Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Julie Abe to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it!
Published on August 2, 2022 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Retellings
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Once upon a time, Alliana believed in dreams and fairy tales as sweet as spun-sugar clouds. Alliana wished on shooting stars, sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Then her grandmother passed away—and those dreams disappeared in a disenchanted puff.
Now Alliana’s forced to attend to the whims of her wicked stepmother—with long days of cleaning her stepfamily’s inn as her skin burns raw or staying up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. Until she meets two beings who change her life forever—the first is a young nightdragon who Alliana discovers she can magically talk to. And the second is Nela, a young witch.
Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance to break free of her stepmother’s shadow and to seize a chance at a life she’s barely dared to hope for—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Can Alliana truly make wisps of dreams into her own, better-than-a-fairy-tale happily ever after?
Inspired by the Japanese Cinderella story and set in the same world as the Eva Evergreen series, this story can be read as a standalone.
What would you do if you spent the day with Alliana and Nela? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
Oh my gosh, I would love to go to Rivelle Realm! In the morning, we’d go to the seaside town of Auteri, pick up freshly baked pastries and walk along the shore. Maybe visit Ami, the town florist, to pick up a bouquet, or go to Seafoam Sweets for some of the most beautiful sugar sculptures in the entire realm.
In the afternoon, Nela would take us by broomstick to Good for Goods, the magical general store in the capital city, and spend our afternoon wandering through the aisles, checking out all the magical artifacts, before heading to the crystal castle to watch the sun set. That would be an absolutely dreamy day!
If Alliana and Nela were to hang out with other fictional characters, who would they be and why?
I would have so much fun if Alliana and Nela hung out with my fellow author friends’ characters. Izzy and Emma from The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman would be such a delight — they’d have so much fun meeting the enchanted animals from each other’s books. Alliana would love to play with a baby house dragon!
If there was one fictional place you could travel to for a day, where would it be and why?
Definitely to Rivelle Realm! It would be so neat to see it come alive, especially after I’ve dreamed of it for so long. Another place I’d love to go to is Nevermoor, from Jessica Townsend’s books. It would be so fun to visit the hotel, and check out the alleyways of the city!
If you buried a time capsule with three items inside, what three items would you choose and why?
I’d include three books that I’ve written — each book was created through dreams, hopes, long hours (and sometimes a few years), but they’re all a part of my heart, and I’d love future readers to find them, too. I think I’d choose Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch, because it’s my very first book I ever got published. Then, I’d probably pick The Charmed List, since it’s my debut young adult novel, and it represents a journey of learning to believe in myself more, because I was filled with self-doubt about writing in a different age group. And, last but not least, I’d pick Alliana, Girl of Dragons, as this is dedicated to my grandmother (the inspiration behind Grandmother Mari), and is a heart-book in so many ways.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
Does food count? I love thinking of ways to describe food to make it feel so real that you might be able to pick it up from the pages, even if you’ve never heard of it before. I researched Baumkuchen, which is a German cake that’s quite popular in Japan, and though I’ve researched how it’s made, etc., the most I’ve been able to include is a quick (but tasty!) mention in Alliana.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from Alliana, Girl of Dragons?
I had so much fun writing the ending scene, because it connects in very subtle yet beautiful ways to Eva Evergreen. Although readers don’t have to have read either book to pick up the next, it makes for an extra fun experience to recognize spots and characters that crossover! For readers who pick up both books, I hope you’ll love these little connections!
What do you think about Alliana, Girl of Dragons? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!