I have loved Elizabeth Lim’s books like Spin the Dawn and Six Crimson Cranes is no different! Immersive and action packed, if you like Lim’s fantasy worlds OR “The Wild Swans” it has to be a must read! So when Lim agreed to do an interview I was over the moon!
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne–a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain–no matter what it costs her.
What was your first experience with “The Wild Swans” and what elements did you know you wanted to tweak?
I grew up with many versions of the fairytale – I had a Japanese as well as Russian cartoon based on The Wild Swans and also various picture books, and it quickly became one of my favorites. I knew I wanted to weave East Asian folklore with the story, and changing the swans to cranes was just a first step. I also wanted to explore the stepmother character – in the fairytale there isn’t usually much reason for her to turn the princes into swans (sometimes, jealousy that the king is spending so much time with his children is given as a reason) and she disappears for the rest of the story, so I wanted to delve more deeply into her character.
If you could use magic on a paper creation of your own, what would it be?
My family does a lot of paper folding — we used to construct paper houses to burn for our ancestors (kind of like burning paper money for them to have in the afterlife but we did cars and houses too), and there was a phase in my childhood when my mom and grandmother were obsessed with folding butterflies and button-down shirts out of dollar bills. My mom is working on a paper dragon made out of wrapping paper as we speak! Hope I’ll get to take some pictures of it for social media…but anyway, I digress. I think it’d be really cool to have a paper bird like Shiori, honestly, which is kind of why I wrote Kiki. She’s portable, has lots of personality, and is the best friend to have around when there’s no one to talk to!
You had my heart swooning in SIX CRIMSON CRANES, which love interest was the easiest for you to write in your books? The hardest?
Hah, I love this question! I would say that if a love interest is too hard to write, then their chemistry with the main character isn’t all there and much work needs to be done. If we’re going to count my Disney books, Prince Charming in SO THIS IS LOVE was the hardest to write since pretty much all he does in the movie is dance and sing one song with Cinderella then show up for their wedding! I’ve really loved writing both Takkan and Edan.
When you had the idea for SIX CRIMSON CRANES did you know it was going to be a duology from the beginning?
I actually wrote a prequel for SIX CRIMSON CRANES before writing SCC…so in my mind it might have been a trilogy. But I do love duologies, and once I put aside the prequel and began working on SCC in earnest, it became clear that I would need an extra book to round out Shiori’s story.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She grew up in Northern California, with a brief stint in Tokyo, Japan, but now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies. She completed her graduate degrees (MM, DMA) at The Juilliard School.