Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Zen Cho, Author of Black Water Sister – On Writing Malaysian Fantasy, and the Intersection of Queerness & Complicated Asian Families

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

Hello hello hello, and welcome back to Pride Month at the Pond! Today, we’re hosting an author who has written what has swiftly become my favorite book of 2021. As a reader from Malaysia, I can’t tell you how exceedingly rare it is for me to truly see the nuances of my life represented in the fiction that I read, which is why I’m always caught so off guard by the earnestness and authenticity of Zen Cho’s Malaysian-influenced stories. And while I have deeply enjoyed her past work, Black Water Sister, Zen’s most recent urban fantasy Penang-set uban fantasy about gods and ghostly grandmas and generational trauma, may arguably be her best work yet. As such, friends, it gives me so much joy to be welcoming the inimitable Zen Cho to the Pond today!

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with June C.L. Tan, Author of Jade Fire Gold – On the Trope of the Chosen One, Cultural Inspiration, and Asian Media Recommendations

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

When I first saw the cover reveal for Jade Fire Gold on Twitter, I gasped. I grew up watching Chinese wuxia dramas with my mother (who was very much the source of my early C-drama obsession as a kid), and the cover art instantly transported me back to those 6 PM childhood evenings spent in front of the television set, rapt with long-running story arcs of whatever was airing at the time. Like a lot of diaspora kids, my upbringing featured a steady hybrid diet of both Asian and Western media: the evening C-dramas were interspersed with Japanese anime, nighttime Disney movies, and American cartoons.

This unique mix of influences is precisely what makes Jade Fire Gold‘s twin ‘comps’ of wuxia meets Avatar: The Last Airbender so potent for me too; it’s genuinely so heartening to see more books being published today that reflect the huge varieties of media that marginalized readers are growing up with. It is thus my greatest honor today to be sharing a little interview we had with June C.L. Tan about her upcoming book, the inspirations behind it, and her writer journey so far!

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Our Friend is Here! A Discussion with Aliette de Bodard on the Themes of Abuse, Colonialism, & Healing in Fireheart Tiger

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

How often do we get to glimpse the heart of a book?

One of my favorite things to do, both as an avid reader and a media student, is picking apart the overarching themes in narratives that I love. I enjoy a grand action-packed fantasy quest as much as anyone else, but there’s just something deeply satisfying about digging deeper—uncovering the big ideas at the core of a story, the questions it wants to ask. So, friends, I am over the moon to be hosting acclaimed SFF author Aliette de Bodard here today with a discussion on the themes of abuse, healing, and colonialism in her newest fantasy novella, Fireheart Tiger.

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