Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon blog tour!! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Mary Fan! Read on to find out what her (current) favorite book is, learn more about the tour, and enter to win a print copy of Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon!!!Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
Published on June 11, 2019 by Page Street Kids
Genres: YA, Fantasy
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When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.
Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.
With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.
Interview with Mary
What’s your current favorite book?
I find it hard to name any book a favorite because I’ve read so, so many good ones and my favorite’s often the one I’m in the middle of or just finished! So because I recently finished it and it totally blew me away, I’m going to say Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, but that doesn’t mean all the other amazing books I’ve read aren’t my favorites too.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
This isn’t exactly research, but the village of Dailan, where Anlei is from, was inspired by the village my dad grew up in (near Xiamen, China). I visited a few times as a kid and shortly after college, and I still have visceral memories of the textures and tastes and smells of the place. I wish I could have written more about Anlei’s day-to-day life – particularly the food! But for pacing reasons, she doesn’t spend a lot of time in the village, and so a lot of that went unused.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
Honestly, I choose names based on the way they sound in my head or look on the page. I’m a musician (violin, classical voice), and so I think about sound and what they evoke a lot when naming characters. Anlei’s name is actually a tribute to my sister, whose Chinese name is Shilei, which is two characters meaning poem and flower bud. Mine’s Shirong (poem, a type of flower) – the common naming convention is to give siblings the same first character and different second characters, so I borrowed my sister’s “lei”. I picked “an,” which means “peace,” mostly because I liked the way it sounded when combined with “lei”. Also, I thought it was fun that there was a bit of irony in Anlei’s name – here’s a pretty-sounding name with a pretty-sounding meaning (peace, flower bud) for a girl who doesn’t behave very prettily (she’s quick to anger and bad at being polite). And it’s kind of fitting – the viceroy chooses her as a bride because he finds her physically pretty, and his decision is solely based on looks (not knowing or caring who she is as a person – he expects her to conform to his wishes).
For Tai, I wanted a name that would come quickly off the tongue – a reflection of his own quick tongue and lively nature. He’s a very bright presence on the page – always joking around and refusing to take anything too seriously. “Tai” means “sun,” so that seemed appropriate.
For Viceroy Kang, I wanted a name with bite. He’s a villainous presence – a powerful man who forces an unwilling teen girl to be his bride and basically holds her hometown hostage to make her surrender. “Kang,” a common surname, begins and ends with hard consonants, which gives it that bite I wanted (My apologies to all the real Kangs out there who are not villains – it’s also a very heroic-sounding name in a different context!)
TV comp your book! (How would you pitch your book with tv shows?)
Xena but less white and more steampunk?
If Anlei were to hang out with characters from other YA books, who would they be and why?
I think Anlei would get along with Zelie from Children of Blood and Bone because they have that fearless fighter thing in common. Also Jane from Dread Nation – same reason. Maybe Jade from Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, since they’re both girls with quests, though I don’t know how Anlei would fare in the presence of a princess.
What would you do if you spent the day with Anlei? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
If Anlei were transported to modern-day Jersey City, we’d head to the local kickboxing gym for some training then hit up the Shanghainese restaurant in my neighbourhood. And if there’s a Cirque du Soleil show in NYC, I’d take her to see that – I think she’d appreciate the spectacle, being an acrobat herself.
If I were transported to Dailan, we’d help her mom make lunch and then enjoy a bowl of fish and noodle stew in her house. After, I’d ask her to show me some of her sword tricks. And she’d kick my butt.
Thanks for answering my questions Mary!
About the Author
Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.
Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.