I cannot even handle how much I love you guys – these forums are seriously a vortex of DISTRACTING WONDERFULNESS. I keep having to tear myself away or else Book Eight will never get written!
But I thought it would be fun to chat with you a little bit about Moon Rising. Have you all read it by now? If not, look away, because spoilers ahead! (Just for Book Six . . . well, OK, maybe I’ll give you a tiny spoiler for Book Seven at the end!)
I’ll start by giving you a big behind-the-scenes secret: When I first started writing Wings of Fire, I actually thought that the NightWings would really have no powers at all. I know! Not in the past, not in the future—no powers for you, sinister tribe! I was really interested in the idea of dragons who have manufactured their own story...whose entire mystique is just a big marketing plan created so that other tribes will see them as mysterious and powerful.
On the one hand, I thought that would be sort of unusual in a fantasy world, and therefore fun to write about. But mostly it was a character decision, and the entire point . . . was to torture poor Starflight.
Poor Starflight! I know. Always wondering why he doesn’t have any powers yet. What is he doing wrong? Will his tribe want him back when they realize he’s not what they want him to be? And of course, worrying about how he can possibly save the world when he thinks he’s so powerless/unheroic/afraid and the opposite of what a NightWing should be. (Maybe if I read some MORE SCROLLS I’ll be able to figure it out...) (Now there’s a dragon who needs a hug!)
In a way, the whole series is about expectations. Like, what would you do if the world was looking at you, waiting for you to save it? How do you live up to what your family thinks you should be? (Ahem, WINTER.) What happens if you’ve been taken away from your tribe—do you still turn out the way they expect, or could you be completely different from them? What are we born with? And how much can we make ourselves into the heroes we want to be? (That last one is going to be a big question for Book Eight, too!)
In Starflight’s case, the NightWings are so sure they’re awesome that they assume he’ll be just like them, no matter how he is raised. They believe their own propaganda. Morrowseer thinks NightWing dragonets just hatch with perfect self-assurance, confidence, leadership skills, etc.—but he also doesn’t trust them to keep secrets. So nobody bothers to teach Starflight any of the stuff he needs to know to be a “true NightWing.”
Which is why he turns out so differently—and manages to change the world, by being such a different kind of NightWing.
(Speaking of NightWings, I hope you’re all excited for PRISONERS! If you ever wanted to see a little more of what life was like in the NightWing tribe, and especially if you’re curious about Fierceteeth and Strongwings, then this is the story for you!)
So the NightWing powers being fake was important to Starflight’s character development—and, of course, I wanted the prophecy to be false as well. Because what happens when you think there’s a map for your life, and it turns out somebody just made it up? Especially when you liked that map? (Poor Sunny!)
I personally believe that we can change our fate; I’m ALL about free will! I don’t like to write stories where someone is stuck on a path and can never get off. I want my characters to grab destiny and shape it themselves. That was a really essential part of the first five books, for me.
But the more I wrote about this world, the more I wanted the NightWing powers to be real. And honestly, reading your reactions made me feel that way, too! I read so many great comments and fan letters that were excited about NightWing powers that I ended up imagining all kinds of stories where the powers were real...and then I started figuring out how they could be real...and why they weren’t anymore...and how to get them back...hmmmmm...
So by the time I started writing Book Four, the whole NightWing backstory you see in Book Six was forming in my head. I knew the tribe was hiding on this island for a reason (although I didn’t know his name until Book Five). I also knew the volcano had messed with their powers and was starting to slowly kill them off.
And most of all, I knew I wanted to write about a NightWing who DID have those powers. So when we started talking about books 6-10, that was my first thought. Books 1-5 are about a fake prophecy that everyone believes in. What if books 6-10 were about a true prophecy that nobody believes?
One of the hardest parts about planning books 6-10 was deciding what order these new characters would go in. I actually kind of wanted Book Six to be an IceWing, because we haven’t seen much of them, and I wanted a dragon from a new tribe as the hero.
But when I tried to plan it, I realized the very first thing you need to know for this new set of books is that Moon’s prophecy is real. And I wasn’t sure that Winter would believe her. And then I realized we needed to meet Darkstalker, and there wasn’t a good way to do that through Winter. So in the end, that’s why Moon got Book Six, and our shiny IceWing Winter got Book Seven. Oooo, I hope you like Winter Turning! I’m pretty excited about it!
One of the other things I’ve known about this world for a long time is that the NightWings and IceWings have hated each other for thousands of years . . . but I didn’t know exactly why at first. I definitely know why now, though—and you will, too, once you read Book Seven! It’s very tragic and tortured. Yay! ;-)
Anyway, I could talk FOREVER about all the thinking-thoughts that went into Book Six, but I’ll stop myself here! What do you guys want to know? Any thoughts or questions about Moon Rising? You can try asking about Winter Turning, too, but I am going to try to restrain myself from giving you too many spoilers (because I am terrible and would like to tell you the entire plot right now!).
Thank you all again for being the best, smartest, most fascinating readers in the world!
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