Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dragonfly Song Blog Tour: Guest Post with author Wendy Orr

I'm really excited today to be a part of the blog tour for Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr.    Be sure to check out all the other tour stops at the bottom of the post with links to author interviews, book playlists, guest posts and reviews.  I'll also be posting my review later in the day, so feel free to stop by and check it out.  

Hardcover, 408 pages
Expected Publication:  October 27th, 2017
by Pajama Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, 
In exchange for an honest review, 
a review copy was received from the publisher for free. 
Also by Wendy Orr:  Nim's IslandNim at Sea
Find it:  AmazonB&NGoodreads

Publishers Description: 

The whispers say it’s not true that the Lady’s firstborn died at birth. They say it’s worse—the baby was born with an extra thumb dangling from each wrist. If she’s not perfect, she can never follow in her mother’s footsteps. Nobody but the old wise-woman knows what truly happened to Aissa, the firstborn daughter of the priestess. If they saw the half-moon scars on the servant girl’s wrists they would find it out, but who would look twice at lowly, mute No-Name? Then the soldiers of Crete come to the island, demanding children as a tribute for their god-king’s bull dances as they do every year. Aissa is determined to seize this chance to fight for her own worth and change her destiny once and for all.  Lyrically written and refreshingly unpredictable, Dragonfly Song is a compelling Bronze Age fantasy that suggests a fascinating origin for the legend of the Minotaur and his dark tribute.

The Weird Truth of Writing Dragonfly Song

Some stories start with neat, logical ideas. Others are born in such weird ways that you can only admit to your closest friends (and blog readers). For Dragonfly Song, the embarrassing truth is that nearly 30 years ago I dreamed about a white-robed priestess leading a torchlight parade up a mountain. I thought, ‘One day I’ll write a book set in Bronze Age Greece,’ because I’d decided that was where she was from.

Then about eight years ago I heard the Icelandic band Sigur Ros on the radio, and thought, ‘That’s the sound track for that story,’ – which was pretty weird since I didn’t know what the story was, and I never have any music on when I write. Anyway, I put it aside for a few more years – until I was doodling one day, and drew a sad faced girl with a twisted mouth and a mass of snarled curly hair.

I tried her story in a few different ways, until one night I was doing tai chi, and saw the shape of her story, enclosed in a blue bubble, which was so beautiful I cried. (I told you this was weird.) The next day I saw a dragonfly, exactly the same color as the bubble, and I thought, ‘Aha! Her name means dragonfly in her own language.’ (Because every once in a while I remembered that I was in charge of making up this story, and her name could mean whatever I wanted it to.)

I knew that she was the daughter of the priestess, but her sad face told me that she hadn’t had a good start. Of course I was also doing a huge amount of reading and research into Minoan Crete, and thinking about the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, so I decided that the only way for her to escape her sad fate was to become a bull leaper. Of course my Aissa is completely fictitious, but it is true that 4000 years ago, in the palace of Knossos in Crete, teams of teenaged gymnasts somersaulted over the backs of charging bulls. And these bulls, which are extinct now, were giant, with huge horns and hooves. So I’m sure that the bull dancers who survived must have been like rock stars – and also sure that not many survived for long.

The other weird thing for this story was that I always heard it in verse, but thought it was too long and complicated for that to work. Eventually I gave in; I wrote it mostly in verse and changed some sections into prose. And I had to write it by hand, listening to Sigur Ros.

The dragonflies kept on coming, right through the story, every time I decided something significant. When I finally sent the final draft, I went out to the backyard to lie down in the grass – and opened my eyes to a huge cloud of dragonflies hovering over me.

Visit all the Blog Tour Stops for Dragonfly Song: 

10/22    Unleashing Readers (Activity Guide and Discussion Questions) 
10/23     YA and Kids Book Central (Book Playlist)  
10/24     Log Cabin Library  (Guest Post)
10/25     The Children's Book Review  (Character Interview) 
10/26     Bluestocking Thinking (Review)
10/27     Charlotte's Library (Interview)
10/28     A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust (Interview)
10/29     Writer's Rumpus (Guest Post)

Wendy Orr’s Bio:

Wendy Orr was born in Edmonton, Canada, but grew up in various places across Canada, France, and the USA. She studied occupational therapy in the UK, married an Australian farmer, and moved to Australia. She’s the author of many award-winning books, including Nim’s Island, Nim at Sea, Rescue on Nim’s Island, Raven’s Mountain, and Peeling the Onion.

1 comment:

  1. I loved learning about the way this story was born over many years. It seemed to evolve in magical snippets and dragonflies. :) Wishing Wendy all the best. Sounds like a great story!