Hello everyone! I am so excited to bring back Woven In Books 2021. I started Woven In Books series last year as a way to hype diverse books, authors and bloggers and I’m so glad for all the amazing posts I could put out there. This year I hope to bring some better and more fun posts and I hope you love it just as much!
Today we’re going to start the year with Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights which was one of my favourite 2020 books! I’m so glad to have her on the blog today! Without further ado, lets start!!
Hi Chloe and welcome to Woven in Books. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this!
1) These Violent Delights was such an amazing book and one of my 2020 favorites and I absolutely loved it. What was the best part of writing this book for you?
Thank you for having me here and I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading it! The best part of writing These Violent Delights was creating my own entirely new world. I’ve always loved books—and specifically YA books—because they offer a sense of escapism, and when I wrote my own, I wanted to construct something that would hold a reader captive as if they are actually there within the pages and with the characters. Creating this atmosphere was the part I took most seriously and I’m most proud of!
2) The world of These Violent Delights is so intricate and vast so how did the process of worldbuilding come about for this book and would you say the process was difficult?
It was a long process that drew bits and pieces together over the course of drafting and revision to ultimately come to the finished product. I started with the basic building blocks: I knew that 1920s Shanghai had certain elements in true history like a sense of lawlessness and gangsters running the streets, so I worked from there to draw up a basic, starting plot. Once the plot developed and I needed to move this story through the world, I started delving deeper into certain aspects, like doing historical research for details that would be relevant and timelines that might impact how events unfolded. The research would then also support the way I further expanded fictional parts of the world, like how the rival gangs operated and the influence they would hold over the city. I had a lot of fun with the worldbuilding, but it was definitely a long process!
3) Roma and Juliette are everyone’s favorites. How was the journey of writing these characters?
They’re the stars, so they had a lot more at stake with their characters than the other members of the supporting cast! Roma and Juliette are rival heirs of two gangs at war, so while they are set apart very clearly as representatives of these two groups that could not be more different, they are also at once two sides of the same coin because they are occupying the exact same roles. Because of that, I decided to set their personalities apart where Juliette was the more abrasive leading force and Roma takes a quieter, softer approach. Though their romance isn’t the core conflict, of course, it is a steady tug of influence that underlies the main plot, so how Roma and Juliette interact with each other and reconcile their two different yet incredibly similar personalities colors much of how the book plays out.
4) We know that Roma and Juliette are inspired by Romeo and Juliet, so what about the story and characters inspired you to write These Violent Delights?
I adore the thematic questions that Romeo and Juliet asks, and I could go on and on about how popular media these days have started to misrepresent what the original text was about, and more people need to return to the source material for engagement! At the heart of it, Romeo and Juliet is about these two young lovers surrounded by so much hatred, and instead of perpetuating it, they dare to love instead. It’s these ideas amid something as interesting as a blood feud that influenced the direction I wanted to take These Violent Delights and its sequel in!
5) I absolutely adore the secondary characters of the book so much! Benedikt, Marshall, Rosalind and Kathleen are reader favorites. Tell us how was it writing these characters and did you always intend to give them such important roles?
The cast of These Violent Delights has always been large so it’s always been intended that there would be many moving parts with these characters to be influencing parts of the story! My approach to secondary characters is that I have to know them as well as the main characters, but not all of it will make it onto the page. The way they interact with the world and the way they experience certain events will offer glimpses which make them as fully-fleshed as protagonists, and therefore they could be protagonists if the story turned in that direction, but there must also be a reason why they’re not, because then the story should also turn entirely different if they were the leading force instead.
6) A random fun question: What would be the six characters’ favorite ice-cream flavors?(Roma, Juliette, Benedikt, Marshall, Rosalind and Kathleen)
Oooooh, I really had to think about this. Maybe:
Roma: chocolate chip
Juliette: mint chocolate chip
Benedikt: vanilla (he thinks it goes best with everything else)
Marshall: all of them
Kathleen: salted caramel
7) The second book is highly anticipated especially after that ending so what can readers expect from book two? Is it going to be more violently delightful and should we be scared?
Extremely violently delightful! But yes, the second book will open after a brief time jump from the end of book one, but when the characters are thrown together again, expect more drama, more angst, more blood, and—of course—more romance.
8) Apart from Romeo and Juliet, which other Shakespeare plays are your favorites and would you want to adapt any in the future?
I love the themes and character relations in Antony and Cleopatra, so I’m already working on adapting everything I find interesting about that! There are also others that I might chip away at some time in the future that I can’t unzip my lips about quite yet, but I’ll probably stay in this niche for a bit longer because Shakespeare’s literary techniques were *chef’s kiss*.
Thank you so much for your time, Chloe!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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. These Violent Delights is her debut novel. You can find her on Twitter @TheChloeGong or check out her website at TheChloeGong.com.
You can also check out the cover reveal of book two These Violent Ends and get even more hyped for the book!
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy reading Chloe’s answers? Tell me about it!!