Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Local Girl Gains Fame With Book

The Gainesville Sun July 12, 2007

Local Girl Gains Fame With Book by Ashley Hoffman

While many middle school students are enjoying a respite from analyzing story plots and characters, 13-year-old Alachua County author Nancy Yi Fan will appear on NBC's "Today" show on Friday to discuss her book "Swordbird".

"I'm really excited to be on the Today show," said Nancy, whose book was recently added to Al Roker's Al's Book Club For Kids reading list. "Years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of something like this."

HarperCollins published Nancy's book in the U.S. and U.K. in February. People's Literature Publishing House, one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in China, released a bilingual English-Chinese version of "Swordbird" in March that Nancy translated herself.

"I fell very glad Al Roker has chosen my book," she said. "I think that it's an encouragement to other kids who strive to write."

Al's Book Club, which launched in May, encourages summer reading among children 8 to 13 years old. The show invites guest authors to talk about their books and has an online forum where young readers can post their comments and read excerpts of te monthly selections.

Following her television appearance, Nancy will be back home in Florida for local book events.

"I think it's fantastic that somebody local is generating so much news and at such a young age," said Katherine Tarbox, Jonesberry Books owner, where Nancy will hold a book signing July 21.

In her book, Nancy used cardinals, blue jays and a tyrannical hawk to deliver her messages of freedom.

"Birds are very free. They have wings and they can fly all over the world," Nancy said. "I wanted my story to stress peace and freedom."

Nancy said she begins the writing process by mapping out the plot with illustrations that inspire her prose.

"After I draw something, I can describe everything better, she said. "The picture can form again in my mind and the minds of the readers."

It's back to the drawing board for Nancy who is currently sketching out her second book, which will be a prequel to "Swordbird".

"My second book is about what makes a hero," she said. "A hero is something a lot of kids nowadays ask themselves how to be. Everybody wants to aim high an achieve high, but behind every hero, there is a terrible struggle."