It’s time, bois.
I know EVERYONE has been waiting for this journal after the delicious news about the Book 14 protagonist. The last Wings of Fire event I went to (in Rochester) was a long journal - but this is gonna be a novel. An absolute unit, as it were.
(Edit: This journal was 17 pages single spaced on a Google Doc so sldkfsdfsd)
I’m not going to go into too many details because I want to keep the journal from getting to astronomic proportions, but Boskone 2020 was one of the best weekends of my life - no doubt. Spending days hanging out together joking, laughing, debating, and crying (ugly crying especially ), “breaking up” in the art gallery only to get back together within 15 seconds, living together, braving the cold, going to hot pot, making silly doodles, squatting in line for registration, swimming at midnight, swapping secrets, playing Smash, giggling at panels, and so much more. Three whole days of nonstop fun and Wings of Fire!!
And I’m so grateful to my friends, the wonderful, beautiful people who made everything special and amazing and an epic adventure Alaskanay of course, my main partner in crime, as well as XbOxKaT, Hurricane-Rising, ArbitraryRenaissance, happyrainwing, FalconFiiire, Gators-and-Goblins, and of course Snivymice (I would hold your hoops any time while you fight off Ivy ) - and last but not least Tui T Sutherland! Both friend and fandom-mom to all of us at this point. <3 (Tui’s literally the sweetest person on earth guys, she brought us chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Too wholesome XD)
I’m incredibly thankful to be a part of the Wings of Fire fandom, so that we could all find each other someday I’m not very good with expressing emotions online, and I know we’ve had a lot of sappy posts lmao, but I can’t even put into words how happy I am that I got to spend this past weekend with each of you. Every time I think about our conversations and everything that happened, I can’t stop smiling
We’ll see each other again someday and enjoy a big lunch together, no doubt ^_^ I believe it!
AND - I’m going to the NYC Wings of Fire Fan Fest event for the Dragonslayer release in March! (it’s on March 7 I think). Tui said there would hopefully be new information revealed there relating to Book 14 and while Tui herself is going to be at the NYC FanWing fest, they will be held in Barnes and Nobles all across the country. It’s probably worth checking out your local Barnes and Nobles to see if they’re hosting it!
Onto the Wings of Fire news!
- This information was collected over 3 days of hanging out with Tui, so there’s a lot! For most of the time, we were just having normal conversation, not really a Q&A, but I’ll do my best to format it into Q&A form so it’s easier to read.
- Some of the info should be recognizable to folks from Pyrrhia-Pantala from the live stream we did on Friday at the Kaffeklastch event, but a lot of it should be new too!
- Spoilers for Wings of Fire Books 1-13 and Darkstalker.
- I did take audio recordings of most conversations (yes with Tui’s permission), which is how I can remember the conversation with so much detail. However, there were a lot of personal things discussed so I won’t be releasing the audio to the public, sorry guys :0 Direct quotes are marked with “”, otherwise it’s paraphrasing the answer.
- Questions asked by me personally are marked with *
Q: Who is the Book 14 Protagonist? (actual question was “Can you give us any hints on the Book 14 protagonist?”)*
A: Queen Snowfall of the IceWings! The fandom was close with guessing Lynx.
Other relevant info on Book 14:
- A somewhat finalized version of the Book 14 cover will hopefully be shown at the FanWing Fan Fest at Barnes and Nobles across the United States on March 7! The cover will have Lynx on the back and Snowfall on the front. Hopefully the title of Book 14 will also be revealed on March 7 (Tui said she is HOPING so it’s not 100% definite).
- Lynx will play a major role in Book 14 and help temper Snowfall in her isolationist anxieties and fears.
- We will definitely see Winter again in Book 14.
- Snowfall is not 7 yet, since she hasn’t made it to the adult wall yet by the end of Book 10 (Wall of Circle Rankings)
- Someone (a “she”) in Book 14 knows more than they are letting on with respect to current events.
- Tui said that she typically has difficulty with the 4th book in a 5-book arc because she wants the main character to help change the world, but also leave some problems there for the finale. She described Snowfall as particularly fun to write since Starflight and Turtle were more scared and passive; Snowfall is also scared, but in a very powerful, reactive way. When Snowfall gets upset/scared, she acts out very dramatically, which drives the story forward.
- Tui is still currently writing Book 14 and has made significant progress, but she hasn’t decided how it will end yet. She is hoping to have the book out by late 2020 (possibly early 2021).
- Snowfall has white scales and dark blue eyes. She also has a heavy metal crown that was her mother’s, with diamonds and metallic spikes that look like icicles. Snowfall was excited to get the crown but it became a source of frustration as it’s really heavy and too big for her.
- Snowfall is very different from the other characters Tui has written so far, and the most different from Tui herself out of all her protagonists. Tui is aware that currently she is seen as a “mean girl bad guy”, that she has a lot more power than most of her protags, but Snowfall has also recently gone through enormous trauma (IceWing plague). Snowfall is heavily driven by fear and anxiety and in pursuing Arc 3’s theme of “empathy and resistance” Tui wanted to explore this type of character. (ie a character that most people can’t fathom empathizing with). She hopes to tie Snowfall’s anxieties and worries to her own in order to relate to her more, and help the audience relate to her more.
- This is the first time Tui has had to think for a long time about who would be the protagonist. In Snowfall she wants a protag who is extremely different from all other protags, and who is coming from a very different perspective. She does want Snowfall’s perspective to change and develop over the course of the book.
