, are you excited to read The Dragon's Flower? What are you most looking forward to? Please tell me in the comments, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour posts and enter the giveaway!
Have a lovely day!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Blog Tour Stops: August 9

Knitted By God's Plan - Five Reasons to Read
Light and Shadows - Five Reasons to Read


Unicorn Quester
The Language of Writing


Safe Return Doubtful - Shichiro
Dreams and Dragons - Wyn

Guest Posts

Reality Reflected - Rapunzel and Ancient Japan

Or find the full list of stops here.

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