Yesterday was my scheduled release for Dragon Brothers, but we had some last-minute technical difficulties, so I went with the whole lie low and cover your head and wait for things to magically sort themselves out. I'm happy to say it is all sorted and finally available, and you can read a free preview on Barnes & Noble!
Unfortunately, I can't do the in-person events I had been planning pre-COVID, but the kids helped me make a Kahoot trivia game and I'm planning some sort of online event--more to come in the next few days.
This book is truly the child of my heart. After writing the two memoirs and working on the anthology, I wanted to write a book my children could read. I read my first draft to them every night, and they helped me revise and shape it. They are on every page, not just the characters they inspired, but their advice and ideas on plot, dialog, etc.
One secret about Dragon Brothers...much of the magical language is taken from Yiddish. I feel as if so much magical language is based on Latin, and as a person of Jewish descent, I wanted to give a secret shout out to my Jewish readers, so I went first to Hebrew and Yiddish dictionaries, though there are some Welsh words in there as well. I changed some spelling for ease in reading.
For example, Tateh is Yiddish for father. He is both the king (Sire) and also a quasi-stepfather/guardian for the dragon brothers. Puckhick, the name of the cat, is Yiddish for Fluffy.
It didn't always work. The Dragon Brothers have two cousins: Beck and Ber. My real-life children have two cousins: River and Bear. In the book, Beck was originally Taykh, which is Yiddish for stream (little river, he is a toddler) but that proved to be too awkward for readers, so I hunted for something easier to pronounce. Unfortunately, I no longer can trace back what language that is from. In the end, I wound up borrowing words from an assortment of languages, though I went to the Hebrew and Yiddish dictionaries first.
One thing I wanted to do in Dragon Brothers was to have queer characters where being queer is just part of who they are--not central to the plot. Middle-grade doesn't have much in the way of romance anyway, but a careful reader will notice that Bernice and Laney are a couple, and Rae has a labrys tattoo on her arm. (Rae is a minor character in Dragon Brothers, but becomes more important in the sequel: Dragon Brothers Book Two: the Battle for Zunland) Genderfluid Rhinen wears makeup and skirts some days and pants on other days. Some readers have criticized that it is not "queer enough" but that was sort of my intention. It's not a queer story, it's just a story where some people happen to be queer. You know, as in life.
This book may never win awards or go down in history as one of the great middle grade books of 2020, but that's ok with me. I am proud of it and excited to share it with the world.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com