Saturday, April 21, 2007

13-year-old author writes of freedom and peace

Bolingbrook Sun


13-year-old author writes of freedom and peace
February 1, 2007
By Mike Mitchell,
Staff Writer

A weekly column on appearances at Anderson's Bookshop in downtown Naperville.
By 11 years old, Nancy Yi Fan had written and published her first book - in her second language, English.
Yi Fan, now 13, will admit that she is an overachiever but insists that she is no different from any other student.

"I really didn't want to tell my classmates about it (the book) because I wanted to learn and be like everyone else in school," said Yi Fan, author of the new children's adventure book "Swordbird."
"At first I thought it was going to be a short story," said Yi Fan, who was born in China and moved to America at age 7.
"But I started to write about the issues of freedom and peace, and I realized that those cannot be expressed in a few words. It takes a long time, and a lot of pages."
Fan said she came up with the idea for the book after a dream about birds quarreling.
Her dream occurred shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In "Swordbird," a sinister hawk turns tribes of cardinals and bluejays against each other. The result is years of senseless war, which puts their forest in jeopardy.
Only a magical bird, known as a swordbird, can restore peace.
Yi Fan said a lot of people told her that her chances of being published weren't good and that she should have more realistic expectations.
Fortunately, children don't limit their expectations.
"They said a lot of stuff about agents ... but I believed in luck. I was stubborn. I searched for e-mail addresses of publishers and began to e-mail them," Yi Fan said.
"A few months later, one of the recipients of my (e-mails), Harper Collins, told me she really liked it.
Yi Fan's dreams had become a reality.
"They informed me that they were going to publish it. It was unbelievable," Yi Fan said. "After a few days, the seriousness just sank in. I realized what was going on. I was a little hyper and I began to celebrate.
"I have pet birds and they were chirping, so I gave them a bunch of birdfeed. ... We were all celebrating."