Hello! Today I am delighted to welcome Amanda Sun to the blog for an interview!
About Heir to the Sky:As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.
When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.
1. If you had to describe your book in 5 words how would you describe it?
Video game in a book. Or, Final Fantasy meets YA novels. Or, floating lands and monster hunters. ^_^
2. The world in Heir to the Sky is a very interesting one. How did you come up with the idea of a continent floating in the sky?
Thank you! I’ve always loved floating continents. I think the first time I saw one was in Chrono Trigger, back when I was a young gamer (and the only girl gamer I knew). Then in Final Fantasy VI, and in Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky. I started even dreaming about seeing them in the sky, with the roots and dirt crumbling off the bottoms of them as they hovered there like mysteries. I started to develop my own islands, with waterfalls and cities, and then I imagined what might keep them afloat, and what could survive up there. I imagined they were a last refuge of a monster-torn world. And then I wondered what would happen if someone fell off the edge down to that world.
3. Out of all of your characters which one was the most fun to write, which one was the most difficult, and which one do you relate to the most?
I have the most fun writing Griffin. He’s a monster hunter. He’s learned all kinds of cool survival skills like weaponry, cooking, trapping, and sewing. But despite everything he’s been through, he hasn’t lost his humanity. He’s powerless to change his past, and so he invests his whole heart in protecting others to try and make up the loss he never can.
The most difficult character to write was probably Sayra. Unlike the other survivors who bravely fight on, she’s terrified and almost without hope. She doesn’t have a big role in HEIR TO THE SKY, but she has an important one—that not everyone is equipped to fight life’s battles. I find her difficult to write because she reflects my own weaknesses and despair that are easily to slip into.
The character I relate the most to is probably Kali. They both reflect part of me, but they also have their own struggles and strengths that I don’t have. I’d probably have a hard time getting my wits about me to survive and face monsters like Kali does, but I can relate a lot to her thoughts of how to be on her own, how to be happy, and how to best protect those she cares about. Plus she loves to read and is always in the library, so I can relate to that too. And her best friend Elisha was modeled on a couple of my best friends as well.
4. When you write, do you listen to music or are there any must have snacks?
Yes, definitely! There is a lot of food in the Paper Gods books, because food and its smells evokes a lot of strong memories for me. Likewise, I write a lot about food in HEIR TO THE SKY, and writing about food makes me hungry! I usually have snacks on hand like Pocky and Puccho, green tea candies, and of course chips or iced coffee. And for music, I listened to a lot of video game soundtracks while writing this book—Final Fantasy soundtracks, Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games, Journey, Chrono Trigger, and Skyward Sword.
5. I know you have a short story coming out in, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, can you tell us a little about it and the process writing a short story? How is it different or similar to writing a full length novel?
Yes, and I’m so glad you mentioned it because I’m really excited about this story! It’s called “What Harm” and it’s about a boy who doesn’t speak and struggles with reality, but has a special gift with horses. He’s sold to a warlord, where he meets a schizophrenic girl and things take a dark and vengeful turn. It’s a story about revenge, and what we’re capable of, and who we really are, even if that turns out to be meek and harmless. Writing a short story is so different, because you have such a limited amount of time to get across the feelings you want to convey. Every word counts, and the changes in the characters are so fine and minute that you can’t quite put your finger on what’s happened. At least, that’s what I like to aim for. STRANGERS AMONG US is out this August and I hope you read and enjoy it!
6. Are you currently working on any future projects? We're dying to know!
Thanks! I’m currently writing two more short stories for anthologies, and I have two novels in the works, though mostly in the planning stages. At the moment I have my hands full with my baby daughter, Alice. ^_^ Both projects have lots of either Fantasy or Asian threads woven through them, though, so I’m sure they’ll feel familiar when I’m ready to announce more. I hope you look forward to them! ^_^