Questions By You! Answers By Me! :)

Hello all!

I figured in honor of book 4’s birthday, I’d tackle a few questions from some of the wonderful readers who’ve emailed me.  Because YOU ARE AWESOME, that’s why.  🙂

The Night Kingdom

Who does the Wings of Fire art?
The cover artist (who also did the “NightWing Guide” illustrations) is Joy Ang, and I agree with all of you who wrote in to say that she is a GLORIOUS GENIUS.  I couldn’t possibly love these covers more!  She’s just amazing.

Some of you wanted to know if there was any way to get prints or posters of the cover art.  This sounds like a brilliant idea!  It is not up to me, I’m afraid, but I will definitely pass the request along to Scholastic and let you know if they come up with something.  I imagine there are Things To Figure Out and Stuff before they could do something like that, but it would be very very cool!

Another, related question was: Do you get a say in what the covers look like?

And the answer is: more than I usually do, actually!  Scholastic has been really wonderful about asking me for input, both in the concept stage and then once we’re looking at sketches.  Usually I don’t have much to say, though, because everything that comes from Joy is already brilliant!  (I think my usual feedback is YES PERFECT THIS PLUS ADD MOOOOOORE DRAGONS PLEASE!)  And of course it’s easy to figure out who the main dragon on each cover should be, as well as the background.

Which brings us to another related question!: On the first book, why is Clay in the Sky Kingdom instead of the Mud Kingdom, when everyone else is in their natural habitat?

Hmm, excellent question!  I think the idea here was that (a) we wanted the art to look as dramatic as possible, and (b) he spends so much more of the book in the Sky Kingdom than the Mud Kingdom.  And Clay is pretty agreeable; he doesn’t mind what his background is.  (Whereas Glory and Tsunami might have had something fierce and opinionated to say about it, right?)  😉

What is your dog’s name?
Ooo, I like easy questions!  🙂  Her name is Sunshine, she’s part yorkie and part poodle (she’s totally a yoodle), and she’s absolutely wonderful.  She puts up with all kinds of small person madness in this house, where she used to be queen of everything.  Her superpowers include (1) finding the snuggliest place in the room, (2) knowing where I am in the house at all times, and (3) snorging up any fallen cheese practically before it hits the floor (there has to be one upside to living with these madcap midgets, after all).  It is a smidgen possible that Sunny the dragon may have been named in her honor.  😉

Will there ever be a Wings of Fire movie?
I think it’s pretty lovely that I’m starting to get this question nearly as often as I get the “will there ever be a Warriors movie?” question.  Oh, beloved readers, if it were up to me, of course there would be a Wings of Fire movie!  There would also be a TV show and a video game and action figures and little stuffed dragons I could give my kids (or hoard for myself, mwa ha ha) and a whole Pyrrhia theme park!  Can you imagine?  (Don’t imagine too hard, like I just did, or dragons might pop out of your ears.)  (Not that that just happened over here or anything.)

Unfortunately, I am not the boss of all these things, as I do not have a movie studio or stuffed dragon factory at my disposal.  Somebody who actually makes movies (or TV shows, or video games, or little stuffed anythings) would have to call my publisher or my agent and ask for permission to use my story/characters, and then there would be oodles of negotiating (not by me, I say yes to everything, which is why I have an agent to save me from myself).  And then even if we all said yes and signed contracts, there would be lots of other steps and people involved in the process before an actual movie could happen.

Believe me, if authors were the ones who could decide to turn their books into movies, we’d have a lot more book-movies out there!

So the only answer I can give you is: well, I’d love that, and if you’re Steven Spielberg, please call me.  But for now, no one is making a Wings of Fire movie.  (Or movies of any of my other books, as far as I know!)

What’s the title of book five?  And when is it coming out?
Now that book five is actually written (whew!), I think it’s safe to tell you that it is called The Brightest Night and it’s supposed to come out in April 2014.  Only six months away!  (Ack!)  I promise I’m writing as fast as I can!  🙂

Is there any way to get a signed book from you?
You could come to one of my signings (watch this space for more coming soon!), although I admit that’s not very helpful for anyone outside of New England or NYC.  You could also send me a bookplate (tell me who to personalize it to!) and a self-addressed stamped envelope through Scholastic:

Tui Sutherland
c/o Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999

and I will do my best to send it back asap!  Please don’t send me entire books, though, as they might get lost, or they might sit in my house for months because I never have time to go to the post office.  (If they were open in the middle of the night it’d be much more likely!)

