Q&A with Elizabeth Lim, Author of Spin the Dawn

Question Time with Elizabeth Lim

In case you didn’t know, we had the pleasure of reading Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim as our April Book Club pick. Not only did we have a fantastic time reading the book and discussing it as a group, we also had the amazing opportunity to put some questions to the author herself, who very kindly agreed to take part in a Q&A yesterday!

Below are all the questions our reading group had for Elizabeth during the session – We got off to a bit of a rocky start when we were an hour early for the chat – we may have forgotten about the clock changes, D’OH!

Hi Elizabeth! Welcome to our book club group! 

Hi! Thanks for having me 💖.

We all can’t get over how much we LOVED Spin The Dawn!! It’s an absolutely incredible book and you’re just addicted right to the end! We think everyone went full 5 stars!

Ahh thank you!! I’m so happy to hear that!! And thank you all for selecting it for your book club.

Are you excited about the release of Unravel the Dusk?

I am!! Only two and a half more months to go lol.

So close! We love everything about Spin the Dawn and especially the descriptions of the dresses 🙌🏽😍 how did you even get inspiration for them?

The dresses of the sun, moon, and stars were inspired by a fairytale I grew up with called Donkeyskin. I think it’s the sun moon and sky in the original. So i kind of ran with the idea of celestial dresses and added a bit of my own flair to it haha.

Donkeyskin 🤣 what a great name!

Haha yeah I think it’s called that because the princess also gets a fur coat made from a thousand animals so she looks like a furball from afar when she wears it.

Hahaha that’s so amazing! Did you have any kind of mood boards or inspiration for the descriptions?

I do! I made a couple Pinterest boards to help with inspiration. The Metropolitan Museum in NYC also had a fashion exhibit a few years back that I caught and it was very inspiring – I did make some aesthetic mood boards and posted them on my Instagram account a while back.

That must’ve been so fun to get inspiration from wherever you go 🙌🏽 did you often have to ask friends and family about what they thought about the descriptions?

Hah that’s a good question. My sister is actually much more savvy about fashion than I am (I’m more of an appreciator but she actually dresses the part) so I asked her often for advice.

We love how this novel has serious girl power aspects to it. We enjoy reading about powerful female characters in a male driven world. Would you consider Maia a role model to your female readers?

Yes for sure!! It is really important for me to write strong non Mary Sue type characters.

If you were Maia, would you have taken the out she was given, becoming an apprentice or would you persevere like Maia?

Ohh that’s tough. I think personally I’m very risk averse in real life so I’d probably take the apprenticeship…but there’s a reason I’m not a fictional hero lol.

What was most important for you to achieve with Maia’s character in that sense of being a strong female lead and role model?

I haven’t read that many heroines who are craftspeople and simply work hard towards their goals and it was really important for me to strong a strong female with that hardworking persistent personality. I think girls can be strong even without having amazing sword skills hah.

It’s such a unique YA fantasy in every way!! So different to everything else out there and the usual tropes and heroines!

Thank you! My grandmother was a seamstress so that’s how I came up with the idea of Maia being one too.

We love that Maia’s love for her family is what makes her persevere too, it shows how much she respected then and wanted to do them proud!

Yes!! Family is a huge part of the story to me.

We loved how in depth the world was that you created – where did you start with world building? Was there any specific inspiration?

Hmm the world is definitely East Asian inspired, but I wanted to also incorporate the mythology of my favorite fairytales and folktales.

What is your favourite fairytale?

Ahh I have so many lol There’s hints of lots of fairytales in Spin the Dawn – Cinderella ,Aladdin, East of the Sun, a bunch of Chinese folktales and Donkeyskin obviously.

How do you feel about the Mulan comparisons?

I don’t mind them! It’s funny I actually wrote Spin the Dawn before Reflection which most readers don’t know, so it’s funny to me that I have two Mulan-inspired books out.

(For those who don’t know, Reflection is a Mulan Disney twisted tale!)

Did writing this book inspire/help you while writing Reflection?

A little! The worlds are pretty different but they definitely have some similarities since Maia does carry some Mulan vibes.

Have you ever been tempted to write a non fantasy/fairytale type book?

The very first book I wrote was an adult chick lit – I’m tempted to go back to contemporary one day, but probably not in the next few years.

What were you inspirations for the characters? Did you base any of them off of real people that you know?

Oh gosh I’m trying to remember. I think I did know I wanted Edan to have magic but I wasn’t sure at the beginning of his entire character. I don’t tend to base my characters off real people but my husband does read A TON and I tease him about it a lot, so that was one inspiration for Edan. But generally I don’t base characters off real people.

What were the hardest part to write or to plan out?

The trials were hard to write, I’d say Because I wanted to make them interesting and pertinent to the mythology And also not too easy Also battle scenes lol.

What was the easiest scene?

The opening chapter came surprisingly easy to me in this book, as did much of the romance.

Do you personally read a lot of ya fantasy and do you have any favourites? Or do you have any other authors you’re close to or admire?

I do read a bit of ya fantasy though I find it hard to read the genre I write when I’m in the middle of a project.

I really liked Strange the Dreamer and Echo North recently. Also The Light Between Worlds and Sweet Black Waves (more historical fiction but there’s magic) They’re by friends ☺️.

Oh that’s so cool! We’ll definitely look those up!

Can you give us any details of what we can expect from Unravel The Dusk??

Oo hmm there will be more lady Sarnai for sure And you’ll be introduced to the protagonist of my next series (which hasn’t been announced yet) ❤️.

In regards to Unravel the Dusk, we all already have it preordered – would you say Preorders are really important?

They help a lot! Especially since things have been so rough in the industry lately with the virus As with everything else in the world 😓.

How does it feel when you see your book being loved by readers? And seeing all the beautiful posts on bookstagram?

It’s amazing! I’m an introvert so Social media doesn’t always come easily to me, but honestly seeing readers connect with my stories makes me really happy and is one of the best things about the job.

We all loved the story and the covers are BEAUTIFUL!

Thank you!! And yes I got SO lucky with my covers. The artist is Tran Nguyen and I’m obsessed with her art.

Thank you so much for joining us Elizabeth and taking the time out of mama duties to speak to us!! We really appreciate it! Good luck with Unravel The Dusk, we’ll all be posting and cheerleading! Hope you and your family stay safe in the current climate!

Thank you so much!! I hope you all are staying safe and sane as well and that things improve. These are bizarre and troubling times 😓.

We had such a blast talking to Elizabeth and we think she enjoyed interacting with some of her fans – it was soooo worth it! We had such a fun time and its great to chat with authors about their incredible books!

Hope you guys have loved this! What would you have asked her if you could? Are you surprised by any of the answers?

Lots of Love,

Kayleigh and Tish xxx

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