In honor of the occasion, we sat down with Nicole Petit to talk about the collections.
Mary Helen Norris: Tell us a bit about your love of dragons and why you chose them as the subject matter of From The Dragon Lord’s Library.
Nicole Petit: Well, to start with, I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I’m surrounded by reptiles. Ever since I was little I’ve been catching lizards, helping turtles cross the street, collecting snakeskin, and watching alligators wander into places they really have no business being. Then Jurassic Park swung open its gates for me, and I realized the only thing cooler than Florida’s reptiles were even larger, and sadly extinct, reptiles. It was only natural, then, for me to conclude that the only thing cooler than that would be even larger, flying, fire-breathing reptiles. And, lucky for me, I grew up with access to a library filled with stories about said fire-breathing, flying, majestic lizards. From The Dragon Lord’s Library is, partly, my way of looking for more stories to add to that grand collection, as well as share that childhood love of mine with others.
MHN: What was it like curating the collections?
NP: It was certainly an adventure! It delighted me to find so many great authors with their wildly different takes on dragons. On several occasions it didn’t feel like work at all. I hadn’t expected to get as many good stories as I did, to be honest. In fact, I had only expected enough for a single volume. It got to a point where I just had too many wonderful stories and couldn’t possibly pare down my list any more than I had, so I ended up begging James to let me publish two volumes.
MHN: What drew you to the stories you selected?
NP: I am a woman of very simple tastes. Did it have a dragon in it? Did I enjoy reading it? Congratulations, you’re in.
Beyond that? Variety.
There’s a wide variety of genres, themes, and styles on display in The Dragon Lord’s Library. There’s children’s stories, there’s sci-fi, there’s a western, an epic poem in the style of Beowulf (but starring dragons, which drastically improves upon the formula), fantasy, fairy tales, and more. We’ve got humor, heartbreak, adventure, etcetera, etcetera, and so forth.
MHN: Any final thoughts on From the Dragon Lord’s Library, now that the second volume has released in print?
NP: It’s been a pleasure to find and work with so many great authors. Genuinely, this is more their show than mine. I just sent out the call, they’re the ones that answered. I’m excited to see where they all go from here.
MHN: What authors most inspire you?
NP: Hold on let me pull out my list. It gets longer every year.
Timothy Zahn, first and foremost, is the author that made me want to be one too. His stories and his characters, especially Mara Jade, captured my imagination and compelled me to tell my own stories.
He’s not the only one to inspire me, of course. In no particular order, Brian Jacques, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Jean Kerr, Donita K. Paul, Patricia C. Wrede, A.A. Milne, Agatha Christie, John R. Erickson, and Rudyard Kipling among others have all left their impact on me in some way.
MHN: Any advice for writers?
NP: Nothing, I wager, that hasn’t been said over and over again by this point.
Write what you want to be reading, and enjoy it. It’s going to be painful and frustrating at times. You’re going to ram your head against a few brick walls, and when you do finally finish it up and hand it over to someone to read, you’re going to watch it get ripped to shreds.
Enjoy the journey. Don’t get yourself hung up on your work not being perfect, it never will be. You always have something to improve, and that’s what makes being a writer so exciting. Don’t wait until you’re a better writer to get started on that story bouncing around in your head. Start it now, get better on the way.
Find writers who are better than you and let them drown your pages in red ink and snarky remarks. Clean it all up, send it out there, get shut down over and over, and keep trying until you finally get it out there. In the end, when it finally all comes together, it’s worth it.
MHN: What’s next for Nicole Petit? I hear you have a novel coming up soon from 18thWall, would you care to drop any hints about that? Does it also involve dragons?
NP: As a matter of fact I do, and it does indeed involve dragons. In fact, one of those dragons happens to be the Great and Glorious Dragon Lord himself. That’s right, the one who owns that magnificent library! It’s not all about him, despite what I’m sure he’d try to tell you. He’s, rather reluctantly, sharing the spotlight with a mage who has taken it upon herself to become his secretary. If you’d like to know what they were up to in the summer of 1963, keep an eye out for The Dragon Lord’s Secretary. It’ll be coming out soon.
MHM: Thank you very much! And remember, you can get From the Dragon Lord’s Library Volume 1 and From the Dragon Lord’s Library Volume 2 in print from Amazon today, and in ebooks from this very site (Vol. 1) (Vol. 2).