I’ll see if I can figure out a more clever and savvy way to handle the signed-books question, though; if I do, I’ll let you know!

That address is also where you can send me any snail mail, by the way — I hope one day I’ll have a system for answering it all!  Right now the system is: I open it! I read it! I love your letters so much! I immediately want to send back the longest most excited response! and then my editor emails me “WHERE IS BOOK FIVE AHEM DEADLINE WAS TWO MONTHS AGO AHEM AHEM AHEM” and I have to run back to my computer and work instead.  Or my one-year-old decides he ABSOLUTELY MUST tell me the MOST IMPORTANT AND FASCINATING story about a digger and a bulldozer and pigs and Starbucks RIGHT THAT MINUTE so I have to go listen to that instead.  Or my three-year-old loses his mind because his Star Wars action figures won’t stand up by themselves OMG EPIC CRISIS OF THE CENTURY and then I have to go read him Doreen Cronin typing cow books until he calms down.  I’m sorry!  That is the state of my house right now.  One day I imagine I will have eons of time for other things.  Like perhaps when they both leave for college, so keep hoping, because you may get a response in eighteen years!  La la la!

(All right, I will TRY to do better than that!)

(And yes, among the one-year-old’s first twenty words was, most definitely and clearly: “Starbucks.”  I could try to share the blame with my nanny for this, but the truth is . . . it’s the three-year-old’s fault.)  😉

Are you getting my emails?  Are you?  Are you?  Are you?  🙂
I am!  I swear!  Especially if you are Megan (you are TOO FUNNY) — hi Megan!  Hi Alissa!  Hi Kalyb!  Hi Pauline!  Hi Ben!  Hi Marisa and Abby and Sadie!  Hi Katy!  (Katy, I can’t believe you’ve already finished book 4!  And that you’re awake at the same time as me, judging from your last message.  Thank you for the awesome review of The Menagerie on your blog!  Am I allowed to link to it from here?)  Also, Megan, I tried to watch the trailer video on your site and it said I didn’t have permission.  Ack!  Despair!  What can I do?  I’d love to see it!

Who is your favorite dragon?
Oh man, this totally changes from day to day . . . maybe from hour to hour.  I really love writing Glory (and Deathbringer!) — I kind of want to be her, and I love writing characters who actually say all the sarcastic things that pop into my head, which I would NEVER say because in real life I am much more of a Sunny.  But I also love Sunny very much because I get her and that’s absolutely how I would react if I found out I was in a prophecy (HOORAY!  Let’s go save the world!  Best destiny ever!).

And I love Clay because loyal big brother types are my FAVORITE kinds of heroes, and I keep imagining my own little bear being this kind of sweet, protective, funny big brother one day.  I mean, he is sometimes even now, but most of the time he’s a bit more like Tsunami, in the sense of hollering a lot, bossing everyone around, and occasionally sitting on people who disagree with him (i.e. the little brother).  However, I think this says less about his inherent character, and more about the fact that Tsunami is kind of a giant three-year-old sometimes.  (Aw, you know I love her anyway.)

As for Starflight, of course I love him, because I’d always have my nose in a scroll too, if I were a dragon!

And then there are the other characters — I especially love nonstop chatterbox Kinkajou, lunatic dreamer Fatespeaker, and mildly sociopathic Peril.  And I have big plans for a SandWing dragonet you’ll meet briefly in book five . . . now that my littler bear is becoming such a hilarious comedic firecracker, I think he clearly needs a dragon modeled after him, too!

Wait, what?  Big plans?  As in future plans?  WHAAAAT?

Will there be more Wings of Fire books after book five?  
MAAAAAAAAYBE.  And I think that’s all I can say about that.  (Wink! wink!)

More tomorrow!  Which, OK, is technically today for some of you, but for me it’s still Tuesday, because I’ll be up working for at least another three hours.  So it still counts!  I swear!

Quote of the Day:  “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin