Author Elizabeth Lim’s stories in the Legends of Lor’yan series are legendary! We asked her to share how she draws inspiration from existing myths and legends to create her own epic stories. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at her writing process.
Hi! I’m Elizabeth Lim, the author of the Legends of Lor’yan series. I grew up mostly in California with a ten-year-old goldfish, a younger sister, and lots of Star Wars action figures. Before becoming a writer, I was a serious musician and worked briefly as a video game and film composer. The first story that I remember writing was a Sweet Valley High fanfic about a lost necklace, and now I write YA fantasies that are inspired by my favorite fairy tales and legends!
Where did you draw inspiration from?
When I was growing up, I was obsessed with fairy tales, folktales, and mythology from around the world. I’d go to the library and check out every book in the section. Now when I start writing a book, I often make a list of things that I love. With my first book, Spin the Dawn, the list came out to something like this: family, food, fashion, Mulan, fairy tales. From there, I cobbled together the outline of a simple story, and chose a few of my favorite fairy tales (Donkeyskin and East of the Sun) as inspirations for the book. Then, and this is the most fun part, I set out writing as though I were creating my own legend.
What do you think makes something legendary?
To me, a legend involves a hero and an extraordinary journey. The hero doesn’t have to be a king or a knight or even a valiant person—in fact, many of the heroes that I’ve written have been characters that aren’t warriors or royalty. Maia Tamarin, for instance, is a tailor. Shiori is a princess, but she has no fighting abilities or other skills of note, at least to begin with. But both characters are deemed heroes through the enormous trials that they face—demons, curses, impossible tasks, wars—and how such journeys change them.
How does Legends of Lor’yan fit with Her Radiant Curse?
Her Radiant Curse takes place before the events of Six Crimson Cranes, in a different land, before Raikama was Shiori’s stepmother and before she became a queen. I actually started writing Her Radiant Curse before I even conceived of Six Crimson Cranes, so in a way, Channi’s tale is the original legend of the series. And Channi is definitely legendary—she’s cursed with the face of a serpent, and her journey is to save her sister from the Demon Witch. No easy task, even with the help of a dragon and a snake. Channi is the character dearest to my heart, so I’m excited for her to join the Legends of Lor’yan.
Do you have a favorite moment from the Legends of Lor’yan? (No spoilers!)
I have so many favorites! Gosh, if I were to pick two that aren’t spoiler-y, I’d say the opening to Six Crimson Cranes, when Shiori is drowning in the lake and meets a dragon, and from Spin the Dawn, when Maia finds out that the scissors her father gave her are magical.