Name: June Hur
Asian background: Korean
What is it about your experience and upbringing that inspired you the most to write?
For most of my life, I’ve known very little about Korean history, even though my parents are “very” Korean and even though I lived in Korea when I was a teen. Then in 2015, out of sheer curiosity, I read further into Korean history – and fell madly in love with it. I was fascinated by everything and was gripped by a terrifying desperation to write a Korean historical mystery. I hesitated for a while, wondering if I, a Korean-Canadian ‘diasporan’, even had the right to write about Korea, and afraid that no one would be interested in a mystery set in a non-western country. It was the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement that finally gave me the courage to write.
At the very heart of this book is a more personal story inspired by my family, a family dispersed. I spent nearly half my life living with my siblings in Canada, far away from my parents, far away from my relatives. And so, while I was writing this book, I found myself wrestling with two questions that always haunted me: What will it cost to keep family together when things are falling apart? And where is home when you live far away from those who have loved you for all of your life?
Name 3 authors and 3 books
Little Fires Everywhere, A Grief Observe, Persuasion.
Shveta Thakrar, Diana Urban, Kat Cho
What do you think is the best quality a writer can have?
Perseverance, because the journey to publication is a long one. But also discipline: to work hard on your writing, while also knowing when to step to practice self-care.
Any last words? (Fun facts, comments, something you’d like to share with the world, etc.)
For those super ambitious folks out there, we sometimes work so hard and put our life on hold, telling ourselves that we’ll begin living again once we “land on the stars.” But if you don’t land on the stars, redefine what it means to be among the stars. Redefine your definition of success. If things aren’t working out, remember there is a whole galaxy out there.
Challenge: Write a one-sentence story!
There was once an author who could write 90k long books, but when asked to write a one sentence story–she stared at her computer screen, and stared, unable to think of a single thing to write.