Blog Tour & Interview: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
Night of the Dragon, is the third book in the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa, and is releasing on March 31st! I love this series and can’t wait to finally get my hands on Night of the Dragon! Check out the author interview with Julie Kagawa!
Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3)by Julie Kagawa
Published by: Inkyard Press
on March 31, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Bookshop, IndieBound, iTunes, Book Depository
All is lost.
To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
Q: What were your biggest influences when creating this world in story, whether they be legends, folklore, anime, manga or other novels?
A: Anime, Manga and video games have been my biggest influences when writing the world of Shadow of the Fox, but also the works of Akira Kurosawa like The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashomon.
Q: Would you ever consider using this world and/or some of the characters in future stories that you write?
A: I love Japanese legends and folklore, so I might very well return to this world someday. Maybe not through the eyes of a kitsune, but there is always the possibility of future books set in the land of Iwagoto.
Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?
A: The hardest scene was the last battle with the Final Boss at the end. Without giving away spoilers, there was a lot of kitsune magic, illusion and misdirection, and trying to show everything that was going on without making it too confusing was a challenge. I don’t remember an easy scene to write, but I did enjoy writing one of the final chapters (where I hope everyone cries).
Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)
A: There are a few references that only those very familiar with Japanese folklore would get. For example, the names of the Reika’s two dogs, Chu and Ko, come from a Japanese novel called The Eight Dog Chronicles, which has been adapted into manga, anime, and even video games. In Soul of the Sword, Yumeko and her friends are on their way to the home of the tengu, when they encounter a pair of magical stone guardians called Yoshitsune and Benkei, two real life historical figures that inspired countless legends and stories. In folklore, Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a near mythical swordsman who had been trained by the king of the tengu, and Benki was a warrior monk who was his stalwart companion.
Q: What do you hope people remember about Night of the Dragon?
A: I hope people come away with a new appreciation of Japanese myth and folklore, particularly all the wonderfully bizarre yokai, yurei and bakemono that populate these stories. From kitsune and tanuki to oni and kirin, I hope it inspires readers to learn more about the world of Japanese myth and legend. And I hope people remember how much they cried at the end of the story.
Q: What is your dream cast for Night of the Dragon?
A: I am so bad at this question. I really can’t answer it because one: I am terrible at keeping up with current actors/actresses. And two: I see everyone in Shadow of the Fox as anime characters.
Q: Is there a character that you found challenging to write? Why?
A: Taiyo Daisuke was probably the most challenging, because it was a balancing act of making him a noble and making him likable. Nobles in fantasy stories tend to be arrogant, snooty, mocking, and manipulatieve. More often than not they are the villains, or at least an unpleasant obstacle the heroes must get around. Daisuke was very clearly an aristocrat, so I made very certain to give him qualities atypical of a noble. Kindness, humility, and viewing everyone, even the ronin, as an equal was certainly not the mindset of a typical samurai, but it was necessary to make Daisuke a well loved member of the team and not a person the reader, and the other characters, hated.
Q: What is your current read?
A: At the moment, the words on my computer screen, lol. Its deadline crunch time, so my current WIP is the only thing I have time for now. Hopefully I can get back to pleasure reading when I’m finished.
Q: What part of the Shadow of the Fox series was the most fun to write?
A: I really enjoyed writing the parts with Yumeko’s kitsune illusion magic. One of my favorite scenes was when Yumeko and the others attended a formal tea ceremony with a snooty noble of the Shadow Clan. I won’t give away spoilers, but what Yumeko does at the tea ceremony still makes me smile, and remains one of my favorite parts of the series.
Q: Was there a scene or backstory about a favorite character that didn’t make it into the final version of NIGHT OF THE DRAGON that you can share with us?
A: There was an earlier draft where Taka, Lord Seigetsu’s servant, was a human boy instead of a small, one-eyed yokai who could see the future. But it seemed more interesting to have him be a yokai instead. Also in an earlier draft, Yumeko was not a half kitsune but a full fox who lived in a den with her grandmother fox and two brothers. That also, got cut, as a half-human Yumeko was more sympathetic and relatable than one who was full kitsune.
Q: The Iron Fey series was your first large published success. How did you feel as a writer when you reflect upon those books? How did/do you feel as a reader when you read or re-read those books?
A: The Iron Fey series holds a very special place in my heart as my first published series. I know I’ve grown since then, and when I re-read the Iron Fey I know I’ve come a long way as an author. But I also know that I wrote the best books I could at the time, so even though I wouldn’t write them the same way now, I’m happy with them.
Q: What is it about fantasy that draws you to it?
A: Is everything a good answer? I love myths and legends, other worlds, magic, swords, wizards, dragons, evil gods, epic quests, and the battle between good and evil. I read to escape, but also to travel to far away places and encounter creatures and beings I would never meet in real life. Who hasn’t daydreamed about flying on the back of a dragon? I read fantasy for the same reason.
Q: How much research goes into your books and at what point do you stop using research and build off it?
A: It depends on how much I already know about certain aspects of the book. For example, from the amount of anime and manga I’d consumed over the years, I knew a lot about kitsune, oni, tanuki, and various other Japanese monsters. I still did a fair amount of research, though it was more about the samurai and the Sengoku Jidai, the era I was basing the book off of. I never really stop researching, though most of it goes into book one, which is where much of the world building takes place.
Q: Finally, out of all the books you have written, which has your favorite world and why?
A: Probably the Iron Fey series, though Shadow of the Fox is a close second. I love fantasy and all the fantastic creatures that populate it, so the Nevernever is my favorite world for that alone. Even though I wouldn’t last a day there without getting eaten by an ogre, a redcap or a kelpie. Maybe if I could find a big gray cat…