- Jerboa II was one of the potential main characters that Tui was considering for Book 14.
- We will find out in Book 14 what happened to animus magic (it may or may not have to do with Jerboa, Tui just made a funny expression at us and said “This is my expression” when we told her the popular fandom theory that Jerboa messed with animus magic).
Q: Is there a title for Book 14?
A: Tui said not yet, but she will be revealing that in March hopefully.
(We suggested “The Extinction” and “The Distant Kingdoms” and she wrote these down hahaha)
Q: Whenever we talk to you, we always ask a lot of questions. Do you have any questions you would want to ask your fans?*
A: Tui: “I’m always curious when I sit down to write a book. Is there anyone I’m forgetting that people want to see more of? Have I picked the right main character? Are there any stories I should go back to? I do have a list, but I find it really helpful to hear from fans. I mean - yes - I know everyone wants a Kinkajou book.”
(We were able to answer this question for her and PPAU folks also were able to answer! Mostly the answers were “MudWings,” “Umber and Sora” and “Princess Orca” “Commoner IceWings”)
Q: If someone gave Peacemaker one of Qibli’s earrings (that nullifies all of Darkstalker’s magic) and Peacemaker put it on, what would happen to Peacemaker? Would Darkstalker come back? Or would the earring erase the Peacemaker spell AND the immortality spell, causing him to dissolve into ash, Thanos-style? (asked by XbOxKaT)
A: Tui: (laughing) “I’m afraid [the latter] would happen...or you’d see him turn back into Darkstalker, then immediately [feel the effects] of getting old, and then immediately die? It would be very horrible and dramatic.” (more laughing) “But feel free to write fanfiction of Darkstalker coming back and having memories of being [Peacemaker]. I can guarantee this will never happen in the books...poor Peacemaker.”
Q: How exactly were the HiveWings made from the NightWings (Clearsight) and the BeetleWings? (asked by Hurricane-Rising)
A: When Clearsight came to the Lost Continent the BeetleWings were all the same, just living in different places (similar to how SapWings and PoisonWings are all still LeafWings). The introduction of Clearsight’s very strong genetic material to one of those sects of BeetleWings caused them to diverge into a different tribe (HiveWings).
Q: Is Clearsight still alive, somehow?
A: Tui: “Unfortunately, no. Well, I can tell you a behind the scenes story - when I wrote books 6,7,8, I was thinking - is there a way Clearsight is still alive or Darkstalker brings her back - zombie Clearsight! What if she was buried in the cave with him, and he reanimated her bones… But I asked my editor if I could write Darkstalker before Book 9, and while I was writing Darkstalker I realized ‘I can’t do that to Clearsight! That would be so awful if she defeated him and then said I’m gonna lie down and die’. So I decided she needed to have her own adventures, and do something else, which led to the idea of the Lost Continent.”
Q: Since Clearsight saw happy futures with Darkstalker, they must have been possible. What would have lead those futures to becoming real?
A: Clearsight not using the mindreading-shielding bracelet would have helped, because Darkstalker would have been able to go into her mind and see all the terrible futures his actions were causing. One of the issues is that Darkstalker never wanted to examine all the futures like Clearsight did, so if he had been stuck in her mind he would have gotten to see them all and may have worked harder to avoid bad futures.
Tui is reluctant to “blame” Clearsight though, as Darkstalker and his actions are the source of many of the issues that ruined their relationship. (She had a horrified face when someone in the group suggested “it’s all Clearsight’s fault” lmao)
Q: What was the rationale behind having Clearsight marry another husband(s) after Sunstreak (as noted by Lady Scarab) on Pantala?*
(Bio note: I was sad since the symbolism is ruined for Clearsight going from the darkness (Darkstalker) to the light (Sunstreak). Also there’s a certain meme regarding this subject which I told Tui about and like aslkdfadsf Tui did not deny it at all, she basically steered RIGHT INTO IT while laughing)
A:Tui said for Clearsight, she could see all the futures and how she could have ended up with all these different dragons, so she was able to pick and choose the best relationships (and base it on her future children). Clearsight also lived for a VERY long time, so there was room in there for multiple relationships
Q: How long does it take to complete a Wings of Fire book? Once the book gets to the editor, what do they typically say/how do they edit the book? How do you deal with it when the editor says “take this passage out” and you feel like you have to keep it?
A:- It typically takes Tui 2-3 months to make the first draft of a Wings of Fire book, but she typically has to think about it a lot first.
- The most major edit her editor has made recently was cutting down the epilogue of Book 10. Her editor felt the epilogue of Book 10 felt “too epilogue-y” - too much like it would be the end of the series forever. Originally the Book 10 epilogue had 10 sections - one for each of the main characters. She tried to squish sections together like Clay and Peril’s to make up for it, but she had to take a lot out and saved it in a separate document.
- Usually Tui’s editor’s comments resonate with her, so she doesn’t feel bad when her editor suggests something. In the past, Tui has had editors that did request parts to be taken out that she didn’t want to be edited, and in these cases Tui would think about it for a week before reacting. Her best editors instead say “I’m having trouble with this section because of X reason” and that lets Tui think, “if I want to keep this section, how do I solve this problem?” She said her current editor usually has a good reason for suggesting changes.
