Hello besties !!!
After almost a two month hiatus because of finals, I’m finally back on my blog 💖
So, today I am excited and honoured to welcome Judy I. Lin over on Misty Realms! Judy is the incredible author of The Book of Tea duology! — A Magic Steeped in Poison (March ’22) + A Venom Dark and Sweet (August ’22) I invited Judy over on my blog to chat and answer some questions I had in mind. Let’s begin !!!
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favour from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Find and pre-order A Magic Steeped in Poison on:
Goodreads | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon
Interview with Judy I. Lin
Hi Judy! Thank you so much for joining me over here on Misty Realms. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey till now?
Thanks for having me on the blog! I’m a Taiwanese-Canadian writer, currently living in Canada on the prairies. My writing journey started with a love for books. I always had a book with me and read whenever there was a spare moment. It grew into an interest in creating stories of my own! I wrote a lot of fan-fiction in university, which taught me how to finish stories with the encouragement of readers, and that led to finally completing my own novels.
Pitch your debut novel, A Magic Steeped in Poison in a short sentence!
A Magic Steeped in Poison follows the journey of Ning, a reluctant practitioner of tea magic, who travels to the capital to participate in a competition with the hopes of saving her dying sister.
A Magic Steeped in Poison is one of my most anticipated releases of 2022! What was the inspiration behind this novel?
The story started with the idea of tea with magical properties. I wanted to explore what it would mean to require a conduit between the magic inside of someone and the world outside. What would that look like, and what sort of limitations would that involve? I had a lot of fun coming up with different challenges for practitioners of this particular type of magic and I hope readers enjoy it too!
A Magic Steeped in Poison is a magical tale filled with tea, food, and inspiration from the Song dynasty. What is your favourite quote from your book?
I really enjoyed writing Ning’s travels, her eyes being opened to new things and new experiences. This is why I chose the following quote, because at this point she exists on a precipice, balanced between the old and the new!
“Even when Mother was alive, even when I was happy in the gardens with my family, I always felt like I was orbiting them, occupying a similar space but charting my own invisible course, with no idea where it would take me. Maybe I’m about to find out.”
If you could meet your characters, what would you say to each of them?
I think instead of having specific things to say to my characters, I’d love to attend a banquet with them in the palace. I would probably share a joint appreciation of food with Ning and Lian, and we would chat about traditional medicines and how to incorporate them into cooking!
What are some media that you would recommend to fans of the Wuxia/Xianxia inspired atmosphere in A Magic Steeped in Poison?
I have so many recommendations depending on what aspect of A Magic Steeped in Poison you were drawn to!
- If you like court intrigue: Nirvana in Fire (epic revenge story)
- If you like magic and beautiful costumes: Ashes of Love (tragic romance in a celestial palace)
- If you like mystery and wonderfully choreographed fight scenes: Hero (a mysterious man tells a strange story to a paranoid emperor)
Introduce your main characters from A Magic Steeped in Poison using emojis!
Ning: 🍵 🌿 🔮
Lian: 🍜 🐎 🗣
Zhen: 👑 🤔 🔪
A Magic Steeped in Poison has some Wuxia/Xianxia tropes, can you tell us some of your favourite tropes that you included in your book?
What I enjoy about the Wuxia genre is the idea of fighting against injustice, about uncovering corrupt systems and people staying true to their ideals even as society tries to break them. That’s a major influence that I kept in mind as I was writing A Magic Steeped in Poison, but there are also lots of fun things about the Wuxia genre that I included as well! Such as wandering about tea houses, fighting in a back alley, running into strangers with questionable intentions, and lots more nods to the genre that I hope certain readers will catch!
art print of Ning and Kang illustrated by Carissa Susilo
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why!
I would love to spend a day with Lian in Kallah. I think she would be such a fun guide and would know everyone and would be able to share lots of “off the beaten path” places.
How would you describe Ning— the protagonist in A Magic Steeped in Poison? How was your experience with fleshing out and writing her character?
Ning was a difficult character to write at first because she was so closed in upon herself. She’s definitely the opposite of an open book, and she is also constantly struggling with her own self doubt. I found it challenging to write from her perspective because I’m more of an optimistic person, but as her story grew, I found that there was a lot to relate to and in the end, a lot for me to learn from her!
What do you hope readers take away from your upcoming novel, A Magic Steeped in Poison?
I hope readers will find the world in A Magic Steeped in Poison immersive, that there is the sense there is a larger world out there worth exploring, and that they will follow Ning’s journey into the next book – A Venom Dark and Sweet. I’m also hopeful that readers will take an interest in the inspirations behind the creation of the empire and the magic system, because I drew a lot from Chinese history, Taiwanese tea culture and various Chinese legends that are still told today.
mood board made by me !!!
That was it! Thank you so much for your time, Judy. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much for these questions! I had a lot of fun answering them. I’d love to connect with readers on social media, so please come and say hi on Twitter (@judyilin) or Instagram (@judyilinauthor)!
Judy I. Lin was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. She grew up with her nose in a book and loved to escape to imaginary worlds. She now works as an occupational therapist, and still spends her nights dreaming up imaginary worlds of her own. She lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband and daughter. A Magic Steeped in Poison is her debut novel.
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Thank you so much Judy for taking your time to do this interview for Misty Realms, I had a wonderful time chatting about A Magic Steeped in Poison !!!