Hello lovely readers!
I can’t believe how soon Book Eleven will be out in the world! Only a few more weeks . . . I hope you guys like it! I loved dreaming up the new continent and the new tribes and the whole history of what’s been going on over there for the last two thousand years.
When I first started trying to come up with new tribe ideas, one of the things I knew would be important was finding a concept where the dragons would look different and have new powers—and I’d have a lot of potential names to work with! I can’t remember the first thing that got me thinking about butterflies, but it might have been this game I got addicted to on my phone for a while. (I’m hesitant to tell you the name of it, because it was super addictive, and my whole family was like ARGH STOP STARING AT YOUR PHONE WAITING FOR IMAGINARY BUTTERFLY EGGS TO HATCH!) But the idea was that you could hatch lots of different types of butterflies in the game world on your phone, by collecting eggs and feeding caterpillars and so on. And I noticed then that a lot of them had really cool names…names that I thought might be awesome for dragons, like Swordtail and Metalmark and Silverspot.
And the more I thought about it, the more I started imagining what those dragons might look like. Dragons with butterfly wings (but don’t worry, they’re as strong as any dragon wings!) . . . for one thing, I knew Joy would make them incredibly beautiful! So what else could make them special? Well, the Metamorphosis where they get their wings—I’ve always thought it would be interesting to write about dragons who can’t fly, at least not yet. And then I watched a documentary called Life in the Undergrowth and started thinking about silkmoths, and the idea of silk-spinning dragons, and how useful and cool that could be. (So they’re not just named after butterflies—they’re named after moths as well, which is where I found some of my favorite names!)
I also knew I wanted them to be a really gentle tribe, because they have to go through some terrible things, and I’m interested in the question of whether we can start off gentle, but become strong and resilient and get through tough times, and then still come out kind and empathetic on the other side. I’m still wrestling with that question; I’m glad I have five books to help me think it over!
And speaking of questions, I’m just going to quickly answer a couple (and then get back to Book Twelve!) . . .
Marx: I'm still curious about whether or not all fire-breathing tribes can have firescales.
For right now, in my head, only the SkyWings have had dragons with firescales—but if I decide in the future that I need a firescaled MudWing, then everyone go LA LA LA and pretend I never said this!
Longclaw: How long does it usually take you to figure out and start a draft of a book?
Normally I only have six months between my deadlines to take a book from start to finish. But with Book Eleven I asked for more time because I knew I needed it for research and worldbuilding. So with this one I had a few extra months, which I was very grateful for! But remember that I’ve been practicing writing for years and years, so I’ve learned a lot about streamlining my process and focusing on getting the writing done. (Which mainly means learning to ignore all the worry voices in my head!) My first novel took me two years to figure out and write, and I have a few ideas which have been in my head for way longer than that, waiting to be ready.
Penguinemerald214: How does dragon aging compare to human aging?
There isn’t a direct correlation, like “three human years to every dragon year” or anything like that. Seven is considered adult only because that’s when they reach their full size and their growth rate slows down (although they keep growing a little bit every year, like lizards do). But one reason I like writing about dragons is that I don’t have to pin them to a particular age that we have human associations with—I didn’t want readers thinking “fourteen-year-olds are capable of this, seventeen-year-olds can do that, hey these dragons should be at home doing their algebra homework.” They’re big mythical creatures with superpowers—I want them to feel a little ageless so you can imagine them however you want, and they can run around saving the world their own way. (Also, I would say starting this new school hasn’t been easy for the dragonets . . . nor would it be for anyone, after the war . . . but I have faith in them, if they stick with it and don’t get discouraged and nothing terrible from another continent shows up to . . . I mean, NOTHING TO SEE HERE . . .)
Dragoncloudburst1168: Popsicles, do dragons have popsicles?
I am sure some clever IceWings have combined ice and fruit juice to make popsicles! If my little bears can make them, I imagine that intelligent tribe could figure it out!
All right, Book Twelve is calling me! More soon about the other two tribes (and hopefully more answers to your questions!) . . . and I hope I get to meet some of you at the Washington, DC launch party on June 26! I can’t wait!
Hugs and happy SilkWing dreams to all of you!
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