Today we are chatting with G.Z. Schmidt, author of
Read on for more about G.Z., her book, and giveaway!
Meet G.Z. Schmidt!
Gail Zhuang Schmidt was born in Beijing, China, and grew up in the United States, where she was inspired by the works of Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Louis Sachar, and many others. Her middle grade novels with Holiday House include No Ordinary Thing and The Dreamweavers. She now lives with her husband and their tuxedo cat in Southern California, where she dreams up stories and keeps an eye out for the Jade Rabbit . . . just in case. Visit her at gzwrites.com.
Meet The Dreamweavers!
Twin siblings journey through the City of Ashes and visit the Jade Rabbit to save their grandpa in this Chinese folklore-inspired fantasy adventure.
Since their parents’ strange disappearance several years ago, 12-year-old twins Mei and Yun have been raised by their grandfather, who makes the best mooncakes around using a secret ingredient. On the day of the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival, the emperor sends his son to sample Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes–but instead of tasting wonderful, they are horrible and bitter, strangely mirroring the odd, gloomy atmosphere and attitudes that have been washing over the village in the last few days. Grandpa is arrested for insulting and harming the prince, and Mei and Yun realize they are the only two people who will come to Grandpa’s aid. The twins set out on foot for the long journey to the emperor’s palace where Grandpa’s being taken, but a surprising stop in the eerie City of Ashes, a visit with the legendary, mystical Jade Rabbit, and an encounter with a powerful poet whose enchanted words spread curses, influence just how Mei and Yun will manage to clear their grandfather’s name.
~ Author Chat ~
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The idea first came to me as an image in my head, of a fisherman who fished upon the clouds. I thought, “What if instead of fishing for fish, he was fishing for DREAMS?” Given this basis, I knew I wanted it to be set in ancient China, surrounded by magic and mystical folklore. The book references popular Chinese mythology that I learned as a kid, including the famous Jade Rabbit, a mythical creature who lives on the moon.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character changes depending on my mood. I admire Princess Zali a lot. She’s one of the royal members of the imperial palace that the main characters meet. Princess Zali is sharp, independent, and designs her own weapons from scratch, which is very neat.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
The one thing I’ve learned about writing is there are no rules. There are rules you learn when you first start out, like how people say to stick to one POV, or how your manuscript should never have a prologue. I think those rules are important to know as a beginner, but once you’ve written a lot and gotten a feel for things, think of them more as guidelines instead of law, and then you can start bending them to your style.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the traditional Chinese art style it evokes. The artist, Feifei Ruan, did an amazing job with the colors and the detail. The cover really captures that mystical, dream-like feel of the story. (Also, I love the way the stars literally sparkle on the hardcover edition!)
What’s on your TBR pile?
My TBR pile is forever growing! Ack! I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Midnight Library and have been meaning to check that out. In terms of middle grade books, I’m looking forward to reading Shannon Hale’s new book in her Best Friends series. As a kid, I loved reading school stories, and Hale’s books capture the angst and anxiety of navigating fifth/sixth grade so much that I feel like I’ve time traveled.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I recently read Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime. It’s an autobiography about his experiences growing up during the apartheid era in South Africa. It’s incredible what he went through, and I highly recommend the book.
What’s up next for you?
I’m currently writing a Gothic-inspired, middle grade mystery about a reclusive family in the woods who invites people over for Halloween. If you loved reading The Westing Game, then hang tight!
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising is infinitely easier, in my opinion. The initial drafting, the process of creating the story from scratch, can be brutal. Once you have the bare bones down, it’s much easier to move things around, embellish scene, and add stuff. The first draft for The Dreamweavers was nowhere as good as the final product. That’s also why it’s important not to compare your first draft with the books that are already in bookstores. Those have gone through intense edits and revisions!
What advice would you give to new writers?
Keep writing. Writing, like anything else, takes practice. Don’t be afraid to write a new story if your current manuscript is not gaining traction. You can always use parts of your previous ideas for new stories.
Author: G.Z. Schmidt
Publisher: Holiday House
Publish Date: September 14th, 2021
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*