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Interview with Ryu Zhong, author of fantasy adventure Prince of Blue Flowers

cover of Prince of Blue Flowers by Ryu Zhong

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.

Excerpt from Prince of Blue Flowers


In ancient times, on the shores of the Eternal Ocean lay the country of Auyasku. The waves of the three seas cherished her sleep. The

Silent Western Sea lulled her with whispers, and the Glacial Sea squeezed her tightly in its arms. Even the Sea of Great Storms was quiet off the coast of this cold land.

A white fur coat of snow hid Auyasku from the heat of the sun. On the hottest summer day, the bright beams of Celestial Luminary could not penetrate beneath the blankets and awaken Auyasku from her age-old slumber.

In the middle of the country rose a snowy mountain, and on its top was a wonderful rock. This rock was open to the beaming sun and moonlight, because tall trees did not grow on it; moss alone covered the stones, still barely warm from the sun.

And then, one day, the rock produced a stone egg. Later, a marten hatched from this egg, also made of stone, but endowed with limbs and all five senses.

The stone marten quickly learned to run about and hunt small game that hid in the snow. She also made friends with other animals that inhabited the endless fields of Auyasku: foxes, bears, wolves – even moles. And, of course, with other martens, her relatives. The mountain from which she came was called Marten Mountain because it served as a home to many martens.

One morning, when the sun appeared in the east and slowly rolled across the sky, the martens began to frolic around the rock, chasing one another. Having gambolled enough, they calmed down and, staring at the sun, began to talk – for, as the proverb goes, even animals can talk to each other.

Interview with Ryu Zhong

-Can you describe your dream home?

Someday, yet not someday soon, I’ll move out of the big city I live in somewhere to a place where the mountains meet the sea, either in the far north like Norway or somewhere a bit more to the south—Malaysia or Indonesia.

There, I would find myself a quiet place where I can sit and watch how the sun moves through the sky and how flowers blossom in the grass; and listen to how the wind plays with the trees and rolls the pebbles back and forth through the sand.

If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?

Probably a fresh salad. It’s a meal that is always fifteen minutes away and can be easily adjusted to the preferences of the guests. It’s also healthy, but that’s more of a lucky coincidence.

-Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

The absolute best fan letter that I keep on my ‘plotting wall’ was from a teenage boy who went for writing fanfiction and sending it back to me. Though the story had a lot of plot holes in it, and the language was far from the best, he managed to keep the spirit of the characters, not making the protagonist a bettered version of himself. He gave my characters more space to live.

I think there’s no more joy for a writer than to see how their characters continue to live in the minds of the readers.

-Let’s say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most want to go?

I’d go searching for my dream home, of course! Most of the research I am doing is in very old books, so there’s no real difference where I do it. But there’s a huge difference where I’m being.

The calm and tranquility will make me do some research on myself, mining insight that is the perfect fuel for a book.

-Who designed the book cover for the book you are touring?

The book cover (and the illustrations inside the book) were created with the modern AI tool MidJourney. As many might know, it’s an AI-based image generator that takes a description and renders a picture out of it.

It sounds like an easy job, but it wasn’t in my case. To achieve a consistent style and to render the proper representation of the characters, I created something like several thousand images. And only then did I go on to lettering, which was crafted by the talented Katja Bakirova.

About Ryu Zhong

author Ryu Zhong

‘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.


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Thanks for stopping by Kit ‘n Kabookle! I’d love to connect on Goodreads for more book things. Lately, I’ve read…

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6 thoughts on “Interview+Giveaway: Prince of Blue Flowers by Ryu Zhong

  1. Ryu Zhong is a new author to me, but I want to thank this blog for the introduction.
    I look forward to reading this book.

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