“Mulan meets Project Runway” Elizabeth Lim on Her New Novel

5 Questions With...

Elizabeth Lim
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[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Elizabeth Lim and ask her five(ish) questions. Elizabeth’s novel ‘Spin the Dawn is out July 9th!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Elizabeth: I was inspired by the fairytales my father used to tell me as a child. SPIN THE DAWN draws influence from three in particular: the Chinese legend, “The Cowherd and the Weaver,” the French tale, “Donkeyskin,” and the Norwegian fairytale, “East of the Sun.” My grandmother was also a seamstress when she first immigrated to the United States, and her background was inspiration for the main character, Maia Tamarin.

What character do you most relate to and why?

I relate most to Maia Tamarin. At the beginning of the book, she wants nothing more than to become recognized for her skill at tailoring, but no one will ever give her a chance because she’s a girl. While I was studying to become a music composer, a similar incident happened to me (several times!), and Maia’s grit and determination to prove them wrong stems from my experiences. But she’s also very loyal and close to her family, which have always been important values to me.

Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now?

I think YA books are so popular right now simply because they’re good! Back when I was growing up, there wasn’t much of a YA category: there was either children’s or adult’s. But now there’s a huge variety of YA books, and I think there’s something special about the teenaged years and coming-of-age story that draws adults to the YA shelves. And given the recent push to publish diverse books, it is not surprising to me that YA books have such a voice right now; we need them, and readers want to read them!

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

Pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway, SPIN THE DAWN is about a young seamstress who disguises herself as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor. Her task to sew the legendary dresses of the sun, moon, & stars lead her on an adventure of danger & romance along a reimagined Silk Road.

What’s next for you in the book world?

I’m working on the sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, as well as another fantasy set in the same world.

What’s your favorite writer right now?

I don’t have a favorite writer (that would be a list that is far too long), but I do have some favorite books that I recently finished. I adored The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (a historical YA about the 1969 race riots in Kuala Lumpur), and I loved Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (a fantastical retelling of the Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun”). 

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