Q: How do you deal with criticism and how do you decide what is a valid criticism vs just someone’s opinion? How do you deal with particularly angry or passionate criticism from reviewers or readers? (ex: angry reviews on Goodread or Amazon reviews) (asked by myself* and Vulpi)
A:Tui does not read Amazon reviews (“I don’t know about that, lalala”), and strictly stays away from her critical reviews (like Publishers Weekly) as well as Goodread. In fact, she avoids places on the internet in general where she might see particularly virulent criticism, such as Twitter. She believes most criticism of books is there for readers - it’s good for readers to have critical conversations among themselves. (eg. How would I do this differently, what do I wish this author had done, how should this affect my writing). However, Tui can’t change the books that she has already written, so she primarily only pays attention to critique from her editors and trusted readers like her sister.
- Tui likes reading reviews of TV shows because she enjoys seeing what TV critics have to say about a story, and sometimes the reviews can go over things she’s missed, or articulate why she does/doesn’t like something. But as a creator, it’s better to avoid reviews about your thing and just talk to your trusted readers. Reading one bad review can cause a creator to feel bad about it for months (which has happened to Tui in the early stages of writing), and it can cause a lot of demotivation and self-doubt. One of the most useful things Tui has done as a writer is turn off “background noise” and eliminate voices saying “You’re doing it wrong!” - she already has her own internal voice that says that. She believes cutting out the nastier “background comments” is how she can write a book so quickly.
(Bio note: This is so sad y’all I wish people in fandoms would be kinder haha)
Q: Are there any godlike figures in Wings of Fire (aside from Clearsight), or have you developed the mythology/religion of each tribe? (Eg how SkyWings burn their dead in a high place open to the sky so they can reincarnate as SkyWings)
A: There’s the “Great Ice Dragon” which Snowfall should know about (though Tui isn’t sure if she’ll include it). She’d like to explore religion possibly in the Guide to the world of Wings of Fire book that she wants to write (same book that Tui wants to put the Scorching story in). However, in Tui’s daily life people don’t talk about religion, so she usually doesn’t include it in the books. She said the tribes do have different beliefs.
Q: Will folklore and mythology (eg: songs, poems, historical references etc) be included in Wings of Fire to give a more older fantasy type of feel?
A: Tui hasn’t really thought of any, you’d mostly find these things in scrolls. Generally she finds these parts boring in LotR/Game of Thrones but she said it’s a good idea (wrote some notes down for this question).
Q: Is reincarnation canon/real in Wings of Fire?*
A: Tui: “If it were up to me, I would make reincarnation real - I think reincarnation is really cool.”
Q: Wings of Fire has many extremely unique characters - they particularly tend to have a few main characteristics that define their character, which is unusual compared to other fantasy books. Do the fact that they are dragons give you more freedom to express characters in certain ways and develop them? (Eg: Peril’s backstory is only possible because she is a dragon - if she were a human and had this murderous backstory, you might have received backlash).
A: Tui doesn’t really think about backlash, but most of the dragons have terrible backstories and if she were writing about humans it would probably feel more depressing (and less kid-friendly). Freedom is part of the wonderfulness of fantasy - there’s more to play with, more crazy things you can do with character backstories and personalities.
Tui said “she tries to give each character a piece of me, an anchor I can keep coming back to.” She then used Snowfall as an example - see Question 1.
“We all feel we are many different people at times so if I feel I can put each different aspect of me into each character, it can make them unique.”
Q: Is Queen Snowfall’s wanting to build up the Great Ice Cliff based on President Trump wanting to build the wall? (This was a crack theory JOKE question from me, given she wants to keep the Pantalan refugees out and asks Jerboa to extend the wall at the end of Book 13)*
A: (lots of laughing)
Tui: “It’s fascinating because I wrote the Great Ice Cliff before Trump was running [for President].”
Me: “Oh yeah! But uh, she wants to, you know, make it better. Make it great again.”
Hurricane-Rising: “Make the SandWings pay for it.”
Tui: “It was kind of inevitable…” (laughing) “This is hilarious. But um, when I started writing about Snowfall or any of the IceWings, I realized they’ve done a lot of what [Trump] wants to do. They’ve walled themselves off and tried to isolate themselves from everybody, and Snowfall wants to take that to a greater extreme, because she’s terrified of all the threats. I am more sympathetic to [Snowfall] than most of the real-world counterparts, but I thought it would be interesting to try to write that perspective. This is why I gave her Lynx - this is why Lynx is such a big part of the story [to help temper Snowfall].”
“When I started writing this book especially, I started thinking about it.”
Hurricane-Rising: “Maybe [Trump] got the idea of a wall from Wings of Fire.”
XbOxKaT: “He’s a loyal Wings of Fire fan.”
Tui: “To add one more thing, when I started writing books 11-13, I definitely already had the idea of refugees - the idea of dragons who need a place to go because they can’t stay where they are. That’s an enormous thing that’s happening right now, and I wanted to get at it from a whole bunch of different angles.”
Tui: “I’m hoping that Wings of Fire helps build empathetic kids and human beings, and allows for discussions between kids and with their parents - I want to open up the conversation.”
Q: Will there be more fan auctions or events that allow fan-made characters to be made canon in the books? How did Typhoon’s owner work with you to integrate him into the book?
A: Tui would really like to do another fan charity auction, she likes the idea of a lottery where everyone would donate 5-10$ (or something equivalent) and everyone has an equal chance to win. The main issue is getting organized to do it or finding the right forum to do it in - usually Tui is too focused on deadlines, so she doesn’t have time to organize. She’s not on Twitter so she can’t do it through there (for example).
