Welcome to my tour stop for The Dragon Scale Lute by J.C. Kang! This is a mature young adult multicultural epic fantasy. The tour runs April 4-15 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
For a limited time The Dragon Scale Lute is on sale for only .99 cents for Kindle!
Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan-- Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)-- discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
A Chinese Medicine Doctor and Martial Artist by trade, JC Kang would have never started writing fantasy stories save for two fluke coincidences.
In the Christmas of 2010, while cleaning out childhood junk from his mom’s house, he came across his old Dungeons and Dragons campaign world. Before relegating the binder of maps and notes to the trash where it belonged, he decided to peek back and see what his 13-year old self had created.
He couldn’t help but laugh at the silly ideas that had crossed his teenage brain. Rivers flowed uphill. Empires produced resources out of thin air. However, a few interesting premises had potential.
For the next six days, he redesigned his world, taking into account things he’d learned over the last 25 years. Advanced stuff like gravity, evolution, and supply and demand.
On the seventh day, he rested. Looking at his glorious creation, he was hit by the realization that he’d never play D&D again.
A month later, the second event occurred: three weeks of major snowstorms. Stuck indoors for days at a time, he used his skills as a professional technical writer and pumped out a 120k word novel set in this world… only to find out that fiction writing and technical writing were two different beasts.
He set off to study the craft, and learned advanced ideas like characterization, point of view and tension. After revising the first book, he wrote a prequel. After the prequel, he wrote a sequel. And finally, he wrote the prequel to the prequel: the Dragon Scale Lute.
What gave you the inspiration for this book?
My inspiration for writing The Dragon Scale Lute, a multicultural epic fantasy, goes back to my geek roots. For me, the gates to Geekdom were the front doors of a movie theater. I saw Star Wars for the first time there, at the tender age of seven. My brother soon helped secure my residency status by reading me The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit. In middle school, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, thereby beginning the naturalization process. Not long after, Geekdom granted me full citizenship when I demonstrated mastery of Elvish from the appendices of the Lord of the Rings (and proved I’d actually read the Silmarillion).
Of course, unless you were a member of the Trekkie faction, Geekdom’s holy codices and founding documents featured almost all-Caucasian heroes. That was fine for a Chinese-American kid growing up in the urban South, who just wanted to fit in. I didn’t care that characters who looked like me were more likely to be the villain or a Red Shirt sidekick. When I went to create my own D&D fantasy world, I modelled it after concepts I’d read or seen, including exclusively Northern European characters and cultures.
Fast forward twenty-some years (through a dark age when I hid my Geekdom passport, only occasionally exchanging Vulcan greetings with other nerds). While cleaning out stuff from my parents’ home, I unearthed my old fantasy world. I laughed at the liberties my teenage self had taken with gravity and economics, and shuddered at the ubiquity of humans in it. However, I liked a few of the underlying ideas.
Feeling my Geekdom nationalism stirring, I remade the world; only this time, I used diverse ethnicities and gave each their own sphere of magic. I considered how their proximities would influence each other culturally, religiously, and technologically.
On the seventh day, I rested. In that moment of deep contemplation, I realized I would never play D&D again.
Instead, I decided to write. I’d lived in Asia and California for a decade, and had watched plenty of Samurai dramas, Wuxia flicks, and Korean romantic comedies. With two daughters, who I hoped would feel proud of their ethnic heritage after I smuggled them into Geekdom, I started with an action adventure love story set in the Asian part of the world. In the span of three weeks, I pumped out a 150,000 word novel. I submitted a chapter from my masterpiece, expecting rave reviews.
It got ripped to shreds.
It turned out my offering to Geekdom read like Ikea furniture instructions, only without pictures—the result of years working as a technical writer and editor. Still, as a true patriot, I refused to surrender. I dove headfirst into learning the craft. Through critiquing and revising, and with the help of awesome crit partners, I discovered my stinking hot mess lacked minor details like consistent Point of View, Narrative Distance, Pacing, and Dramatic Tension.
I heavily revised that first book, then wrote a prequel and a sequel. Not satisfied with the start, I drew upon the Trekkie Cult and wrote a prequel to the prequel. That is the Dragon Scale Lute, hopefully an honorable addition to the Great Library of Geekdom, which honors both my ethnic and geek roots.
One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
One (1) winner will receive a paperback copy of The Dragon Scale Lute (US)
Ends April 20, 2016
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 18. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.