Author interviews,  Discussions

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CHLOE GONG // chatting to author of These Violent Delights (aka my fave book of 2020) on release day!!

Hello there friends!

Today is a special day as THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS BY CHLOE GONG is OUT NOW.

I read this one a month or so ago via eARC (big thanks to Hodder via Netgalley) and have,,, still not recovered. I adore it so much and I need EVERYBODY to go and read it. And I also need you to suffer with me as we wait for the sequel welp.

I’m also so very fortunate to have author Chloe Gong as a guest today and she so graciously answered some questions about her debut. Which is so exciting and I’m so excited to have her!! Let’s just jump right in.

Chloe Gong is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, double-majoring in English and International Relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, she now lives at the top of a crumbling, ivory tower in Philadelphia (also known as student housing).

After devouring the entire YA section of her local library, she started writing her own novels at age 13 to keep herself entertained, and has been highly entertained ever since. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear by chanting “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” into a mirror three times.

Twitter // Instagram // Website

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And whilst you wait for my review, here’s a smol list of things you can expect from TVD:

rival gangs in Shanghai
childhood friends to lovers to enemies (??) romance,
therefore angst & pining,
as well as stabbiness & melodrama
a broken heart,,, maybe yours idk

Where did the idea of These Violent Delights come from? What sparked this novel? Do you remember the day the idea popped into your head?

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It popped into my head during one of those dreary gray afternoons in the summer after I graduated high school but before I started college. It sort of started as a story about a blood feud and former childhood sweethearts torn apart by their warring families, which quickly developed into a Romeo and Juliet retelling when I saw how similar the core ideas were and how much more interesting it would be to directly engage with these thematic similarities. Once I combined the R&J aspect with the 1920s Shanghai setting, those were the two core sparks that lit up the whole novel!

I loved all the characters, so am keen to know: who is your favourite, who do you relate to most and who was the most fun to write?

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This is always the hardest question! I love all of them, but I think by virtue of the fact that Juliette is the protagonist amidst the main cast, she has to be my favorite and the one I relate to the most because so much of her identity is crafted from bits and pieces of myself. Which isn’t to say we’re similar at all: if I was teleported into my book and saw Juliette on the street I would run in the other direction. But parts of her, like her humor and her outlook, were definitely pulled from how I see the world. As for the most fun to write, then that would be Alisa. She doesn’t get to narrate as many chapters as everyone else, but she’s the youngest, which means her observations are so much more amusing for me to write!

As a big fan of the romance between Juliette and Roma, how did you come up with their dynamic? Are there any couples that inspired them?

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Wherever the angst lives, I go. But really—all of my favorite book couples are always the ones with an unending chain of obstacles thrown at them so they can come out together even stronger, and that was very much how I wanted to go about it. Since there was already such a good starting base with the Romeo and Juliet star-crossed dynamic, I only had to lean right into it and insert other obstacles that would be logical for the story, which meant starting them out as enemies and exes with a history. I don’t think I’d be able to name any specific couples that offered inspiration, but inspiration from the ones that pick up fandoms in YA was definitely what I was going for 😉

After reading These Violent Delights, I became quite obsessed with childhood friends to lovers trope, so I wanted to ask if you had any favourite tropes?

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Ooooh, good question! Obviously, I love enemies to lovers, even though it’s quite rare that it’s used (I’m of the belief that so many books get mislabeled enemies to lovers when actually it’s just mild annoyance to lovers, which I like too, don’t get me wrong!) I also love the “two sides of the same coin” trope, there’s just something so delicious about that. 

Since this is historical fiction, and I imagine you did not live during the 1920s, what was that research process like? How did you envision the Shanghai setting?

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I didn’t live during the 1920s… or did I? *mysterious music plays*

The wonderful thing about Shanghai is that while the city has undergone intense modernization and some parts of it are obviously entirely unrecognizable to the 1920s and are wholly a 21st century aesthetic, there are still other parts that are extremely well-preserved to how it used to be. I visit Shanghai often during my breaks because most of my family still live there, which meant I could do a lot of ground research: the atmosphere, the alleyways, the street markets—it was the physical observation of these places, then entwined with the culture I’ve grown up experiencing and hearing about, which helped me make it feel real and lived in, and not just a backdrop pulled from secondary research. When it came to the hard historical details, of course, like street names and population numbers, then that was just some library book flipping!

Do you have a favourite line from the book? What is it?

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“This was a city shrouded in blood. It was foolish to try changing it.”

As an undergrad college student and aspiring writer myself, I wanted to ask if you had any tips for balancing writing and university work? Do you have any advice for writers in college, specifically balancing college writing and creative writing?

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My biggest tip always surrounds slotting out your time and making careful plans about when it’s school time and when it’s writing time! Doing that is so helpful for making sure you don’t burn yourself out trying to do much at once and for keeping yourself on track so you’re not neglecting one to do the other. College students everywhere will know that the work literally does not stop, so when it comes to carving out time for writing, I’ve found that it’s absolutely necessary to sometimes say, “okay, I’ll have to move this to another day and stop here on this assignment if I’m going to draft something creative for the remainder of the night.” Otherwise, the writing just never happens! I do want to add though, that every writer’s path is going to be different, and while I’m absolutely here to cheer for every student who also wants to write, it’s also absolutely valid for college students to wait until they have more time on their plate to pursue writing! There’s a whole lifetime of time ahead!

Finally, the ending of These Violent Delights was quite something, when can we expect more news about the sequel, if you’re allowed to say?

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It’s hard to say when info will be released because of the nature of publishing, but I can promise more angst, more blood, more drama, and more romance to come!

Title: These Violent Delights
Series: These Violent Delights #1
Author: Chloe Gong
Page count: 464
Date published: 17 November 2020
Genre: YA historical fiction & fantasy

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Synopsis:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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Click for content warnings

Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse

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Add to Goodreads // Click here for purchase links

And there we have it, friends. Chloe Gong is indeed the coolest person alive and I aspire to have the energy.

Go grab yourself a knife and READ THE BOOK. I DARE YOU.

No, but seriously, go read it. I promise it’s worth it.

Also yes I do have a review planned for some time in the future, not sure when but it shall come.


ARE YOU EXCITED TO READ THIS ONE? OR HAVE YOU READ THIS YET? DO YOU PLAN ON IT? HOW COOL IS CHLOE? LET ME KNOW!

Happy reading

xo

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