i’m very excited to finally share the cover
for Fury of the Phoenix, my sequel to Silver Phoenix!
wait cindy, you say, this looks different from your
debut cover. a lot different.
i know. i know!
both the Silver Phoenix paperback
(out on feb. 1, 2011) and Fury of the Phoenix
(out april 2011) have been repackaged. it’s
something that isn’t at all uncommon. it’s a way to
reach a different and (we hope) wider audience.
i feel so blessed to have gotten the original cover
so wonderfully created by chris borgman. it will
always hold a special place in my heart.
alas, despite its gorgeousness, Silver Phoenix was passed
on by borders and carried in only limited quantities
in select barnes and noble stores. she simply wasn’t
being picked up by readers as much as we’d have liked.
the truth is, Silver Phoenix looks like nothing else
that is being offered on the young adult bookshelves.
on top of that, my story is also “different”. it’s fantasy, which
is very popular right now. but asian-inspired and reads
more like a historical than the more familiar urban.
for every reader that told me s/he’s been waiting so long
for a book like mine to come along, i’ve had another tell
me, i never thought i’d like asian-inspired fantasy, but
really loved Silver Phoenix. (this always makes me so happy!)
i can’t help but wonder how many readers took one
look at my cover, made assumptions (it’s too *this*
or obviously not enough *that*) and decided it
wasn’t for them. i won’t lie. it breaks my heart a little.
the reason that i love fantasy so much is because despite
the fact that an author can take me to an entirely
different world or time, weave epic stories of good
against evil, astound me with mythical creatures, etc, the
fantastic is always grounded in the human experience.
Silver Phoenix may be a little different than what’s
offered in young adult right now, but at the heart
of ai ling’s story is friendship, family, discovering
oneself, growing and falling in love. (oh, and food. =)
i don’t think my debut is for every reader.
of course not. but do i think that it has fully reached its
potential reading audience? unfortunately, no.
i’m very well aware of recent discussions
about whitewashing young adult covers as well as
#racefail debates, especially within the speculative
fiction genres. most of you know by now that the
author gets very little say in cover design. i was fortunate
enough to be consulted on many aspects for the original
cover. my debut cover couldn’t have been more fierce
or asian! and i’m so grateful to greenwillow books for spending
the time, money and effort to repackage my books.
with the hopes that it will be carried more widely and
perhaps draw a new audience that my original cover didn’t.
because what matters to me the most has always been
the story. i spent two years writing and revising
Silver Phoenix, went through the gut wrenching heartache of
querying 121 agents so ai ling’s tale could be read. and it’s a
dream come true to be published. i never did it for the money,
fame or glory (i laugh at the thought!). but on a personal level,
i want my stories to be read and on a professional level, read
widely enough that more xia fantasy books in the future is
a possibility. i do have other xia tales in me! =)
i would love to see more diversity in all ways being
published in children’s and young adult genres.
i think progress is happening, even if it may seem painfully slow.
especially when we feel passionate about it. but change doesn’t
happen instantly. i believe success can be achieved through many
small triumphs. and it can start simply with a story…
i wanted to take the time here to express my gratitude
for all the love i got (and continue to receive!)
on the www, from LJ to twitter to blogger, facebook to
wordpress and all my online friends in the groups and forums
i frequent (many of whom are now real life friends!).
your support and enthusiasm for Silver Phoenix means the
world to me. and also to the librarians, teachers and
booksellers who’ve been so encouraging and kind–thank you!!
if you truly love the original Silver Phoenix cover, please
get a hold of a hardcover copy soon! the paperback will feature a
“darker” cover to match Fury of the Phoenix.
as you know, i’ve been working obsessively on my sequel.
i’m very excited by it, and so pleased to see my vision
of this tale improve and unfold as i revise with my
fantabulous editor. it’s really stayed true to my vision,
only better! i can’t wait to send Fury out into the
reading world next april!