Unravel the Dusk released last month and, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how excited I was for it! It’s a fabulous introspective sequel about darkness and inner struggles. I was so excited when Liz agreed to do an interview all about the wonderful Unravel the Dusk!
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
Maia’s struggles with herself and her darkness is huge in Unravel the Dusk, can you talk about how it was to write it and why it was important for you?
I really wanted to explore the darker side of fairy tales, as many of the original stories I grew up with are actually moralistic tales with very dark and grim outcomes. In Unravel the Dusk, I wanted to go deeper into how Maia’s journey has changed her, and prod at the consequences of some of her actions from Book 1.
What is your favorite reward while writing to keep you motivated?
I almost always have lotus paste or pumpkin custard baos in my freezer that I steam whenever I need a treat. Lately I’ve also really been into linzer cookies (there’s a fantastic recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website that I’ve baked a few times now!)
Who was the hardest character to write and why?
This is tough! I’d say Bandur was the hardest to write. The demons that I conceived in the Blood of Stars duology are inspired by East Asian mythology, but they definitely are not true to the legends and folktales I grew up reading, and it was tricky coming up with my own set of dark, evil creatures. Writing villains has never come naturally to me, and I often worry that mine are too one dimensional and flat. It’s something I want to keep working on!
Did you have to do any research for this duology that you couldn’t include?
I did a lot of research on the routes and currency used along the Silk Road, which I ended up not using in Spin the Dawn since it would have mostly been filler! I did really love researching the Chinese schools of embroidery though, and that had a large role in how I conceived Maia’s designs in the books.
How has the process of commissioning art/swag been for you?
I love it!! I love art and wish I were better at it, so it’s an utter joy for me to collaborate with artists on swag for my books. I actually start contacting artists almost a year before release, mostly because I know people get busy and booked up, and the process of putting together a swag pack is something I take pretty seriously. In a way, it’s my reward for months of grueling on my manuscript and a way to see my characters come to life!
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.