I started reading this book after I purchased it at Megan Reyes’ debut launch and I immediately fell in love with it. Not only is the worldbuilding spectacular, the plot weaves together in such a seamless way that I was completely enraptured from the start. If you haven’t read this book, or selected it for your library or bookstore, DO.
This timeless fantasy debut follows four unlikely heroes—a boy-turned-dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a runaway witch, and a young soldier—bound by the Fates to save their world, and magic itself, from being destroyed.
Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli grew up on different sides of a war they didn’t start. Their land has been torn apart over centuries of conflict, with humans taught to fear all things magical, dragons driven to near extinction, and magic under attack. But an ancient prophecy has put the four them on a collision course with destiny—and with each other—in a mission to heal the fractured realm once known as Haven.
All of them must follow the threads of Fate, leaving behind the lives and homes they know to discover the truth about the seemingly endless war—and the truth about themselves. As the barriers between them begin to crumble, can they unravel the lies they’ve been taught to believe in order to restore the balance between humans, dragons, and magic before it’s too late?
According to your website, you “drew comic books called ‘The Candy Wars’ which included M&M’s battling Skittles.” What led you to create these books, and which candy won?
Oh my gosh! I love this question, haha. I remember drawing these comics all the time in 3rd grade. I wish I could remember what sparked this specific idea, but I can’t recall. I just thought it was the funniest thing to draw candies battling each other. So, page after page, I drew sword-wielding MnM’s digging out crocodile pits and Skittles laying “lava” traps, fireball cannons, and all kinds of things. I desperately wish I still had some of these comics, but they’ve only survived in my memory. As to who won–I don’t think there was ever a winner. The battle was never-ending!
Of course it was! I love the worldbuilding in DRAGONBOY, as well as how you expertly manage to tie all the plot and character elements together. Without giving away spoilers, how did you know what to keep, what to leave out and what helped you streamline the story overall?
My editor definitely helped with knowing what to add and what to lose. For example, there are two early chapters where we meet a young Wren and, (in a different chapter) a young Shenli. These chapters didn’t exist in an earlier draft. Everything in Part 1 focused on Blue and River. But my editor suggested weaving in some Wren and Shenli chapters so the reader can meet them sooner. I’m so glad she suggested it because I love those chapters!
As for keeping everything together– I have a lot of notes! I have something called The Havensong Bible (TV screenwriters often have something called the “show bible” which is where I picked up the idea). This is a folder on my computer that has hundreds of documents and photos. Everything is sorted by categories: characters, setting, Haven History, etc. One of the first things I did was sketch out a map of the world (a much simpler version of the map you see in the book, illustrated by the amazing Sveta Dorosheva). That helped me hold the world in my head, if that makes sense.
It does. What, in your experience, is the hardest part of the writing process?
Great question. This varies from one writer to another but for me the revision process is the most challenging. I actually really like drafting (writing the first draft) because everything is new and exciting and anything could happen. There’s a kind of energy with drafting that keeps me sustained. But revisions–oof. It’s like, I already wrote the book and now I have to do more work? haha. Obviously the revision process is crucial and I’m lucky to have a great team to work with, but it can sometimes be hard for me to “break apart” something I’ve worked so hard to create–even if it’s for the best.
Oh my goodness, me too! Drafting is so much easier for me for the exact same reasons. The second book in the Heroes of Havensong series is set to debut next year. Is there anything you can tell us about it yet?
Yes, Book 2 currently slated for January 2024! I’ve seen initial cover sketches and I’m SO excited for everyone to meet this book! Book 2 (stay tuned for the title!) focuses on how Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli are dealing with the pressures of being the Chosen One Heroes. They each deal with it in different ways: fear, anxiety, sorrow, and anger. I really loved exploring the emotional journeys of these characters as they face new adventures and go on daring new quests. I’m also excited about some of the new characters in book 2 (as well as the return of some of your favorites from book 1)!
Megan Reyes is the author of the Heroes of Havensong series for young readers. After many years in the elementary school classroom, Megan is now a full-time children’s author. She finds herself completely at home amongst dragons, magic, and adventure and it seems fantastical stories make a habit of bouncing around her head with remarkable persistence. Megan lives in Northern California with her husband, four sons, two dogs, and an ever-growing collection of dragon and fox figurines. When she’s not writing, she’s probably drawing, painting, going on walks, or getting lost in a new book.
You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @MReyesWrites