I can’t begin to tell you guys how excited I’ve been for this interview series! I took a leap and reached out to some authors I’ve been admiring from afar on Twitter and asked them if they would like to participate in my interview series. It totally blew my mind when they said YES!
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to debut author Elizabeth Lim. She started by writing fanfic about Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars (a girl after my own heart). She graduated from Harvard with degrees in music and East Asian studies, completing her graduate degree in music at Juliard. By day she composes music for movies and video games, using her free time to pour her heart into her debut novel, THE BLOOD OF STARS through Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 2019) and REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE through Disney Press (March 27, 2018).
When did you first begin writing? What drove you?
I’d say I first started writing stories in middle school. I was a big Star Wars fan and back then, Episodes VII and VIII hadn’t come out yet, so I got really into imagining what happened after Return of the Jedi and wrote some fanfics, which later inspired me to write my own original work!
What are your books about?
REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE is part of Disney’s “what-if” series, and explores what would happen if it were actually Shang who were injured during the battle against the Huns, and Mulan had to go to the Underworld to save him. It comes out March 27, 2018 with Disney Press!
THE BLOOD OF STARS is a Chinese-inspired fantasy about a young seamstress who disguises herself as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor in the palace, and is tasked with sewing three magical gowns of the sun, moon, and stars.
What about writing most energizes you? What most exhausts you?
I love revising. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but the act of chiseling my writing into a readable piece of fiction really energized me, whereas drafting exhausts me to no end.
What part of you do you feel leaked into your books?
My early characters definitely resembled me more than my current ones, but BoS is really dear to me because it follows a girl who’s passionate about her craft — sewing. My craft was music for most of my life, and since composition has historically been a male-dominated field, the occasional person would tell me I wouldn’t succeed. I think that passion and desire to do something worthwhile with one’s art and prove to everyone that you can, is something that seeps into BoS.
Does your family support your writing and the subject matter?
Yes, my husband especially is an amazing editor. He reads everything I write and gives super helpful feedback. And my parents were always supportive of me being in the arts, so I feel very lucky and grateful.
You’re a film composer by day. How has that affected your story and how you tell it?
Definitely. I think being a musician has made me very sensitive to the euphony and rhythm of my words, and it makes me think of structure in musical forms, and characters as themes.
What was the publishing experience like for you?
I actually started out writing chicklit right out of college, and got my first agent soon after. When we went on sub, editors told me my voice sounded younger, and suggested I try my hand at writing young adult. So I took a few years off to concentrate on grad school and think about what I wanted to write in YA, and fall in love with the genre, then I queried again and found my new agent. And while I was working on THE BLOOD OF STARS, I got the opportunity to write REFLECTION!
What was the best thing you ever did for your writing career?
I didn’t let myself give up. I knew that if I wanted to be in publishing, I was going to face rejection. Lots of it. So I had to really develop a thick skin and keep persisting.
If you could tell your teen self one thing, what would it be?
Go outside and talk to people more. (lol I was really introverted during my teen years and preferred books to people!)
What is your favorite, under appreciated novel?
The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip.