July 8

‘You have much sorrow and trouble ahead of you.’

Princess Rina V of Occorom has been promised in marriage to Prince Hangree of Airegla. But she doesn’t want to marry him; he’s vain, selfish, and greedy—not at all princely. She’s sure if she marries him, all will end in disaster. Forced to take desperate measures to avoid the marriage, she writes her parents, King Bertram and Queen Hope, to tell them she won’t marry Prince Hangree. She runs away, hoping to find refuge in the mountains with the dragons. There, she meets the dragon Roozan, and they immediately connect.

When Rina’s kidnapped by ogres and Roozan tries and fails to save her, the elves of the forest come to their rescue. One of the elves, who is more than she seems, warns Rina of trouble to come. Rina soon discovers her past is not what she thought it was, and her future is in jeopardy. Rina is caught up in a nightmare, and only speed and friendship will save her from a terrible fate. As time catches up with her, she must decide which path to follow and what part of her she can bear to lose. Find out what Rina decides in Dragon’s Heart.

 

I started this book when I was eleven.  I was sitting at my desk in my room, looking out the window at the blue sky and somehow came up with the thought: What if there was this girl who looked half-way dragon?  I quickly got out a piece of paper and drew a girl with claws, scales, wings, and a tail.  I supposed this to be the result of her falling in love with a dragon. So then I had to think out how this came about.

I then spent a year writing it.  The most exciting and memorable part was finshing it.  I remember it was dark in the den, with only the glare of the screen and the yellow light of the old green lamp.  It set the right mood.  I wrote and wrote until dinner, and then rushed back up stairs as soon as I could.  My heart was pounding; this was the first time I had ever finished a story!  My hands were shaking and I could hardly spell right.  It was the most freeing experience ever!  My soul felt like it was on wings!  Every first-time writer’s greatest dream is to finally finish a story.  We try idea after idea, and most of them come to nothing more than a few scribbled paragraphs, yet this was finally coming true.

After that, I left it awhile.  I was so ready to publish, but you know how it is.  My family was busy and my father is always slow with things like that, which is sometimes okay, sometimes annoying, but always good.  It checks me in my many whims and impulses.  But anywho, we finally got back to it and my dad, mother, and older sister read through it and edited it many times.  Finally, we deemed it was ready, and we started looking for a publisher, and found Tate.  We thought and checked cautiously, and finally submitted.  The rest is history…

This story was greatly influenced by Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons, which you may notice.  Rina’s appearance was much the same as Cimorene’s, and Rina running away from home because of an awful marriage and going a dragon was the same as Cimorene, though different in many respects.

The original story changed a great deal, and was changing almost constantly until I had to decide on a final version for Tate to end the editing phase and move on.  I couldn’t change it after that.  Talk about pressure!

Let me list some of the changes:

1. Appearance- I first had her described as tall, thin, and tan, and with black hair and green eyes.  Later, deciding that too much like Cimorene, I made her look something like me.  Then again later, I decided I didn’t like that and returned to the original idea, not remembering why I had rejected it.  Rina is actually only described once, and not even directly.  Do you know when?

2. Family- Her father’s name was actually first Benard, but it seems I forgot I already had a name for him, and called him Bertram instead.  Rina also had a grandmother, Helen, who is mentioned, but is dead.  She originally had a great role to play with helping Rina out of the marriage, and being on her side, but she simply faded out of the picture.  Her relationship with her mother was very ‘rocky’, and her mother was extremely bossy and refused to back down in any circumstance.  However, although they still bump heads because of the stubborn nature they both share, they got along much better.

3. Animals- Rina was supposed to have a lot of pets, and they were able to speak.  She later does speak to some birds, but that is for reasons I cannot say if you have not read the book.  She was to have a dog, Griffin; a cat, Shade; and horse named Bloom.  Bloom was later replaced by Dominoh.  Also, I toyed with the idea of having Shade be the one who listened in on the king’s and queen’s conversation and told Rina about it, but I decided I didn’t like all these animals and their talking ability.

4. Attitude- Rina’s attitude changed a great deal.  She was very rebellious, kinda rude actually, and often bored; she frequently argued with her parents.  Then I found her telling me that though she was head-strong, she was a little nicer than that and loved her family very much.  She had more graceful manners, though she did tend to go her own way.

5. Hobbies- Her hobbies were initially sword practice, riding, reading, exploring, drawing, and playing out adventures when she was younger.  In comparison, she never learned the sword, she didn’t really explore, she never drew, and her imagination is actually much more tame, though still very lively.  She enjoyed riding, loved reading, and playing out adventures never came into the picture since her childhood is not much dwelt on.  Furthermore, she was supposed to join in on tournaments and magic ‘duals’.  Nothing came of this though.

Now for some more fun facts:

1. Occorom was originally known as Washi.

2. Rina’s last name, though not mentioned, is Ryu, meaning dragon in Japanese.

3. The name Hangree is a combination of Handsome and Greedy, and was also built off of angry.

4. Rina is afraid of fire until she starts changing.

5. I wrote Chapter Six first.

6. I wrote the beginning on paper, but it never got to be typed; I typed a totally different beginning.  The paper version began with her as a young child and a description of her rowdy habits.

7. Elizabeth of the horse farm is actually named after a real lady I met while skiing, and brief though the meeting was, I told her I would use her name in my book.  So I did.

Dragon’s Heart is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Tate Publishing.  Please, write a review!