We’re kicking off the year by interviewing the first Lucky13 debut author, Ellen Oh! And how better to begin the debuting adventure than with an ancient PROPHECY? I was lucky (ha ha) enough to find myself with an ARC of this delightful tale and even luckier (heh he he) to win the chance to interview her. Without further ado, I shall now entice you with the blurb:
The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms . . . is a girl with yellow eyes.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and she’s also the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope. . . .
Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King’s prophecy, but the legendary lost ruby treasure just might be the true key to victory. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.
Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.
Welcome to the OneFour blog, Ellen and congrats on your debut! PROPHECY is set in a rich world of tangled family relations and old magic. What was the piece of this story that first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea?
It was definitely an idea. The idea was about how everyone believes that the hero of legend is a young prince. But instead, it turns out that the hero is actually a girl. It came from that place in me that was so tired of being overlooked for being female. So tired of the sexism and misogyny in our world. I wanted a story where the girl didn’t need to wait for a prince to come and save her because she was the hero of her own story. And that is how Prophecy came about.
This novel is filled with magical settings and vibrant characters. Often the characters and settings seem to create each other. I was particularly fond of the mountain temple monks and their deceptively serene appearances (flying! monks!). Why are the monks so awesome? I’m kidding. (They are awesome because that’s what monks do.) What was your favorite setting/group of characters to create?
I love the temple monks also! I love the idea that they are protectors and so they train like warriors, but they are forbidden to take life. So there should be something magical about their abilities. They are so light on their feet, they seem like they can fly. It is the advantage of their training. To be honest, I was really intrigued with creating my demon creatures. They are incorporeal forms in the human world that could only be solid by taking over a human body, eating its organs and wearing the skin like a costume. I had a lot of fun creating them and the half-breeds.
Kira is the girl with yellow eyes and a heart of gold. If she were to attend Hogwarts, which house would she be sorted into?
Without a doubt she’d be in Gryffindor. She’s smart, strong, proud and stubborn – just like Harry.
What is the craziest thing you did in the name of research for PROPHECY?
I wish I could say that the craziest thing I did was fly to Korea. But that hasn’t happened yet! I hope to make it happen real soon. But I think the craziest thing was also the nicest thing done for me by my father. He was such a big help. He got all of these awesome Korean historical books that I couldn’t get. But they were in Korean. Since I can’t read it, he actually took the time to translate several books in long hand. How awesome is he?
Since this is a trilogy, what can we look forward to in future books? (More flying monks?)
How about assassin gisaeng (similar to geishas)? And a kumiho – a nine tailed fox demon that eats the livers and hearts of men in its attempt to become human. Seriously, writing Book 2 was even more fun than writing Book 1!
And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.
My favorite book when I was young was The Count of Monte Cristo. It was without a doubt the most eye-opening and awe inspiring experience of my life! I became obsessed with the idea of betrayal and revenge. It would form the heart of pretty much every story I ever wrote… as a child, anyway! And then I read To Kill a Mockingbird and my mind was blown again. A completely different story, quieter, slower, and yet just as intense and as powerful. I think the reason both of these books are my childhood favorites is because they impacted the way I thought and the way I would write. They were books that made an indelible impression on me and were stories that I could never forget.
Writer, lawyer, college instructor, donut-slayer, chocolate lover. Addicted to diet coke. Likes to quote extensively from the Princess Bride, Monty Python and Godfather movies. Never leaves home without her iphone, chapstick, a book and her American Express card. You can find Ellen by visiting her website and on Twitter.
This interview was conducted by OneFour member Natalie C Parker, whose Southern Gothic YA novel BEWARE THE WILD will be released Winter 2014 from HarperCollins Children’s Books. The interview was the beginning of a series of interviews with The Lucky13s — YA, MG, and children’s book authors debuting in 2013.