Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Lim

June 21, 2019

We are excited to feature author Elizabeth Lim and her debut YA novel, SPIN THE DAWN (Knopf Books for Young Readers, July 9, 2019) a Silk Road-inspired fantasy pitched as Project Runway meets Mulan. Enter to win a copy!

illustrator: Tran Nguyen, cover designer: Alison Impey

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
A little about myself: I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and my dream for the longest time was to become a film composer. I studied piano and composition from a very young age, and though I used to write stories to accompany my music, I actually came to write for teens via fanfiction. When I was in middle school, I became obsessed with writing Sailor Moon and Star Wars fanfics, and I’d post them online to share with other fans. If you’re not familiar with Sailor Moon, it’s about five teenage girls who have to save the world from evil using the power from their respective planets, and oh my gosh, it was so much fun to write fanfics for! I think that’s how my love for writing for teens began, and now here I am!

Congrats on your book, SPIN THE DAWN. Tell us about it and what inspired you.  

Pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway, SPIN THE DAWN is about a young seamstress who disguises herself as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor. Her task to sew the legendary dresses of the sun, moon, & stars lead her on an adventure of danger & romance along a reimagined Silk Road.
I was inspired by the fairytales my father used to tell me as a child. SPIN THE DAWN draws influence from three in particular: the Chinese legend, “The Cowherd and the Weaver,” the French tale, “Donkeyskin,” and the Norwegian fairytale, “East of the Sun.” 

Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

Definitely long and winding. I experienced a lot of rejection during my journey toward becoming a published author, both from agents and from editors. I probably wrote and polished at least seven different manuscripts before selling SPIN THE DAWN.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a book that should be announced in a few months, as well as another young adult fantasy. Hope to share more details about both soon!

What are the one or two best things you did for your writing career? What advice would you give to aspiring authors? 

The best thing I did for my writing career was learn the value of persistence. I would urge aspiring authors not to cling to the idea that your work-in-progress is the book of your heart, and is the best book you’ll ever write. Your heart is big enough to hold many books, so keep writing and improving your craft, and don’t be afraid to take some time away to reflect and rejuvenate. 

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Hmm…my first nickname was Yo-Yo! Apparently because when I was a baby, I really liked being carried up and down the stairs, hah. 
Where can people find you online?

Find me on my site,! I’m @lizlim on Twitter, @elimpix on Instagram. 

Elizabeth Lim is the author of SPIN THE DAWN (out 7.9.19 with Knopf BFYR) and REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE (Disney Press). Raised on a hearty diet of fairy tales, myths, and songs, Elizabeth was a professional film and video game composer before becoming an author. She grew up mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.

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  1. Love the inspiration behind the story and the advice to be persistent!

  2. Sounds like an exciting tale of the tailoring industry!

  3. Love the cover, such great colors! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  4. Congratulations on your exciting book! Thank you for sharing with us. This book is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019.

  5. This book sounds amazing!
    Megan S.

  6. This book sounds fascinating! Congratulations and best wishes!

  7. The cover is absolutely stunning! This is one of my most anticipated reads this year.


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