Goodreads asked Alice Y. Chen:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Alice Y. Chen I saw the Centipede Dragon symbol at an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, way back in 2005. For reasons unknown, this symbol really struck me, I mean, to the point where I couldn't leave before I could sketch it. Then I kept looking at my sketch, and kept thinking about it. I imagined him curiously staring out beyond the point where we who are viewing him can see where he's looking.
I found one single descriptive line in my first internet search of him, that he is "a benevolent creature who takes the shape of many forms." I found that one phrase to be so evocative that I ended up staying up most of that night writing the basis of the story.

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