Typhoon’s owner sent Tui a description of his looks, personality and backstory; Tui was able to fit in a small amount of his backstory.
Q: Are there names to any of the three moons or the planet that Pyrrhia/Pantala is on?
A: (Tui took notes for this lmao) “With the name of the planet, they’ve been calling the whole planet Pyrrhia, since they thought they had just their continent. But now that there’s two…” “I love the idea of giving the moons and planet names.” (But they currently do not have names).
Q: Do you ever go on the Wings of Fire Wikia / Wiki or look at forums/talk to fans incognito?
A: Tui sometimes goes on the Wikia to look up information such as character relations, however, the Wikia has let her down before with incorrect information (in regard to some information about Deathbringer and scavengers) - so she double checks the information. She firmly does not go on forums incognito to chat and generally avoids forums or places where there might be angry/bad comments.
- Tui also believes that going online would decrease her productivity. Sometimes she does Google Image search Wings of Fire related things because she loves seeing the artwork people have done, though.
Q: There’s a joke in the Wings of Fire fandom that all dads are dead or evil. We have Prince Arctic (dead and kinda evil), Morrowseer (dead and evil), Gill (Dead), Cricket’s dad (not evil but not the nicest dad), Narwhal (really mean and dead), Admiral (brainwashed evil), Chameleon (evil), Mastermind (did evil things). Was this intentional and if so, why? (another joke question from me LOL - I’m aware Stonemover and Six-Claws aren’t dead/evil)*
A: (everyone laughs) Tui: “Poor dads. Gosh that’s funny. I have the greatest dad, I have to say that right now. No, it was not intentional. But it’s very interesting.”
Q: If an animus enchanted a dragon possessed by the Breath of Evil to “do whatever I say”, would the animus enchantment or the Breath of Evil take precedence in controlling the dragon? (sdsdf Hurri stole this from me)
A: Tui: “I can’t answer this question. ”
Q: Who did you have in mind/who were you imagining when you wrote Clearsight’s letter to her grandchildren in Book 11? Your own grandkids? Your fans? Your characters? Someone else? This line in particular: “How funny it feels to know you so well when there are so many of you I’m never going to meet. I see you all the time, especially when I’m just on the edge of falling asleep.”*
A:Tui: “I feel for Clearsight because her power is so much like writing, with all the different futures, and also with parenting. I thought, what would I do if I had Clearsight’s power - I’d check out my children’s futures and make sure they were perfect, and if I could expand beyond my children, I would want to do the same for all of my readers, and make a good future for all of them.”
Q: When will Kinkajou get a book/Why does Kinkajou not have a book? (asked during general session)
A: Tui said people ask her about a Kinkajou book all the time, and the more she hears it the more she thinks about making a book for Kinkajou. However, the main reason Kinkajou has not had a book is 1) Tui likes to develop characters over the course of a book, and Tui already likes Kinkajou the way she is (she doesn’t need to develop). 2) Kinkajou has already saved the world “like 80 million times, so if you ask her, all the books are REALLY about Kinkajou.” So Tui would have to come up with something very specific to Kinkajou that she would have to work through over the course of the book.
Q: Will we ever see the MudWing Kingdom? (asked during general session)
A: Tui laughed and acknowledged the MudWings are very neglected. She would like to try to fit it into Book 14 or 15 but isn’t sure if she can - similarly, she hopes to bring Umber and Sora back someday but isn’t sure how to fit them in. She doesn’t have a specific plan, but at least the MudWings are lucky and avoiding the problems with the rest of the continent because they aren’t being focused on.
Later she noted she loves Umber and feels guilty that she left him in the wilderness for so many books - she’d like to fit Sora/Umber into Book 14 or 15 or if not, do a short story.
Q: How do you make unique characters/characters that don’t feel same-y? (asked during general session by Hurri)
A: Tui focuses very heavily on character backstories to make her characters unique - how did they grow up, what are their parents/siblings like and change who they are? Also she usually tries to pull a couple of things about each character that she can relate to - ex: with Starflight, she relates to how Tui loves to read, and how she always goes to a book when she doesn’t know what to do. Turtle has some similarities to Starflight (in terms of being quiet and retiring) but thinks about the world in a different way - he thinks of the world as one big story, and he thinks of his role as the smallest part possible. Starflight would secretly like to be a hero, but with Turtle it was all about forcibly dragging him into the spotlight. Essentially with each dragon, Tui bases a big aspect of them on a facet of her personality OR something that’s SUPER different from her (eg. Peril likes to set everything on fire).
Q: Will there be any new dragon tribes? (asked during general session)
A: Tui already spent a lot of time focusing on developing the new tribes for Book 11, so there will probably not be new tribes in Book 14-15. She hasn’t decided on if there will be an Arc 4, but she would have to have a good idea for a new tribe.
Q: How does Tui decide who will be the main character of each book? (asked during general session)
A: For Arc 1, Tui knew the exact order she wanted (First Clay, Sunny last, Tsunami second etc). For Arc 2, Tui knew for sure she wanted Turtle or Qibli for Books 9 and 10, she had to think a bit about who would be better to be Book 10’s protag. For Arc 3, Tui knew she wanted Blue, Cricket and Sundew for Books 11-13 but she had a lot of choices for Book 14. Snowfall was the protag she’s had to think most about, and in Snowfall she wants a protag who is extremely different from all other protags, and who is coming from a very different perspective.
