Authors in Orbit: Fonda Lee introduces her novel, Jade City


I’m Fonda Lee, and
I’m the author of Jade City. Jade City is a gangster fantasy saga that has been described as The Godfather, but with magic and kung fu, and it’s set in an Asian-inspired
fantasy metropolis. You’ve often heard the phrase, “Write the book that you want to read,” so for me Jade City really is the book that I couldn’t find
that I wanted to read, and it’s this mix of
these things that I love. So it has Asian history and culture; it has martial arts. It has this family saga and all these complex relationships; this mix, I guess, of all these things that really isnpired me. I think that’s what really excites me. So Jade City was inspired in part because I’m a martial artist, and I’ve been training in martial arts since I was thirteen years old. I have two black belts
in two different disciplines, and I’m also a big fan of martial arts films. And I noticed that
the characters in these films could do things like fly and run up walls and punch through concrete, and I, after twenty-odd years
of training, could not do any of those things, and my instructors, who were way more
accomplished than me couldn’t either. So in a way, Jade City was wish-fulfillment fantasy for me as well, to create a world where those powers existed. If I had to pick my favorite character
to write in Jade City, I’d probably have to go with Hilo because I have this soft spot for the impulsive, hotheaded,
emotional people in novels, and it’s probably because I’m not like that. I’m much more the planner
and the analytical overthinker, and so I really gravitate
towards writing characters that shoot off the cuff. If I had to say which character in Jade City was most like me, it would have to be Shae, not just because she went and got an MBA,
but because she has – just the way that she thinks
and the way that she reacts to some of the things that happen in the book,
her thought process – there were just so many things about her
that I could relate to.

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