Saturday, April 21, 2007

Question Time with Nancy Yi Fan

First News (UK)
Question Time with Nancy Yi Fan (April 21, 2007)

The thirteen year old author of Swordbird, Nancy Yi Fan, shares the secrets of her success, reminding us all to have a goal... be determined... and go for it!

Can you tell us about your book "Swordbird"?
Swordbird is about how the cardinals and blue jays of Stone-Run Forest are tricked into becoming enemies by an evil hawk tyrant, Turnatt. He uses crows to enslave the forest birds. But then the heroic bird of peace, Swordbird comes to the rescue and freedom returns to the birds of the forest.
Can you tell us the story of how you got your book published?
I researched names and email addresses of publishers. Once my final draft of SWORDBIRD was finished, I took a deep breath and sent my manuscript. One of the recipients was President Jane Friedman, the CEO of Harper Collins. She sent my email and manuscript to the children's division at Harper Collins. It was an amazing stroke of good fortune.
How did it feel to see your book printed and in the shops?
I was teary and excited. I could scarcely believe it when I held the bound book in my hands for the first time. In fact, I felt as if I were flying in the sky. It was an incredible moment. I will never forget it.
What inspired you to write "Swordbird"?
In Social Studies class we were learning about the American Revolution and terrorist attacks. That night, I had a dream about birds that were fighting each other. When I woke up, I wanted to write about the birds in my dream, why they were fighting, and how they became friends again. I wanted to express the importance of peace and freedom. My story got longer and longer. Before I knew it, I was writing a book.
How has having your book published changed your life?
Well, it hasn't really changed anything. I still love to write and read and draw. However, I know that because of SWORDBIRD, I have lots of new opportunities and adventures waiting for me.
Are any of the characters in your books based on people you know?
Some of the characters are based on my family and friends, and my pet birds of course.
What would you like your readers to think and feel after they've read your book?
Well, I want by book to bring a message about the importance of peace and freedom in the world to readers. I thought that writing a novel about birds was the best way to convey this message. Birds have wings and can go anywhere they want to go. I think birds are the freest and happiest animals in the world. It would be utterly sad if birds lost their freedom to fly.
What advice would you give to young writers?
You should have a goal and be determined. And then, go for it.
What is your favourite subject at school and why?
My favourite subject in school is Language Arts, of course. I have always loved writing stories and poems and reading.
If you could pass a new law, what would it be?
I would pass a law that would help prevent the poaching of wild birds and help protect their habitat. Birds are such celestial creatures. We should preserve them so that new generations could be fascinated by their everlasting magic.