- Tui also noted that when writing a 5-book series, writing the 4th book in the series is always the hardest (Book 4 and Book 9 were very difficult) because she can’t solve any problems since there needs to be a finale, but at the same time she wants the 4th protagonist to change the world in some way.
Q: Why did Tui pick Moonbli over Winterwatcher? (asked during general session)
A: In Arc 2, Tui wanted to try to challenge herself by writing a love triangle where “you really like all of them and any of the three can be together”. (Bio note: Ooh! So she does like Qinter too!) She decided she would set it up and solve it in the 10th book but then realized by the 10th book she was conflicted because she wanted them all to be happy. However, Tui eventually decided that she wanted Moonwatcher to pick the nice guy - she reads a lot of love triangles where the girl goes with the bad boy with a heart of gold who needs to be changed. She does enjoy those stories, but in this case Tui wanted Moonwatcher to pick the nice guy who cares about her and does all the right things. Tui noted they’re still all really young and anything can happen: “Feel free to write the 50 years from now fanfiction”.
Q: Some authors really like killing off characters, what is your thought process when you kill off a character? (asked during general session)
A: One of the hardest things for Tui about killing off a character is that it is the end of their story - it cuts off anything she can do with the character going forward. Generally she doesn’t enjoy killing off characters. She does acknowledge because this is a dragon world, there’s a lot of violence and there needs to be character death. One of the hardest characters to kill off for Tui was Queen Glacier because she was a good queen, and we were almost in a place where all the queens were good, but unfortunately it makes sense that one of the first things Darkstalker would do after coming out of the mountain would be to kill off the queen of the IceWings. Thankfully this made more story (with Queen Snowfall). Ideally a death should open up as many story paths as it shuts down.
Q: Who is on Tui’s shortlist for Book 15’s protagonist? (asked during general session)
A: Tui hasn’t finished writing Book 14 yet so it depends on what happens. She said, “I kind of know something about Book 15, but I haven’t decided...I mean, I definitely think Luna and Swordtail are in the mix as possibilities, but Swordtail is having a rough time right now. I actually kind of want to go back to Bryony, the LeafWing mentioned very briefly in Book 13, Io is also having an interesting situation...but then there are also Pyrrhia dragons that could get dragged in. It depends on what particular themes I want to get at in Book 15 and where Book 14 leaves off- we’ll see.”
(Bio note: I’m personally betting on Sky or Umber at this point)
Q: How much does Tui know about a book before she starts writing it? How do you keep your story coherent? (asked during general session)
A: With Book 11, Tui did a lot of research beforehand and knew a lot about what she wanted to do in that book. She already had the major scenes in her head. However, she is more of a “discovery” writer, generally she does things as she goes along. She likes to imagine writing as planting seeds, then she sees the seeds pop up over time and thinks “Ooooh this could be good” “I want to add this in” etc
- Tui always worries about staying coherent, she said: “I feel like I’m walking this high wire, like, THIS is the book where I fall off and forget all these important things. But I have lots of notes, a whole document of notes for each book. As I’m writing each book, I start a doc of notes for the next book - things like ‘this is very important, be sure to take it over into the next story’. And then I have a spreadsheet of all the characters.”
Q: Does Tui use character sheets or questionnaires for her characters to develop them? (asked during general session)
A: For Books 1-5, Tui did have a character sheet for each character. Over time she moved to doing Questionnaires for her characters as she found it’s a more beneficial way to develop their personality. However, doing sheets/questionnaires takes a lot of time and now it’s only a few questions, however she believes questionnaires leads to more “life” in a character than a list of personality traits. For beginning writers especially, questionnaires are extremely helpful - most formative childhood memories, what TV shows are their favorite, etc. Best questions: Who is their worst enemy? If they could have a superpower what it would be and why, etc.
Q: How much meaning do you put into a character’s name (especially the protags?)
A: There is a lot of meaning in the character names, and Tui finds it quite difficult to write a book without knowing the protag’s name (Blue was one of the names she decided on later and she changed multiple time throughout the writing process). She has a spreadsheet list of names for each tribe.
Q: Does Tui have any ideas for future Winglets or standalone books/Graphic Novels? (asked during general session)
A: Tui would like to do one on Umber and Sora, the main problem is that the Winglets were supposed to tide over the time between books, but it made Tui worse at making her deadlines on time, which annoyed her editor.
- Tui is also very interested in what will happen to the Rainforest now that there are two tribes living there, and how Glory will manage ruling two tribes. She really hopes she can do an original graphic novel that describes what happens between Book 4 and Book 5 and the during time while Sunny was gone. “It would be the very first days where Glory suddenly has these two tribes to deal with, and like, someone from the NightWings tries to assassinate her multiple times, and Deathbringer’s like “I saved you!!” and Glory’s like “yeah yeah yeah whatever.” She has the exact story in her head and knows exactly what happened there, but she doesn’t know if she’ll have time for this project)
- Tui also noted she’s interested in doing a Legends book about the Tree Wars or what happened to Clearsight after she came to Pantala (those these seem to be just general ideas, not high priority)
Q: Will we ever see what happened to Whiteout after the events of Darkstalker Legends? (asked during general session)
A: Tui said it is an interesting premise, she believes Whiteout got to live happily ever after. She noted that this was referenced in Darkstalker Legends when Whiteout essentially alludes to the fact that only one of them (Whiteout or Darkstalker) would get a happy ending.
