Five Questions for Jessica Day George
Amazon.com: In fantasy novels, dragons are typically fierce and fearsome. In Dragon Slippers however, Shardas and Feniul are peaceful, caring creatures who are dangerous only under the sway of human control. What was your inspiration for re-imagining this legendary species?
Jessica Day George: I had a number of imaginary friends growing up, all of them talking animals: a wolf, some horses, a tiger. And a dragon. Oh, I wanted a dragon for a friend so badly! (Still do!) There are books where the dragon is not the bad guy (Anne McCaffrey, Gordon Dickson), but I wanted still more. I wanted the dragons to have their own lives: friends, hobbies, food allergies. I saw no reason why large, magical, intelligent creatures couldn't be just like humans--only scaly and winged. If humans can be good or evil, vain or kind, why can't dragons?
Amazon.com: Your descriptions of Creel’s "fancywork" are so rich with detail and color that I have to believe that you must be an expert sewer yourself. Are you? Can you tell us more about why you chose this particular talent for your heroine?
Jessica Day George: I can sew, although I doubt very much a duchess would hire me to make her a gown! Creel sprang into my head as a fully formed personality with her own talents and opinions firmly intact, I just knew that her name was Creel, she had freckles, and she wanted to be a dressmaker. The "fancywork" developed as a way for her to pay homage to her friend Shardas and his collection.
Amazon.com: Why do the dragons in Dragon Slippers hoard treasured human possessions like shoes and dogs instead of gold? Shardas’ collection of beautiful stained glass is particularly unique--does this tell us anything about his true nature?
Jessica Day George: People collect all kinds of crazy things: spoons, stamps, books. I once lived next door to a woman with sixty (yep, 6-0) toy poodles. So why should dragons not all hoard the same thing? Why not tapestries or pets or shoes? And what makes Creel and Shardas such good friends, I think, is that they both have a good eye for color and form. They can both appreciate the way colors combine, the way light changes the look of things and plays off the colors.
Amazon.com: Of all the fantasy literature you’ve read, is there a particular author who inspired you to write your own novel? What would be your top five favorite books in the genre?
Jessica Day George: The first time I read Robin McKinley's Damar novels (The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword) I thought "Yes! This is what goes on in my head! I could do this!" If I had to narrow it down to five favorites (only five?!), I would say: Beauty by Robin McKinley, Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams, His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. (Those all count as one big book, right?)
Amazon.com: What’s next in store for Creel and Luka? Will they have more dragon adventures in your next book?
Jessica Day George: My next book is not connected to Dragon Slippers at all, but the one after that will be a sequel. I hate to spoil any surprises, but we will get to see what happens when a dragon turns evil (of its own free will). There are also two weddings, Marta gets a pet monkey, and Feniul falls in love.
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