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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Story Secrets: DRAGONS OF NOOR by Janet Lee Carey

Hooray, the dragons are on the shelf! I'm very very very excited (can you tell how excited I am?) to invite my dear friend Janet Lee Carey, one of the most amazing authors and one of my own mentors, to Story Secrets today to talk about her latest YA fantasy, DRAGONS OF NOOR.

It's epic. It's wonderful. I've been incredibly fortunate to get to hear this book from the very beginning, so it's like watching a beloved niece or nephew go off to high school. It's here!

You must read it.

Plus, if you are in the Seattle area, you can come to the launch party at Kirkland Parkplace Books on Saturday, October 23rd, at 7pm!

Ok, enough strongarming...er, recommending. But Janet is wonderful. She contributed to my Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market article, "Telling Your Secrets!" She's the author of STEALING DEATH and DRAGONSKEEP. You will love them.

Welcome, Janet!


Miles, Hanna, and Taunier are swept into a new adventure in the haunting sequel to THE BEAST OF NOOR. The tale begins when a mysterious wind steals Miles’s and Hanna’s younger brother Tymm. Tymm and other wind-stolen children are swept east across the sea. The three teens sail after Tymm blown by the wind into a Dragon war. Siding with the Dragons of Noor fighting to save the ancient trees is the only way to bridge the broken worlds, the only way to reach the missing children.

Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story – how did you come up with the idea for DRAGONS?

Janet Lee Carey: THE DRAGONS OF NOOR began with a daydream. In a kind of trance, I saw a mysterious wind sweep in, steal a child and blow him across the sky. I followed the dream to see what lay behind it. As I asked questions the dream expanded on paper. I was soon traveling across the Noor Sea with Miles, Hanna, and Taunier to find Miles’s and Hanna’s little brother. When I began I didn’t know they’d meet up with Dragons who were fighting their own fierce battle, I didn’t know how the Dragon’s battle for the last great forest of Noor intertwined with the missing children. I discovered it as I wrote my way in. Hanna is a Dreamwalker. In a way I am, too. I Dreamwalk into the story and write as I move along.

Holly: How has the novel tied in with your own love of nature?

Janet: Egmont USA made an offer for THE DRAGONS OF NOOR on Earth Day 2008. Ecstatic, I celebrated the acceptance by adopting an acre of rainforest through The Nature Conservancy. I did this because Ancient Forests play a pivotal role in the book: Evver the Tree Deya says this to Hanna as they part:
Feel the ground beneath your feet as you walk.
Heart to root; remember the ones who hold you up
Ancient Forests play a crucial role in our world. “The Facts” flash show on the Plant a Billion Trees campaign site was startling and convicting. Having grown up in the ancient redwood forest in California, I’ve always loved trees, but I didn’t know the full extent of their impact on planet earth until I began researching this book. Now the book is coming out, I’ll be offering readers and schools through my author visits a chance to participate in the Plant a Billion Trees project.

The book will envelop readers in a battle to save the Ancient Trees of Noor. Readers inspired to do something about the same problem in our world today can pitch in with me planting trees in the endangered tropical rainforest of Brazil.

Why plant trees? One simple reason: “Tropical forests are the lungs of the earth storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in a never-ending life cycle.” So what to breathe? Plant trees. More info about this in the “Giving Back” section on my website
Holly: I’m all about digging deeper to find truth – how have your life experiences helped you get to the heart of your story?

You do know how to dig, Holly. Okay here goes: As a young mother, I was constantly worried something would happen to my sons. I still worry too much and still have a recurrent “someone kidnapped my kid!” nightmare. (anyone else out there have those?)

Nightmares and Daydreams both play a role in my books. This haunting phrase about wind-stolen children came to me in the Daydream and became iatrical to the book:

Children fly when worlds are shaken,
Now the children are Wind-taken.
Seek them there, seek them here, before the children disappear.

Over the years I learned to turn my smotherhood into stories and plant my fears on the page. The “someone has kidnapped my kid!” theme comes up in Chapter 1 of THE DRAGONS OF NOOR when Tymm is stolen by the wind. Of course I wanted to rescue him, so I sent Miles, Hanna and Taunier after him --the rest is Story.

Holly: What’s up next?

Janet: The companion book to DRAGON’S KEEP. Current working title is TESS OF DRAGONSWOOD. If you think I’m obsessed with forests and dragons, take it up with my muse...
Thank you, Janet!
Readers, how important are daydreams and nightmares to you? Have you ever dreamed a story and wanted to write it down? Is nature an important part of your life? And do you love to read about dragons? ;-)


  1. Love Janet's books. Hope the Dragon Muse keeps sending dreams her way. Thanks for sharing secrets, Janet! - Stasia

  2. I love dragons, if I could have any pet it wud be a dragon. Also my ideas from books tend to come from my dreams or daymares. My imagination is at it's wildest then!