Interview with Emily C. Burger

Sunday, October 4, 2015
Interview with Emily C. Burger

Welcome to the the second to last stop on the book tour train! I hope you've been having fun so far. I know I am, hope you'll enjoy!

Published by Ravenswood Publishing (July 30th 2015)
Pages: 317

Elizabeth, forgotten daughter of King Henry 8th, is trapped in her own world of bitter hatred over the traumatic events of her past. She longs for greatness and is un-expectantly given the chance to chase down her dreams when a mysterious flying pirate ship lands on the palace roof. Soon she finds herself entangled in a monstrous injustice, forced to face dangers and step out of her comfort zone along with other famous characters from history against a tyrant who knows only cruelty. Together, Elizabeth and her new friends must stand up for their own futures before their dreams are snatched away from them forever.

How did you pick your main characters, especially Changping? Before this I hadn't even heard of her.

I chose characters from history who I found inspiring for one reason or another. I had heard of all of the characters before except Coaxoch and Changping. Coaxoch I stumbled upon whilst researching the Aztecs and Changping was who Google gave me in my pursuit of a Chinese heroine, who inspired me after I read up on her backstory. I also tried to vary the cultures and time zones of my main characters as much as possible, so that played into who I eventually chose as my characters.

Which character was the hardest to write?

I think Coaxoch was the hardest character to write because not only did I have the least amount of research on her but I needed her to be a mislead character rather than a genuinely evil one. Portraying the fact that she was manipulated by Bane and not just equally corrupted was challenging and important to get right.

Which time period was the hardest to write?

I would say each time period was equally challenging for different reasons but what I found most challenging was deciding how characters from one time period would react in another and how characters with such different backgrounds would interact with each other.

Who was the first character that popped into your mind? Was it Elizabeth?

Yes, from the very beginning I knew that Elizabeth would be the centre of my story and I juxtaposed the rest of the characters to either contrast or highlight her personality.

Was there a particular event, story or person who inspired you to right this book?

The thing that really sparked off the idea in the first place was my realization of how little my peers (who at the time would have been grade 9 students) believed in themselves. I couldn't understand why almost everyone my age had this tendency to dismiss themselves as 'not good enough' and really I wanted to show them that everybody who is now famous - started out as a nobody. I wanted to show young people that everyone has fears, everyone has doubts, even the people we look up to, but that doesn't have to stop you from achieving your dreams. So from that intended message I planned the plot, chose my characters and basically formed the book.

I was also hugely inspired by the "Night at the Museum" films which transformed history into something exciting, which is something I aimed to do in my book.

How did the crew on the ship come to you?

I've always loved the Narnia books and the idea of talking animals so just had fun playing around with making animal characters for the crew of The Explorer.

Born in 1997, I spent my earliest years living on the East Coast of South Africa in the town of Pietermaritzburg. I spent my days climbing trees, on the beach or writing short stories for my younger brother. When I was eight years old, our family moved to England where I was exposed to a whole new melting pot of cultures. We travelled Europe as frequently as we could, fuelling my growing hunger to experience the world around me. When I was ten years old my sister was born, and my love for children and writing combined themselves into my imaginations. We returned to the tip of Africa just as I was entering my teen years, and since then we have explored our own country as well as our neighbouring ones. I started writing ‘Thieves of Greatness’ when I was fifteen, finished it by 16 and have now published at the age of 17.