The Gift of Charms is an enthralling children’ s tale of magic, adventure, and suspense, with a heart-warming centre. The first in the Land of Dragor series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where dragon clans live hidden from man. Their great wars with humans and the evil dragsaurs are over and the dragons live in the caves among smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest. The newborn hatchling Yoshiko is treated with suspicion by the elders. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?
Firstly a big thank you for this lovely invitation to Tony Riches' Blog. I am Julia Suzuki, author of The Land of Dragor series, a children’s adventure series with an appeal for the child within us all too!
My formative years were enchanting, and the strongest inspiration for my current authorship. The earliest recollection I have was being sat in my bedroom with the breeze blowing in through the window on a beautiful summers day, listening to the sounds of animals merged with the thrill of happy human cheers!
It wasn’t the usual garden sounds though; not dogs, not cats, not birds - nor of children playing in the garden as they would normally do. But it was the noises of real beasts: lions and monkeys, zebras and cheetahs! Our family home was uniquely set on the closest edge to a Zoo and Theme Park in Staffordshire; we were separated only by the Millrace at the bottom of the garden on the ‘Deer park Estate’ by Drayton Manor Park in Tamworth, Staffordshire - the Drayton Manor Theme Park.
One summer, my Father lovingly handcrafted myself and brothers wide canoes. In the years ahead we would regularly set off for secret adventures. Down the millrace we would paddle, and into the fields we would go; playing wildly in the woods, loving nature, embracing the outdoors - pretending we were the animals. Boating with my eldest brother: in my element!
My imagination started to grow with my love of books. My winter months were spent indoors often reading. I loved all the now vintage books: Beatrix Potter, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton and others of that period. I would often close the book and write my own endings and so my joy of creative writing began.
At the age of seven I was enrolled in elocution lessons with a local speech and drama school, run by a former teacher from a local convent. She was very strict and austere but bought out the best in the group of girls that attended. Here I would recite pages of literature and poetry from memory to the London School of Music examiners who would come up to examine us. I continued through to the senior grades.
My favourite and most memorable recital was from the book The Snow Goose; such a sad tale that even in recollection pulls at heartstrings. Into adulthood a business career followed. After University studying marketing, a career with Disney licensing then followed. After this I worked in international licensing for the leisure entrepreneur David Lloyd in his resorts business. I had the good fortune to travel to many of the most beautiful places in the world inspiring me further. My urge to be an author was growing daily, and I recently gave up this career to become a full time writer - and so the first book the Gift of Charms came to be!
I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this - but with unique and modern edge and an interactive web presence. Being a mother I knew first hand what parents were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, yet more than that, I felt strongly that I knew also what they sought themselves: gripping action, lots of adventure - all the classic aspects of heroes and villains, mystery and magic, quests and suspense, and the dream of happy endings.
I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and 'out there' and yet still felt somehow real; to fulfil the expectations of book lovers and also hook non-readers back into reading. For me this had to be in the form of a series set in a place we would all be excited to visit.
I designed the land, integrating beautiful countryside, mountain trails, great waters and caves to explore. All the things I loved as a child and still do today. The most beautiful places that I had seen on my international travels formed the setting of Dragor: the amazing mountains of Colorado, the great deserts of Palm Springs, in California, the vast waters in the Lake District, and the seaside caves of Cornwall - not forgetting the enchanting wilderness of Scotland. Dragor would be my ideal place to live - full of magnificent scenery, bursting with animals and nature's magical flowers and plants. A place of adventure, excitement and promise.
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About the Author
Julia Suzuki is a British fantasy author. She is known for her unique style; threading together adventure and suspense in magical, epic setting, with plots that are topped off with beautiful messages. Julia has a BA Hons degree in Business as well as being a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She also studied Speech and Drama with the London School of Music. Her works are nostalgic to the older reader and exciting to the younger. Julia has always had a love of all things magical and this, together with her experiences and a keen interest in personal development, inspired her to become an author, combining her creative talents with the philosophies of happiness and success that she has learned. Find out more at her website juliasuzuki.com and follow her on Twitter @JuliaSuzuki_uk