Interview & $25 GC Giveaway: Prince of Blue Flowers by Ryu Zhong

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish PromotionsOne randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card.  Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Description of Prince of Blue Flowers

Young boy Hatsukoi leaves his village to become a monk, only to find monastic life incredibly boring. With a new-found name and a new-found friend, Hatsukoi travels the countryside and plays tricks at the expense of corrupt, irate, greedy, and ignorant people. Nobles of all ranks—from petty governors to crown princes—fall victim to the boy’s wit and cunning.


As his tricks evolve from childhood frolics to elaborate cons, Hatsukoi grows as well. He learns not only the craft of his trade, but also its higher purpose.


Join Hatsukoi’s journey, laugh at his exploits, and learn with him.


Interview with Author Ryu Zhong


If you could have one supernatural ability, what would it be?

I am a firm believer in balance, so having any supernatural ability comes with a supernatural cost. The question for me is what the supernatural cost is that I’m willing to bear and what sort of an ability I can buy with it.

My favorite one is the ability to alternate a coin toss. In other words, the ability to change the results of a coin toss to one’s liking. I have done a draft for a noir novel that explores what could be done with such an ability and what having such an ability would cost. It costs a lot, that I can tell you.


What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Probably the fact that while writing a lot about surprises, I aim to be as little surprising as possible in real life. Beyond everything else, I value predictability. Thus, I aspire to be surprisingly unsurprising.


When writing descriptions of your hero(ine), what feature do you start with?

I tried many approaches, and the ones I find the most exciting are to start with eyes or with fingers. As the proverb says, one’s soul is just a reflection in the lake of one’s eyes, and I find diving into this lake a perfect start to deliver on the character of a hero. There are many ways in which a writer can show how a character lives and breathes via just a subtle blink of an eye.

The same can be said of the fingers, the movements of which are tightly connected with our thoughts, as neurologists say. So, both eyes and fingers are very powerful for looking not ‘at a character’ but ‘in a character.’


Are you a plotter or a pantser?

My fellow writers call me a meticulous plotter, obsessed with schemes, structures, and a predefined plot. Little do they know how fragile those schemes are. As an old proverb says, the plan is only good until the start of the fight. And anything I write, from a short poem to a novel, is a formidable foe with its own agenda. Or maybe rather a dance partner, in the type of dance where we must constantly shift between the leader/follower roles.

I plot out of necessity—as I need to provide a good foundation for our dance—but I only enjoy writing if it goes beyond or beside the initially plotted route. We—the book and I—must always improvise.


Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?

Initially, this book was a way to distract myself from a much heavier and more complex quest of writing a dark noir novel. I finished the first draft of it and wanted to just relax and play a bit with the tropes from my childhood. What I learned is that even an innocent play might grow into a bigger and more demanding story rather quickly. As soon as there is a seed of truth, even in a random scene, that seed sprouts and asks to be nurtured and loved.

So, in the future, when I go to a playground, I’ll bring a snack.


Read an Excerpt of Prince of Blue Flowers


Prince of Blue FlowersGovernor Tu Fang was the first to notice Hatsukoi, who was lying on the roof of the well with his head hanging down.


“What are you doing there?” he asked.


Hatsukoi shrugged his shoulders. “I’m looking to see if the well has a bottom.”


Tu Fang frowned at the boy’s response. Why would someone need to look for the bottom of a well? It sounded very suspicious to him.


“Well, get down!” he barked.


“No,” Hatsukoi answered.


“Get down by your own will, or my hunters will shoot you with their arrows.”


Hatsukoi slowly climbed down. Tu Fang waved to one of his hunters, who immediately grabbed the boy by the scruff of his neck.


“Ai! What are you doing?!” yelled Hatsukoi, struggling, but the hunter held him tightly.


“Tell me at once,” demanded Tu Fang, “what is in this well, and then perhaps I’ll let you go.”


Hatsukoi trembled like bamboo in a strong wind. He began, “I have seen—”


“What did you see?” Tu Fang interrupted impatiently.


“I saw a thief hide his bounty here.”


“Bounty?” Tu Fang exchanged glances with his brother.


It must be said that unselfish people rarely went on to become governors. Tu Fang was no exception. He thought only of ways to feed his insatiable greed. And Tu Liwei, being his half-brother, was a pea from the same pod. So, at that moment, the brothers came up with the same thought.


And Hatsukoi was counting on it.


“A whole bag filled with all kinds of stuff,” he said confidently. “Gold, jewels, pearls… If you look from the roof, you can see how it glitters at the bottom.”


About Author Ryu Zhong


Author of Prince of Blue Flowers‘Ryū’ means ‘dragon’ in Japanese, and ‘Zhong’ can be translated from Chinese as ‘flute’. This amalgam of languages represents the fusion of cultures that characterises the writings of Ryū Zhong.


In their books, Ryū Zhong explore challenges that humanity might face as our technology gets more and more complicated to the level where it becomes magic. Such a shift would force people to look towards religion and reinterpret realities that today, we call fairy tales.


Ryū Zhong were lucky to be born and grow in Asia. Now they live in Amsterdam, study Dutch, and adapt their writings to English.


Links — website for the book series — Ryu’s personal blog  — Instagram — Twitter


Book in the Stores


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card.


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  • Sherry
    April 27, 2023 at 10:04 pm

    This sounds like a great story.