Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is Eona, thrust into the role of her country's saviour.
But Eona has an even more dangerous secret - she cannot control her power. When she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon she is overcome by the anguish of the ten spirit beasts whose Dragoneyes were murdered. The result: a killing force that destroys everything before it.
On the run from High Lord Sethon's army, Eona and her friends must help the Pearl Emperor, Kygo, wrest back his throne. Everyone is relying on Eona's power. Can she face her own darkness within, and drive a desperate bargain with an old enemy? A wrong move could obliterate them all.
Alison Goodman's most recent book EON, also known as The Two Pearls of Wisdom, won the 2008 Aurealis Award and was shortlisted for Victorian, NSW and WA Premier's Literary Awards. Alison was a 1999 DJ O'Hearn Memorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and holds a Master of Arts. She lives in Bayside, Melbourne and currently writes full-time as well as mentoring other authors.
Author: Alison Goodman
Question: What inspired the story Eona?
Alison Goodman: I was reading a book about Feng Shui when I came across a paragraph that mentioned an early Chinese Emperor who ordered all of his Feng Shui masters to build him a palace of good fortune, and then had them all murdered to keep the secrets of his palace safe! As soon as I read that, the idea for EON and its sequel EONA just exploded in my mind. I grabbed a pen and in about ten minutes I had written down a whole storyline about a young woman who masquerades as a boy in order to become a Dragoneye - a powerful lord able to master the elements through one of twelve energy dragons - and who is caught up in a brutal battle for an Empire.
Question: What research went into EON and EONA?
Alison Goodman: I did two types of research. First I hit the books and researched the historical stuff like eunuchs and medieval Chinese culture that I used as a springboard to create the mythical Empire of the Celestial Dragons. I also do what I call experiential research, which is all about experiencing through the five senses. I traveled to Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong and spent my time tasting different foods, touching silks and artifacts, smelling spices and listening to the sounds of the cities and villages so that I could create a vivid world for my reader.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Eona?
Alison Goodman: I get to live another life through her adventures. Plus, Eona can wield a sword and commune with an energy dragon, which is great fun.
Question: How does it feel to have won the 2008 Aurealis Award?
Alison Goodman: It feels great! I was so excited that when I made my acceptance speech I forgot my lovely husband's name!
Question: Can you talk about why you have chosen to mentor other Australian authors?
Alison Goodman: There are a couple of reasons. I've had some great mentors in my career and I know how much they have helped me develop as a writer. After my first book, Singing the Dogstar Blues, was published, I started teaching Creative Writing to undergraduates at university and then supervising postgraduate students. I soon found that I really enjoyed the more intensive, one-on-one supervision role, so I decided to start mentoring other writers on a professional basis. It is very satisfying to help a writer develop their craft, and see a project through from start to finish. And without fail, I always learn something new myself.
Interview by Brooke Hunter