Gabrielle K. Byrne: Rise of the Dragon Moon
Hello, August! Are you (or your kids) going back to school? Well, here are a bunch of books to cheer you up!
Rise of the Dragon Moon
by Gabrielle K. Byrne
The ice never forgives.
The ice never forgets.
Princess Toli may be heir to the throne, but she longs to be a fierce hunter and warrior. Alone in a frozen world, her queendom is at the mercy of the dragons that killed her father, and Toli is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family.
When the dragons rise and seize her mother, Toli will do anything to save her— even trust a young dragon who may be the only key to the Queen's release.
With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes the treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail, and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger might be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.
August 6th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi Sofiya!! Thanks so much for having me, and for everything you’re doing for the 19s! I’m Gabrielle Byrne, and my debut middle grade is a high fantasy called RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON. It’s about Toli Strongarm--the heir to an icy queendom, and her journey across the ice barrens to rescue her mother from the dragons that killed her Dad.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I think the most surprising thing has been just how much fun it is. Authors work so hard, and often for a really long time, to get their stories to a place where people can actually read them. It’s amazing to me that people are so excited about the book, and to hear more about Toli’s adventures.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
There are SO MANY great books coming out this year! I adore Heather Kassner’s THE BONE GARDEN, and anyone who hasn’t already discovered Gita Trelease’s ENCHANTEE, needs to grab that one up. I loved Julia Nobel’s middle grade mystery--THE SECRET OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE, and Karen Strong’s JUST SOUTH OF HOME. Josh Levy’s sci-fi SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY was tons of fun too. I hope people use your blog to browse all the 19s! There really are some great books coming out this year.
Who is your favorite character?
This changes all the time, depending on how I’m feeling. Right now, I’m feeling a lot of love for Spar. She’s Toli mentor and is just super tough. Underneath though, she has a softer side. She wants what’s best for Toli, but lets her fears and dislikes guide her decision making, which puts her in a really difficult situation. I have a lot of sympathy for her.
What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?
I love the ice beetles--these giant predatory beetles that live under the ice. I’m a little bit scared of actual bugs, which is probably why I find them so compelling. I almost always have some kind of insect in my stories that are beautiful, and creepy, and sometimes deadly. I love coming up with new takes on creatures that evolve in my fantasy worlds along with their environment.
Describe your main character in 3 words.
Anatolia is tough, stubborn, and sensitive.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
READ!! It may not feel like work, because you love books, but reading is one of the best exercises for any writer. Read a lot, and read widely. Re-read, and look at the moments that really work for you in your favorite books to see how the author did it. Then you have to sit down and write, of course. No amount of preparation or thought can replace the actual butt-in-chair time needed to put a story on the page. I guess the other thing I would say is to practice patience. Most authors don’t get their first books published. And most of them look back and say things like, “Thank goodness that one didn’t make it. This one is so much better!” Being an author is a marathon, not a sprint.
Describe your writing space.
I don’t really have a “writing space.” I write in bed, or in the kitchen, or in a chair in the living room by the fire. Sometimes I stand. Sometimes I sit. Maybe one day, I’ll have an actual writing room of some kind, but for now, it’s catch as catch can.
How do you select character names?
I have a name collection. It’s weird, but true. I’ve collected names since I was a kid--ever since I first read THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA and realized how much power there is in a name. Most of the time, names are one of the first things to come to me for characters, so I don’t always use my lists, but it’s a great fall back.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m really lucky. I’ve been working to be an author a long time, so I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know some amazing people, including a lot of the 2019s, and many of the Pitch Wars mentors and mentor alumni. It’s so much fun to love your friend, AND their books. I mentioned that reading is a great way to become a better writer. Well, critiquing with friends (you give them edits on their books, and they give you edits on yours), is even better in some ways. You get to see how they make their books magic, and see some of the things you do through new eyes. It’s a really important way to improve your writing craft.
Share a favorite recipe!
Siracha popcorn!!! Make popcorn. Add a little unsalted butter (melt it first, or yuck), add a spiral of siracha chili sauce, and stir it in gently with a butter knife. VOILA! Spicy snack-time.
Share a music playlist!
I have super eclectic taste in music, especially for writing, because I find music with lyrics in english great for outlining, but really distracting when I’m drafting or editing. Some of the mood-specific stuff I love that a lot of people probably haven’t heard of, include a Scandinavian group called Gjallarhorn (especially the albums Sjofn, and Grimborg), a cellist with an amazing voice, by the name of Takenobu (Introduction), and an album by Material in which William Burroughs reads from his novel THE WESTERN LANDS--about the Egyptian book of the dead (Seven Souls). You might also check out a seriously weird wizardy guy from the 60s/70s by the name of Moondog (Greatest hits). Among well-loved and better-known groups, I can strongly recommend Elephant Revival, Florence and the Machine, and The Weepies. I love lots of popular stuff too, but not for writing. I most often write with all the great ambiences of Ambient-Mixer.com. My favorites are the Hufflepuff common room, Louisiana Swamp at Night, Beyond the Wall, Stormy Night, and some that I made myself.
Thanks for interviewing, Gabrielle! I can't wait to read all about Toli on 8/6/19!