Hi everyone and welcome to my tour stop for Jade Fire Gold by June C. Tan hosted through TBR and Beyond Tours. I’m excited to share an exclusive Q&A with the author for my tour stop.
You can check out the full schedule for the tour here.
About the BookJade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
Published by HarperTeen on October 12, 2021
In an empire on the brink of war...
Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.
Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.
When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.
But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.
Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.
Content Warnings: self-harm (gouging, eye horror; non-graphic), child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional manipulation/gaslighting), parent death (implied, off-page), character deaths mentions and descriptions of fantasy/magical violence (blood, war, political violence), mentions and descriptions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia
About the Author
June CL Tan grew up in Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. After obtaining three degrees, she decided she had enough of academia. Thankfully, those degrees were somewhat related to telling stories and now, she resides in New York City, writing under the watchful eye of her crafty cat. Jade Fire Gold is her debut novel.
1- For those who haven’t read it, what is Jade Fire Gold about and what was your inspiration behind it?
Jade Fire Gold is a YA fantasy inspired that has wuxia (martial heroes) and xianxia (immortal heroes) with a good dash of C-drama style court intrigue. It follows two main characters: a vengeful exiled prince and a peasant girl borned with a cursed power to steal souls. He wants to avenge his family and usurp the throne; she wants to save her grandmother from certain death. There’s a road trip, magical beasts, banter, and a few twists and turns!
2- Similarly, what mythological stories did you drawn on to create the world’s setting and magic system?
Aesthetically, I was mainly inspired by classic wuxia and xianxia scenes like a secret rooftop meeting in the dead of the night or a bustling street market with food stalls or beautiful robes flying in the wind as a martial arts battle takes place atop a bamboo forest…they’ve long been staples in all sorts of East Asian media and they also appear in JADE FIRE GOLD. From Chinese culture, there are also references to Tomb Sweeping Day, the Spring Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and a shadow puppet scene, and all these have been practiced for millennia.
The magic is largely elemental and based on the Chinese concept and philosophy of wuxing (five phases/five elements), but I adapted it a little to suit the story. It’s going to seem pretty familiar to readers who are familiar with AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER! The concept of qi or vital life force is also present in the story. This isn’t “magic”, but rather an underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and martial arts, and in the book, it allows some characters to do seemingly miraculous things.
I also weaved in bits and pieces of myths and legends from Chinese culture like the legend of Chang’e the Moon Goddess, creatures like the dragon and the phoenix, and celestials like the Jade Emperor, and so on.
3- What is your research process like when you are world building/ creating a magic system?
It’s starts with a lot of daydreaming, picturing scenes or places, watching media, reading, researching. I don’t have a specific research process, but more of a faint idea or quick image flashing through my mind followed by thinking hard about whether it’s relevant to the story I’m telling. And then trying to relate it to the characters and the plot.
4- Jade Fire Gold is written from two distinct POVs. Did you always plan to write the story that way? What was it like writing two distinct character voices?
The story started out with only Ahn’s POV. But I kept “hearing” Altan’s voice in my head, like his thoughts and so on. Since he’s a pretty quiet character (doesn’t like to say much) and emotionally stunted and bad at expressing himself, it made sense that we would need to be in his head to understand his story arc better. So I ended up adding him in as the other main POV. Quite fun, actually! And also difficult. For Ahn, I tried to go for a more casual flow and I added contractions and a less formal way of speaking. For Altan, because he used to be a prince, it probably meant that he had some foundation from that in his mannerisms, speech patterns and so on. I tried to include that difference.
5- Jade Fire Gold is your debut, what surprised you most about the writing process? Any advice for aspiring authors?
How many times you have to revise! It’s a lot!!! I think it’s possible to edit something to death while striving for “perfection”, but no story is perfect to everyone, so in the end I had to learn to let go at some point. As for advice, I’d say the most basic one is to just keep writing and to write a book you truly love because you’ll be working on it for a long time and it shouldn’t feel like a chore or burden but a passion project.
6- What do you hope readers will take from Jade Fire Gold?
I hope that readers will lose themselves in a fantasy for some time and just read for escapism. I also think that the teen characters in the book grapple with the weight of familial expectations and their individual desires, but most of them come to a point their comfortable with, and I hope that feels comforting to readers who may be having similar struggles.
What About You?
Have you read Jade Fire Gold? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!