Q: What happened to the Old NightWing Kingdom/why isn’t it habitable anymore? (asked during general session)
A: Tui said: “My thought was that between the time of when Darkstalker lived and the current era, in particular around when Darkstalker was using all these powers, that some of the Kingdom started collapsing and falling into the sea. The land itself was affected by the magic and the things that he did, so when he started trying to repair the kingdom it had been crumbling.”
(Bio note: Whoa, this has some very interesting implications for animus magic… uh oh @ PPAU lore lmao)
Q: Does Tui have any ideas about an Arc 4?
A: Tui isn’t sure if she will do an Arc 4, she has to have a good enough idea - however one of the ideas she had was making it about all the younger generation (Peacemaker, Prince Cliff, Princess Auklet, Bumblebee, etc).
Q: Since you’re writing Book 14 about an IceWing protagonist, have you thought at all about Winter and how his character will develop? Interestingly at the end of Book 7, he seemed to realize that “Happiness is determined by the people I’m with, not where I am/my social status” and he seemed determined to prevent Moonwater’s vision from happening. However, by the end of Book 10, Winter underwent some character regression and decided to ignore Moonwatcher to fight with his family against the NightWings. Why did you decide to have him go through “un-development”? (asked during general session by me)*
A: Tui noted that Winter went through A LOT in Book 10, what with having the mind-alteration spell cast on him by Darkstalker and learning about the IceWing plague. These heavy events dragged him back somewhat to the place of fear and sense of duty that he grew up with, and also the fact his tribe was under attack - this brought back the feelings of “I am an IceWing and I need to fight with them.” However at the end of Book 10, Winter developing Sanctuary is partially because he was sent away, but he also would have chosen to make Sanctuary on his own too - he wants to be part of the rest of the world. We’ll see him again and what he’s dealing with in Book 14.
- Tui also noted: “I feel like one of the weird things about writing is that when you write a book, you can see your character going from troubled to developed, but in real life that’s not true. In real life you can change and grow but also regress. You will keep seeing Winter change, and you will see other characters change in the background - for example, there’s a lot that Peril is doing.”
Q: The stories in Wings of Fire often allude to real-world issues, is this intentionally or subconsciously? (asked during general session)
A: It’s definitely intentional. Tui noted she doesn’t feel fully qualified to talk about all real world issues necessarily but she wants to start a discussion between readers and from readers to parents. Arc 1 was a lot about parenting and nature vs nurture; Arc 2 was about giftedness and powers - what kinds responsibilities we have if we are born in privilege, or have powers, or have nothing. Arc 3 is about empathy and resistance - Tui wants her dragons to get along and understand each other, but at the same time there’s a point where you have to stop trying to understand the bad guys and just stop them. Fantasy is a good way to wrestle with real-life issues in a more free-form manner.
Q: How does Tui deal with writers block? (asked during general session)
A: Whenever Tui gets stuck with a story, she often opens up a “writing log” and just starts venting and complaining about her story in the doc, things like, “ughh why isn’t this working, I’m so frustrated, IDK what to do next because they’re stuck over here but this has to happen, do I just have to make them walk there? Blahhh”. Usually as she complains she’ll eventually solve the problem - sometimes she’ll be able to abandon the log mid-sentence when she figures out a solution.
- Having people to talk to about your story is helpful as well. She also sometimes will take her characters and write a different scene that doesn’t happen in the book, like a scene from their childhood, and that gets her thinking in a different way about the story.
Q: Since you confirmed RainWings to have Australian accents and IceWings to have British accents, do any of the other tribes have special accents and what would they be?
A:Tui noted that she was talking about the audiobook and accents used in the audiobook or that could be used in the audiobook. Tui doesn’t write with specific accents for tribes. She said she doesn’t want to specifically assign accents to certain tribes because she doesn’t want tribes to be confined to be assigned to real-world cultures.
Q: How do IceWings test to see if a dragon has animus power?*
A: It’s a test similar to the SeaWings’ Talons of Power ceremony, Tui hasn’t shown it though.
Q: When Prince Arctic left the IceWing kingdom, did he know he was taking the animus magic bloodline with him? What’s the reason the IceWings didn’t have any animi afterward? (Asked by ArbitraryRenaissance)
A: Arctic didn’t know the consequences of his actions regarding IceWing animi, and it was merely bad genetic luck that Queen Diamond’s descendants and Snowfox didn’t have any animus magic; the animus line among the IceWings was lost due to bad luck, not a curse.
Q: Do you get mobbed by small children who are Wings of Fire fans when you pick up your kids at school? Do you ever go into bookstores and see people reading your books - are you like “Heck yeah that’s mine!” or do you go “oh god I need to hide”?*
A: Tui: “Well, they’re pretty used to me by now. The fourth grader’s are my kid’s friends, so they know me as his mom as opposed to Tui...there are a few adorable fifth graders that when they see me, they’ll just like run up and stare at me. Still me! But more mom-like. My son has a couple friends reading the books and they have suggestions. ”
- Tui said she’s been in a bookstore at least 3 times and had someone come in and say to the cashier, “Where are the Wings of Fire books?” Typically she’s saved because the cashier will say “Oh the author’s here if you want it signed” so Tui hasn’t had to be like “Guess what! Those are mine!”
