Featured Interview With Author Mana Lee
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada and that’s where I currently reside, although my plan is to return to Korea within a few years. I have an adorable little Highland Fold cat who is staying with a friend in Seoul and is eagerly awaiting my return. When I’m not writing I’m usually busy studying Korean language. One of my biggest goals is to be able to read novels in Korean someday.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
There’s a video of me at around 7 months old, looking fascinated by all the books I received at Christmas. I showed more interest in them than any other toy. I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I learned to write. Actually, it was probably before that. I recently found in a box in my parents’ garage a little bundle of papers stapled together with a simple story from myself, dictated to my grandfather, who dutifully wrote it down for me. I was probably around 3 years old.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Currently I enjoy reading about Korean history and folklore. I’m still learning Korean language, so I read the stories first in Korean and then in English to help understand better. While I do love fantasy and some horror, I find myself reading non-fiction quite a bit. When it comes to writing, I would say I was definitely inspired by Stephen King. His books were some of my favourite growing up, especially IT and The Green Mile. I’d also put Buffy the Vampire Slayer in there too. For awhile, in my teenage years, I wanted to be a screenwriter, mostly because of that show.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Rift: Seoul Searching is my idea of a fantasy Korean drama in book form. It follows the story of Hyeri, a young woman working at a TV station, who suddenly finds herself with superpowers. And unfortunately, Hyeri’s newfound powers mean she’s now the one that must stop monsters from wreaking havoc in Seoul.
The inspiration for this story actually came from watching anime. I was living in Japan at the time and I wrote a very different outline for a very anime-esque story that took place in Tokyo. After moving to Korea, I changed a lot of the story to suit that location instead and imagined it more like a K-Drama than an anime. I’m really happy I changed it because I have much more of a connection to Seoul. Writing this story was so much easier than my original Tokyo version. The words just seemed to flow onto the page, as if this was how it was meant to be all along.
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