A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with Deborah Cooke, Author of Flying Blind!

Today I'd like to welcome Deborah Cooke, author of Flying Blind: The Dragon Diaries, the first book in a new series about shape-shifting humans trying to control their "inner dragons". Deborah stopped by to discuss the book with us, which recently released on June 7th. Be sure and check out my contest to win an ARC of Flying Blind as well. 

Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns. Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honors degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels, and has written over thirty romance novels under the names Claire Cross and Claire Delacroix.
Official Website


1. Zoe Sorensson  is a girl trying to “fly blind” in a world where other find it effortless to conjure and control their dragons.  As the only female dragon shape shifter with special powers, what would you say is the hardest thing about being Zoe?

Having no references and no one to ask for advice. I think it really bugs her that she can't just look up Wyvern and get an itemized list of what she should be able to do, maybe some tips on how to accomplish it.

2.If you had to name a theme song to sum up Zoe’s personality, what song would you pick and why?

I was listening to a lot of old music when I wrote this book. The one song that ran in my head for Zoë was Queen's first hit, KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE. It's a song that to me seems to be about being careful what you wish for.

3. With your history degree and special focus on medieval studies, can you share with us some interesting research tidbits about dragon folklore you’ve encountered along the way?

Probably the most interesting thing is that medieval people believed that dragons were real. They lived off the edges of the maps ("here be dragones") or in Africa, where all sorts of strange creatures were known to live. Any hero worth his salt had to have killed one in a fierce battle, and a lot of medical remedies were made of dragon components - dragon's blood, or dragon skin. Saints also confronted dragons and were eaten alive by them - or defeated them with the sign of the cross.

The other interesting thing about dragon lore is that most cultures in the world tell stories about dragons. Maybe they are real!

4. You are the author of the adult series Dragonfire and have written over thirty romance novels under the pseudonyms Claire Cross and Claire Delacroix. What made you want to venture into the Young Adult genre? Would you say it’s been more challenging than writing for adults?

I followed Zoë's story into the YA genre. In the adult Dragonfire series, there is only one female dragon shifter at a time, called the Wyvern. The current Wyvern died in book #$3 of that series, which was KISS OF FATE. And so the child conceived in that book turned out to be a girl, not a boy, and was named Zoë. The idea was that she would ultimately become the new Wyvern. It took me a while to realize that Zoë's powers would manifest at puberty - the guy dragons come into their powers at puberty - which meant that her teenage years would be particularly challenging. I thought her coming of age story would be fun to write, but it was only when I realized that she'd be turning 16, in high school, keeping her dragon identity secret from her friends, etc. etc., that I saw it as a YA trilogy. So, it wasn't so much that I wanted to write YA, as that I wanted to tell Zoë's story and her story was a YA.

I like writing different kinds of stories, so I wouldn't say this series was more challenging. The structure of the story is different, as it is the story of Zoë's journey - while the Dragonfire books are romances. She became more clear to me when I wrote in first person, so that's a difference from my romances, too. Writing YA was actually more similar to writing women's fiction for me, specifically the four Coxwell books I wrote as Claire Cross. The first two of those were in first person, as well, which is one of my favourite writing tools.

5.Winging It, the second book in the series is currently scheduled to release in December 2011. Can you give us any insider scoop on what we can look forward to next for Zoe,  rocker Jared and best friend Meagan?

Trouble! One of my favourite things to do to characters is challenge their expectations. Zoë's will be challenged in a big way in this next book - and again in the third one. Essentially, as she becomes more adept with her abilities, she needs bigger challenges in order to grow even more. I really like the dynamic between her and her father in WINGING IT. It was only a matter of time before two dragons in one house became too hot to handle.
 Flying Blind (Dragon Diaries, #1)

Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries Book 1)
by Deborah Cooke  (June 7, 2011)

The next generation of shape-shifting dragons from the popular author of the Dragonfire novels.

Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal, except she's been told she's destined for great things. Zoë's the one female dragon shapeshifter of her kind. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr and her powers are AWOL, so she's sent to a Pyr boot camp.

Zoë quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line-unless Zoë and her friends can work together and save their own kind.

Check out The Teen Book Scene for more tour stops on the Flying Blind Tour.


Bere said...

Fantastic interview, Kim! Flying Blind sounds awesome. I cannot wait to pick it up. Also, I love the cover! It's great how Zoë's story was born. I'm not familiar with Cooke's other works but I will definitely be looking into them. Thanks, Kim! =)

A.M Bells said...

Cool interview ^_^. I really enjoyed the book. I'm pondering on whether to read the Dragonfire series.

Denise Z said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview today. I have been following this book and would really love to read it.