Sue Lynn Tan introduces Heart of the Sun Warrior

Xingyin’s story is one of hope, sacrifice, and ultimately of love in all its manifestations.

Sue Lynn Tan

I have always loved reading fantasy, exploring worlds filled with magic, wonder, and infinite possibilities. My favourite stories were those of epic quests, with mythical creatures and enchanted artifacts, of characters full of heart who were both heroic and human.

Never did I dream that one day I would be creating realms of my own, those inspired by my culture and the legends I grew up with. Sometimes, when I look at Daughter of the Moon Goddess on my shelf, when I leaf through its pages . . . it brings me to tears. For a long time, I was alone in this world—dreaming, agonizing, and rejoicing alongside Xingyin. It doesn’t feel real yet that since the book’s release, many others have journeyed with me into the Celestial Kingdom where beauty is entwined with danger, magic abounds, and things are rarely as they seem. To every reader who has given this series a chance, to every bookseller and librarian who placed it into their hands—I am so grateful to you.

Heart of the Sun Warrior, the sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess, is inspired by beloved Chinese mythology, stories of the Mid-Autumn. This festival bears special meaning to me, rousing precious memories of lanterns beneath the light of the full moon, reuniting with family over a meal, eating slices of mooncake as I gazed at the image of the goddess on the boxes.

The legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, is a story I have always loved, one that stayed with me over the years. More than the enthralling images evoked was the emotions it stirred in me. Their tragic parting, when Chang’e takes Houyi’s elixir and flies to the heavens, left me sad, unsettled, and yearning for more. I imagined them to be deeply in love, and that it would have been a hard decision for Chang’e to make. Some believed she was saving the elixir from thieves, while others claimed she wanted to become immortal. For myself, I wondered if there might have been something else, a reason of the heart.

I imagined a child born of the goddess of the moon and the mortal who slew the suns. A daughter filled with strength and passion, an immortal with a mortal heritage, someone who was not afraid to fight for herself and her desires, who was not perfect and infallible but strove to do what is right. I imagined a girl who could slay a nine-headed serpent and yet, fall in love and dream of a kiss. One who would save the prince instead of waiting to be rescued, who would grasp fate in her hands and shape her own, who balanced talent with perseverance, who cherished love alongside honour, and who would rise from the depths of despair to soar higher than she ever imagined possible.

The Celestial Kingdom duology is a story of immortals flying upon clouds, of epic quests and fierce battles–yet at its core it is a tale of a woman fighting for the things closest to her heart, and the journey of self-discovery she embarks upon. Heart of the Sun Warrior continues Xingyin’s adventure, delving deeper into cherished mythology. She battles legendary creatures, ventures to unexplored parts of the Immortal Realm, encountering friends and adversaries, both old and new, as they confront a grave threat to their world.

Xingyin’s story is one of hope, sacrifice, and ultimately of love in all its manifestations, both family and romantic. I hope that readers of Heart of the Sun Warrior might find a little inspiration in her journey, that they might lose themselves in this world and find something to love in it—as I loved writing this book with all my heart.

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