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Korean-American writer talks about her debut novel

Korean-American writer talks about her debut novel

Korean edition of Susan Ee’s fantasy novel ‘Angelfall’released

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Published : 2013-12-16 19:27
Updated : 2013-12-16 20:31

Korean-American author Susan Ee. (Peter Adams)

Korean-American writer Susan Ee worked as a lawyer before turning to fiction writing, but having been a life-long fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror literature, it wasn’t too hard for her to choose the subject for her first book: angels.

“Biblical angels destroyed entire cities and turned people into pillars of salt,” Ee wrote in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

“Yet, we tend to portray them as cute cherubs and sweet guardian angels. If they came down to Earth in force, I figured they would be warriors, and badass street soldiers. It fascinates me to think about what happened then. Would there still be room for humanity? For love? For adventure?”

The Korean edition of Ee’s debut novel “Angelfall.” (Jeumedia)

Her self-published debut novel, titled “Angelfall,” is set in California, just six weeks after “angels of the apocalypse” have destroyed the modern world. Its 17-year-old protagonist Penryn teams up with an injured and wingless angel Raffe to somehow retrieve her little sister, who was taken away by the warrior angels.

“I liked the juxtaposition of old-world angels being in Silicon Valley, home of the modern world’s most cutting-edge technology,” Ee wrote.

Ee said she definitely felt “some magic” while writing the novel, which is a story about a “battle-hardened warrior” being partnered with an “extraordinary victim” of his apocalypse.

“The story took its own natural course,” Ee wrote to her readers in Korea. “I tried not to influence it because that was the best way I knew to make sure that the story had its own heart and soul. If the characters and story didn’t want to go toward a certain direction organically on their own, then I wouldn’t force it.”

Initially released in the U.S. in 2011, the original English-language novel ranked No. 1 on Amazon’s Most Wished For Teen Books the following year, and was nominated for the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards for the year’s Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction. Its film adaptation is currently being created by “The Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man 3” director and producer Sam Raimi. The book’s Korean edition recently hit bookstores in Korea.

Ee was born in Korea and moved to California as a little girl. “I didn’t speak a word of English at the time but now, I don’t remember a word of Korean,” she wrote.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to communicate with non-English-speaking Koreans and I am excited that my book has been translated for you. You could be an old friend from kindergarten or friends of my cousins. It’s a warm and wonderful feeling to connect with you again.”

“Angelfall” has been translated into about 20 different languages. Ee, who loves the the fantasy and SF genre for its “freedom from reality and the fantastic stimulation of the imagination,” said she enjoys reading Haruki Murakami, Stephen King, George RR Martin, Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling. And she is certainly excited about the upcoming movie based on her novel.

“I hope the movie will be visually entertaining and emotionally engaging,” Ee wrote. “It would be great fun to see Penryn and Raffe on the big screen!”

By Claire Lee (

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