- She said that she usually doesn’t get recognized while out and about, but she was recognized at a march once and it was super weird. Usually she stays in her writing cave and she doesn’t see that many people.
Q: What’s your daily work schedule? Do you just wake up some days and say “I’m gonna write?” or do you have specific days where you work?
A: She usually works on days where her kids are at school. Her ideal work schedule is writing from 12 noon - 2 pm, and then 11 pm - 3 am. Waking up at 10 am is early for her, she usually goes to sleep around 3 - 4 am.
Q: Did you have Clearsight planned out when you first thought of Darkstalker, or only when you started writing Darkstalker Legends?
A: Tui had Clearsight in her head pretty early on. When she first introduced the idea of Darkstalker, Clearsight wasn’t worked out, but in Book 6 she already had thought of Clearsight and got a general sense of Legends story. (However, she hadn’t fully worked it out - DSL was needed for that).
Q: Are the strange wings in Burn’s tower from one of the Pantalan tribes?
A: Yes, they are SilkWing wings.
Q: Are there NightWing empaths?
A: Yes, it’s basically a watered down version of NightWing mind-reading. Fatespeaker is an example of a very weak empath/mind-reader.
Q: How have MudWings not used their superior population to take over Pyrrhia? (Given they have up to 9 dragonets in every hatching, they should have power in numbers)*
A: The MudWings haven’t been super ambitious compared to other tribes. They haven’t had a Queen who has been interested in conquering other tribes “in a while”.
Q: How do you deal with second season syndrome and the pressure of continuing to write in a series, given everyone is expecting each of your books to be as good as the last?*
A: Tui said she doesn’t feel second season syndrome between Arcs, although she gets nervous that fans won’t like the new characters for each arc. She does feel a lot of pressure with each book in the 5 book arc because she has to make each book as good as the last one. This is part of the reason she doesn’t read comments online.
Q: Which was the first tribe? What’s the origin of animus magic?
A: Both of these are Scorching-based questions that Tui cannot answer due to spoilers.
Q: What is your opinion on WoF spoilers being leaked or digital copies on the internet? (not the exact question asked, more that discussion led here)
A: Tui: “The WORST thing that happened was right before Book 11 when Amazon put like the ENTIRE FREAKIN THING up in their sample excerpt, and it was the entire book! It ruined so many secrets, I couldn’t believe it.”
(Bio note: She didn’t seem to care much about illegal WoF audiobook playlists on Spotify. I suspect Scholastic might be more aggressive about that though).
Q: What type of education would you recommend for someone who wants to be an author? Can you become an author without going to college?
A: Tui said you don’t necessarily have to be a creative writing major in college, nor do you need to have a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in creative writing. Tui herself was a history major and this benefitted her because she learned a lot of stories and mythologies that helped inspire her writing. She told a story about her friend who did an MFA and was very miserable because her friend’s professor was trying to push her into a box writing-wise, and so an MFA is definitely not needed to become an author.
- She talked about how being an editor was actually very helpful, because it helped her learn to critically read and it helped teach her how to take criticism and understand criticism (since she was the one being the editor and giving criticism at first). Being an editor also improved her writing skill.
- Tui did note you need a college education to become an editorial assistant, but you can be an author without needing to go through the publishing route. The most important thing is that the more you write, the better you get at it.
Q: Is there sexual dimorphism in the Wings of Fire dragons?
A: No, there is not.
Q: How do Tui and Joy Ang communicate to get the WoF book covers drawn?
A: Tui will send Joy Ang a written description of what she thinks should be on the cover; then Joy Ang makes a sketch which is sent back to Tui. Then Tui can ask for extra details like more dragons, extra creatures, etc. For Book 12, Tui knew she wanted the cover to be inside a hive, so she described the geometric shape of the hive and what Cricket looked like, but Joy Ang added all the details and the stalls. In Book 13, Tui specifically requested that the LeafWing being eaten be on the cover.
- Tui also mentioned that the extra Book 11 cover that has Cricket was drawn very quickly; Tui wanted some edits done but they couldn't be completed on time. The Book 12 cover is a more accurate representation of Cricket.
Q: Are there tribal sub-species? (In particular with SeaWings - can they be different based on the regions of the ocean they are from?) (Asked by Gators-and-Goblins)
A: In the current canon, SeaWings have consolidated together in the ocean due to defensive strategy, but once upon a time (and in the future) they totally could have had different colors and features based on where they lived! For example, deep sea SeaWings would be darker in color and SeaWings living in tropical areas near coral reefs would be brighter. Tui said she loved this idea.
Q: Wings of Fire TV series?
A: It’s slowly progressing, no promises yet but they’re on step 5 out of 20 now (it was on step 2 out of 20 last year). However, Tui noted she wants to have finished the Wings of Fire story before a TV series is released, because she doesn’t want the ending to get taken away from her (as with happened with Game of Thrones).
Q: Do blood moons affect NightWing powers at all?
A: On full moons that are blood moons, seers get the ability to see natural disasters and terrible events particularly clearly. Mindreaders gain the ability to project their thoughts into any dragon’s mind (unlike Darkstalker/Moon who can only project their thoughts to other mindreaders).
(Cygatehell asked this question and reported it to me, so I’m not 100% clear of the exact phrasing).
If you've read this far, congrats! Here's the Quote Hall of Fame from the weekend.
