The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Night of the Moon Serpent
How do you come up with the idea of a Peruvian dragon?
The book was born out of a wish my nephew made when he was about 6 years old. He wanted to be a dragon and I thought it would be nice to write him a story of a boy who sees that wish come true. At first, I thought the dragon would be a fire-breathing one, a Western dragon. Then, I started to consider a Chinese dragon but it was “been there, done that,” meaning that there were already many books featuring Western and Eastern dragons. Around that time, I returned to Lima for the first time in 20 years. Some high school friends took me to the Oracle of Pachacamac. It was there I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if my dragon was a Peruvian one. But is there such a thing as a Peruvian dragon?” Luckily for me, there was. It is the amaru.
Besides the setting, what is different about the book?
“The Night of the Moon Serpent” is for tweens and teens but I want adults to enjoy it too. When I set about to write the story, I wanted the adult in it to have an adventure too. That’s breaking away from the formula. She (David’s mother) is not one of those clueless or absent parents you see in fantasy books for children and YA. She plays and important part along with her son and her son’s friend, Miguel. All three sort of help each other out. Many adults are attracted to YA and children’s books not only for the fantastical worlds they depict and the cleverness and resiliency of the young characters, but also because their stories offer hope. I wanted to send the message that hope exists also for the adults.
My inspiration was the fact that there was a real huaca near the school I attended in Lima. But unlike the huaca in the story, the real one does not belong to the Mochica people. The Mochica influence never extended to Lima.
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