Monday, April 3, 2023

Prince of Blue Flowers by Ryu Zhong Virtual Book Tour


Prince of Blue Flowers

by Ryu Zhong


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Fantasy, Adventure


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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.


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Character Interview

Today, we’re happy to have here the protagonist of Ryū Zhong’s novel ‘Prince of Blue Flowers.’ A boy of fifteen years, he is always smiling; his unkempt hair shines golden red, reflecting the lights in our studio.


So, is it Takuan or Hatsukoi? Tell us the story behind your name.


When I was born, my mother named me Hatsukoi, which means ‘fruit of mother’s love.’ In our village, everyone has a very short name: Pang, Xing, Wang. Sung’s the name of my father. But Hatsukoi is a name for a child, not for a grown man like myself. So, I was quite happy to receive a monastic name during my postulancy.

Abbots called me Takuan to honor the celestial marten Ta-Guan. It’s because of her trickery that the Heavens were shattered by The Greatest Storm. I didn’t behave in the monastery and pestered the abbots, so I guess the name is well deserved. Luckily, I’ve always liked the cunning marten, so I couldn’t wish for a better name. 


You’ve been to a monastery, haven’t you? Was it an accident or a path you chose?


When I was still a young boy, only a dozen years old, I (like all the boys in my village) dreamt of becoming a wandering monk, The Komuso. Komuso traveled around and hunted weredemons. So, when my parents had to send me to a monastery, I was overwhelmed with the hope that my dreams would come true. However, as it turned out, quite different adventures awaited me.


What did you learn from those adventures?


During my monastic postulancy, I was enlightened with the true reason why people so easily succumbed to my cunning. They wanted to deceive themselves. Or, rather, the passions and vices possessed them, and those vices deceived their hosts.

The ignorant will never admit their ignorance. The angry ones won’t be able to stop themselves from their rage. Greed will drive its host to a most simple trap. Just show a greedy man how light reflects on the well’s water, and he will immediately jump right into the well, hoping for hidden booty.

Finally, I learned that I am not better than others myself. As soon as I boasted of my exploits, I found myself in quite a pickle. Luckily, Jin helped.


Jin, you say. Who is that, your friend? Please tell us what ‘friend’ means to you.


Jin is indeed my closest friend! In the monastery, fate brought us together. First, friends are the people whose fates are intertwined. It doesn’t matter if they are humans or not.

A friend is a person that is just like you but somewhat different. Jin isn’t a human at all; he’s just a little fox. Yet he’s almost as smart as me. Where I was puzzled, he always helped.

Friends don’t leave each other in trouble. Although I sometimes doubted him, Jin never let me down. Even when I was paying my due for my own bragging, he didn’t mock me but helped me to break free.

There is another thing about friends. Friends walk their separate lives but always end up together. Jin has his own things to deal with, as I have mine. But in the end, we faced our fate together. Because this is what friendship is truly about.


A final piece of advice to someone who decides to follow your path?


Well, here is what I’ve learned: even if you can outsmart anyone, you should first think about how it could turn out. And don’t brag later if it turns out well, especially not while gaming and drinking.

Never lose heart! That’s another piece of advice, but if someone decides to follow my journey, they must know it by then.


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EXCERPT:


One day the blacksmith woke up, broke fast and set himself to work. Hatsukoi was nowhere to be seen. The blacksmith sighed, lit a fire in the hearth and got to the bellows to kindle the flame. He wanted to draw the bellows’ handles together with one hand, as he usually did three hundred times a day, but the bellows did not obey. He tried again, taking hold of them with both hands and squeezing them with all his might.


They creaked but didn’t give, so the blacksmith squeezed even harder. There was a loud bang. A potato flew out of the bellows’ faucet with great speed and buried itself in the hearth. Sparks and coal ashes flew around and above. Black cinder covered the blacksmith from head to toe. 


From the bushes erupted a roar of laughter.


“Oh, you rascal!” bawled the blacksmith, and rushed to catch his son. Hatsukoi deftly dodged his massive father and ran to the village market. Left with only his ire, the blacksmith sighed and set back to work.


At the market, Hatsukoi performed another prank. He grabbed a large green horned kiwano melon from the counter and ran away.


“Thief! Thief! Get the thief!” the merchant shouted, and ran out after the boy. Passers-by tried to grab Hatsukoi, but he turned out to be far more deft than they. He raced down the street and disappeared into the alley. There, he replaced the horned melon with a cactus with long, sharp needles, and immediately jumped back out into the street.


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‘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

https://anno-ruini.com — website for the book series

https://ryu.anno-ruini.com — Ryu’s personal blog

https://www.instagram.com/anno.ruini/  — Instagram

https://twitter.com/anno_ruini — Twitter


Book in the Stores

https://www.amazon.com/Prince-Blue-Flowers-Adventures-Takuan/dp/B0BRC7BGB4/

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=L4unEAAAQBAJ&pli=1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prince-of-blue-flowers-ryu-zhong/1143052777




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GIVEAWAY


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


4 comments:

  1. I love the cover art, synopsis and excerpt, Prince of Blue Flowers sounds like a story that I will truly enjoy reading. Thank you for sharing the character interview, your bio and the book details and for offering a giveaway, I am looking forward to meeting Hatsukoi!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The book sounds intriguing. Great cover!

    ReplyDelete

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