Quote Hall of Fame:
(All the best quotes from this weekend, there’s SO many).
- “Are those snacks free?” “I’m not sur--” “Arby. Are you stealing food???” *awkward pause with chewing* “....it’s just ice.”
- “Where are they- oh wait, see that huge mass of legs? It must be them.”
- “Hurri is currently whispering to Tui...he’s whispering sweet nothings to her!!”
- “Oh gosh, Tui’s taking notes. This is a role reversal.”
- “Child dies after dressing fashionably.”
- “Moonwatcher, I don’t feel so good…” - Peacemaker, probably
- “I definitely would not finish Book 15 on time if I got on Twitter...this is the REAL reason I’m not on Twitter.”
- “Come on, be brave with me Jhop, be brave with me. Protect me from the small children.”
- “Ok but did you hear Darkstalker’s freaking voice in the audiobooks. HE IS A SMOOTH CRIMINAL, DUDE.”
- “Snowfall and NETTLE. They would be completely great together. They would rule the world in the worst way possible. What better way to make Pyrrhia and Pantala come together than to have the two most bitter women dating.”
- “I flirted with Queen Scarlet for like 2 hours. We had a back and forth smooth talk and it was amazing.”
- “Is Leaf - to you - is he hot? Just add me in as a scavenger.”
- “She’s gonna show her Billy la Bufanda!” “I’m gonna lose my mind.” “She’s trolling you. Tui, you’re being trolled.”
- “We have an emote on our server for times like this. The Tui Pissed emote.”
(sdsdlasf she was fine with the emote though LMAO)
- “Whenever I try to sing around the house, my kids get mad at me and sing Baby Shark back.”
- “I could just rise above their shoulder and be like, “What are you up to? Why aren’t you laughing?”
- “Dangerous territory...I don’t think there’s anything there’s specific that’s TOO scandalous…you guys want the gossip.”
- “Aagh!! Blah, blah, can’t answer, I’m sorry! I’m just gonna make faces at you.”
- “Are there any...particularly evil characters? Villains?” “We can’t...we can’t say. That’s a spoiler.” “Come on you guys, we are with Tui RIGHT NOW.”
- “Imagine if we all went to sleep away camp together for 7 weeks...it would be up in flames.”
- “Oh god, oh no. This is our story of shame.”
- “Oh yeah! I forgot - my sister slapped me in the face with a 20$ bill.”
- “So Tui...I have a hefty, lofty, proposition.”
- “Maybe Darkstalker should have taken over the world, he’s just so darn charming.”
- “So, what are the names of all of Tsunami’s brothers?” (laughing) “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I just immediately started listing them all off?”
- “Here we have the mysterious NightWings! They’re known to read your minds! Just think about COWS...cheeky little buggers they are!”
- “You’re showing her pirated Wings of Fire audiobooks?!” “I dunno, but I found it!” “Hmm, but it has the wrong...cover? That does make me think it’s not real. Eh, I’m not gonna sue you.” “You can say it’s an album by anybody, so they said it’s by Tui T. Sutherland. So I guess you gotta sue yourself.“ “Sue myself. What can I do. Wow. This is so fascinating.”
- “Spill the beans, Arby! You can’t keep these beans to yourself!”
- “What if [at a wedding] they exchanged their scavengers…” “And then they eat them.” “Yeah! They could clink their scavengers! And then feed them to each other.”
- “Elixir’s mom is a god, basically.”
- “The fandom is drooling for information, and I gotta provide for the family.”
Lastly I want to give a shout out to Hurricane-Rising’s Wings of Fire Awards! Tui did a special recording for it (I was super impressed, it sounded very professional and she made it up in like 3 seconds haha) Hurri is streaming it on 2/23 (Sunday) at 5 PM EST I think!
Wings of Fire Virtual Event Infodump
Happy 2nd Birthday PPAU! MAP + Citybuilding Event!
Dragons into Dragons CONTEST RESULTS!
3.5k Watchers CONTEST: Characters into Dragons
This was fun to read! And with the making a new tribe part, I remember last year one day in math someone who hadn’t read wings of Fire was asking me if there was an electric tribe, I think that would be interesting to see. And my freind who also reads WoF said “mabye in 7 books” (aka an ark) so... tribe idea!
It's awesome you got to meet Tui, and those were some great questions and answers. It was a lot of fun to read all of that, which I'm sure took some time to make into this journal, so kudos for putting all that together! I especially like some of those creative questions people came up with lol (like what would happen to Peacemaker if he wore Qibli's enchanted earring.)
After reading this though, I am curious about one thing in particular; I saw character voices/accents mentioned a couple of times...what audiobooks are being referred to there? The only ones I know of have just one narrator/voice actor (to be fair, I have yet to listen to any full-length audiobooks from WoF, so maybe I'm just assuming).
The Wings of Fire audiobooks are voiced by one reader - Shannon McMannen! She does an amazing job, I think they are talking about how she does different voices for the different characters. For example she reads Darkstalker and Deathbringer in a British voice (hence Xbox calling Darkstalker a "Smooth criminal ) Though I don't remember her reading the RainWings in an australian accent - I gotta read Hidden Kingdom again
Ah, I see! Haha, I guess I could see how a British accent would be fitting for Nightwings! As well as the Aussie accent for Rainwings.
Guess I'll have to download the audiobooks for sure. Sounds like good listening if Shannon does such a nice job and clearly has some fun with it.
Thank you for replying!