Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Author Interview: Julia Suzuki

Hi everyone!  

I have a special treat for you guys today, and would like to welcome you all to this blog's first ever author interview!  I'd like to introduce you to Julia Suzuki, author of The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms- the first book in the children's The Land of Dragor series.

Tell the readers a little about yourself. 

I was born in Tamworth in Staffforshire. My hobbies and interests have always been dance, fashion, movies and reading. I worked for a division of Disney licensing, and with a famous leisure entrepreneur before becoming an author. I learned a lot in those formative years which I feel has benefited my work and business vision. I have learned from both successes and mistakes and especially from relationships. Writing is my greatest passion - I lose all sense of time and have no cares when I am in 'Dragor.' I consider myself a 'story teller' more than a 'writer' - I feel as though my imagination knows no bounds and I enjoy sharing my adventures.

What or who inspired you to write, or did you want to become a writer since you were young? 

I believe writing is therapeutic, a way to make sense of what is going on in the world. Many things inspired me, a complex web of experiences, fate, and my love of books. It may sound cliche but I really do love to help others, I have a great longing to help wherever I can and do as much good in the world.

When did you first start writing, and is The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms the only book you have written? 

I have always written, often just personal diaries which I found pleasurable - but it was five years ago that I felt the urge to write a book and yes this is my first.

How did you come up with the idea/story line for this book?  Is there any personal story behind it (did you used to like dragon stories when you were a kid)? 

Yoshiko (the lead character) came to me in a sort of vision one day. I felt strongly inspired, at that exact moment, to write the first novel - the plot and idea formed relatively quickly. I have always liked dragons because they are so majestic and powerful. I often feel I have 'fire in my belly' but in my own way - being  a determined person.

In this book, Igorr bullies Yoshiko a lot, but Yoshiko doesn't really ever fights back, or argue, or even resorts to violence, which is a good thing, but was there any specific reason behind making him act this way?  

Igorr is the classic bully. He is selfish, self-serving, manipulative and uncaring. Yoshiko is the opposite. You have a scenario playing out in 'Dragor' that is repeated in children's play grounds throughout the world - and even in the workplace. 

I believe once anyone becomes angry at a bully they are losing their own 'now' moments and giving their power away to them; showing what they do is having affect. Yoshiko took the 'higher' stance. It was not that he did not feel angry, far from it, he felt injustice hugely and it boiled and boiled inside him, he constantly asked himself 'why' and it often bought him to floods of tears. The hurt Igorr bought was really absolutely huge. However, Yoshiko used the hurt inflicted to drive him and that was the great positive outcome.  I believe anyone who is victimized by others can win through by putting their energy into being a better person themselves rather than lowering themselves to the level of the bully. Igorr-types must be suffering really badly to have all those issues, always looking to the worst in people, being impatient, easily angered, saying cruel, personal and mean things to Yoshiko-types and gossiping about them. The injustice is even greater as Yoshiko did not ever do a thing wrong to him and yet Igorr dismissed that. Yoshiko sought to understand Igorr, even help him - but in the end it was draining that he realized he must focus on himself. Who knows what the future will bring though - I don't think Yoshiko will stay so patient in the future if Igorr continues to do things to hurt him so selfishly!

Okay, time for some random questions:

Do you plan out the story before writing or do you just write and go with the flow?

I plan, and plan and plan and then start to write.

What are some of your favorite books, and/or other authors?

I love CS Lewis - he is without doubt my favorite author.

Where is you favorite place to read and write? 

My bedroom or in the garden. I like to work in Starbucks also.

If you were given the choice to have a superpower- strength, ability to fly, breath fire, what would you choose?

I would love to fly as Tinkerbell does.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

If you have a really strong idea, go for it.

Thank you so much Ms. Suzuki for taking the time to answer these questions! : )

The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms paperback version is available for pre-order at Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

This epic novel, first in this fantasy series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where seven dragon clans live hidden from man having beaten off the evil dragsaur beasts.

Their great wars with the humans are over and the dragons live peacefully among the smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. But the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans have left a lasting scar, and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world.

There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest. The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?

Chameleon-like Yoshiko is bullied and tormented as he grows up, taunted at fire school as he struggles to produce a jet of flame. Desperate to hide his colour changes, he flees from school one day and finds himself on the fabled mountain of Cattlewick Cave, home to the mysterious and reclusive elder Guya. This chance meeting changes Yoshiko’s life, and as he develops from hatchling to youngling, he is inspired to spread his wings and venture outside Dragor. He returns with something, but will it be a blessing to Dragor or a curse.

This may be a children's book, but it can be read by any ages, so don't be afraid to give it a try! I'll be posting my review for this book sometime in June/July, but I have already read this book and it is really unique.  Plus it also features dragons, so that's an extra plus! ; )

For more information on Julia Suzuki or The Land of Dragor series, you can go to the following websites: 

Hope you all liked the interview and the book!

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