Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Annabelle Jay for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Merlin’s Moon: Book II in The Sun Dragon Series
Author: Annabelle Jay
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 07/28/2016
Half-human, half-dragon Mani hatched from an egg and was adopted by Allanah, a human woman who discovered him after the death of his dragon mother. He possesses abilities he’s only beginning to understand, and every night he takes the form of a blue dragon.
When Mani’s secret is revealed, he takes refuge at the wizard Mansion. There, he encounters the Animal Guard, a group of people who share his affliction. But the members of the Animal Guard are under a curse by the sorceresses, and they need Mani’s aid to break the spell and resume their human forms. Growing romantic feelings for the wolf-boy Lup convince Mani to offer his help, but Mani’s own developing powers might destroy any chance at a relationship. The world of magic is changing, and as Mani and his friends fight to stop the evil sorceresses from using the deadly North Star, they must figure out what places they will hold when the battle is over.
Recent Release Spotlight with Annabelle Jay
We are here today to talk about Merlin’s Moon: Book II in The Sun Dragon Series. What can you tell us about it?
Merlin’s Moon is about a half-human, half-dragon boy named Mani who was adopted by Allanah, who was the main character in the first book of the series. He doesn’t understand all of his powers, but he does know that every night he takes the form of a blue dragon. He has a crush on his best friend, but Alex doesn’t react well to watching Mani transform, so Mani runs away to the wizards’ Mansion from book one and joins their Animal Guard. There he meets a wolf-boy named Lup who has the opposite problem as Mani—he is a wolf during the day and a boy at night—and the two, along with the rest of the Animal Guard, have to figure out how to defeat the evil sorceresses who turned them into animals.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Mani, the main character, has a really complicated past—much more complicated than he knows at the beginning—and parts of it come up at various times in the book. I think that adds a lot to his personality because he’s both trying to find his place on the outside with the Mansion/Animal Guard and on the inside with who he is and where he came from. He even wants so badly to fit in that he doesn’t tell the Animal Guard about the fact that he was born the way he is and not cursed to be a half-dragon. (Keep in mind he’s living in his mother’s shadow after she defeated King Roland in book one, so he has big shoes to fill in the wizarding world.)
What do you want to tell those who may be new to the series (if applicable)?
The Sun Dragon Series is unique in that each book is the next generation. Mani is Allanah’s adopted son, and the book following this one, Starsong, follows the generation after him (that book is also in the future, so there’s a lot of science fiction mixed in with fantasy). Each book also has an LGBTQ+ main character.
What about Merlin’s Moon makes you the proudest?
I’m really proud of the way that Merlin’s Moon takes classic Arthurian characters like Merlin and Guinevere and uses them to tell a completely different story that weaves into the Sun Dragon Series narrative. Pieces of those legends come back throughout all the books after Merlin’s Moon, but they’re the focus of this book.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
Next up is book three, Starsong, which takes place on the planet Draman. The book starts out with a new story, which begins with the day of the Dramanian naming ceremony, when the half-human, half-dragon children have to choose between colored robes representing the two genders recognized by their society. One of the main characters, Sara Lee, takes up the cause of battling the repressive gender roles, while her best friend and princess, Nimue, stays.
However, the book intertwines with The Sun Dragon and Merlin’s Moon when the same robots who chased the people of earth off their home come to Draman looking for them. Not only do the girls interact with Mani, but they also go back to Allanah’s time (main character from Book One) and see her, too.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
I think my biggest advice is to write for yourself. I’ve written a ton of books that never sold, but it doesn’t really matter. I write because I love it, and because it’s fun, and because I have to write. The publication part is just icing on the cake. If you let that be your primary focus and you get rejected, it can be really hard to come back to your computer and keep writing.
What tool do you use to plan scenes? (such as index cards, white board, ouiji board, etc)
I never plot beforehand, but after I’m done a book—especially a split narrative (two or more point of view characters)—I sometimes go back and write a short, few word summary of every chapter. Then I pin the cards onto a bulletin board and look for the holes, or for places where it seems like one person had a lot more going on than the other. Then I work backwards and add in additional scenes to fill the holes or balance out the amount of time each person talks. Occasionally I realize I completely missed an essential plot point or killed a character in the beginning who I accidentally brought back to life without realizing it, but luckily, those big changes don’t happen too much!
Do you ever abandon a draft partly written and just move on? Do you keep a file of plot ideas?
Absolutely! As I mentioned before, I have several completed novels sitting on my computer, but I also have a ton of false starts that I thought would be books but never went anywhere (or, more likely, became short stories by accident). I usually try to let the story tell itself, so sometimes that means what should have been flash fiction becomes a novel and what should have been a novel becomes flash fiction. In terms of ideas, I try to keep an idea journal, but I tend to lose it constantly and have to search through my whole house every time I have an idea I want to write down.
If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?
I am going to cheat and answer “rabbit” because I am always looking for a way to work my rabbits into every conversation. I have two dwarf rabbits, Jon Snow (he’s albino) and Daisy (she’s part angora), and I think that part of the reason I love rabbits so much is that they’re a lot like me: small, curious, careful, desperate for attention, and constantly busy.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
My best friend Alexandra recently sent me Mistborn: The Final Empire, which is the first book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. She told me about it when I stayed with her in Chicago during BEA, and then she wanted me to read it so much that she bought me a copy! It’s great. Next to read is All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation because it’s my book club’s next book.
Rapid Fire Time
Coffee, black or doctored? Doctored (a little cream) every morning before I write
Red or White? Red every night after I write J
Rock or Country? Rock, no question
Sweet or Sour? SUGAR!!!
cinnamon or maple? Maple (see SUGAR!!! answer above)
Trees or Flowers? Trees, though I love both. When I was younger, I used to think I could talk to trees! (explains a lot about me, I think.
Tattoos or piercings? Tattoos! I have a wrist tattoo of a peace sign, and I’m obsessed with tattoos (hence the reason they show up in the series).
roller skates or ice skates? Neither? I suck at both, and my only way of stopping is running into a wall (or a small child who is holding onto the wall for dear life, like me). I guess if I had to pick I would say ice skating, though, because it’s so romantic to skate outside on a rink in the winter.
What are you working on? What is next?
Great question! All of the Sun Dragon Series books are written, so I’m currently writing a dystopia that involves cloning, though I won’t say too much more for now because it’s still in the super early stages.
About the Author
If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.
A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.
During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.
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