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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Feeling the dry air in the set, Juho opened his water bottle and drank from it, thinking, ‘Good thing I ate that bento. I would’ve been hungry by now.”
“All right. We’ve asked our viewers what we should ask you,” the host said, adding that the staff had actually gone out to the busy streets to interview the fans while accepting requests on the website.
“We were reminded of just how curious your fans were about you and your books.”
While Juho felt concerned on one hand, he looked forward to it on the other. Then, without hesitation, the host revealed the first question.
“Are you really afraid of birds or do you actually like them?”
It was a question which the young author had heard many times.
“I used to get that question a lot,” Juho said, feeling relieved by the familiar question.
“Did you now? Well, how are you with birds? Are you afraid of them or do you like them?”
“It’s hard to say. As you probably noticed from my writing, I’m kind of ambivalent toward birds, and my feelings tend to take on different shapes. It never stays in one uniform shape. I find them cute and adorable on one hand, but I can’t stand them on the other,” Juho said, being mindful not to limit the significance behind the portrayals of birds in his books.
“The next question is about the film adaptation of ‘Trace of a Bird.’ Are you close with Myung Joo Mu? What was one scene from the movie that stood out to you the most?”
‘Movie,’ Juho thought to himself as he organized his thoughts. The answer was quite simple, especially regarding the actor.
“First of all, it’s hard to say that we’re close. We haven’t seen each other all that much.”
“His congratulations to your recent victory over the Nebula Award were quite the sensation at one point. Are you aware of this?”
“Yes. I found that out through articles.”
“Yet, you two aren’t close?”
“I’m just a fan,” Juho said in order to make time for the next answer. Since it never occurred to him to give specific scenes a ranking, he needed time to decide which scene from the movie had stood out the most to him.
“I think the ending is the first thing that comes to my mind.”
It was the scene where the bird flew up to the sky as the dark background became gradually brighter for the first time in the entire movie. The striking visuals and soundtrack made for a gratifying experience. Meanwhile, as the young author answered with ease, the host came back with yet another question.
“What do you like most about your books”
“Oh, my books?”
“Yes, about the books you’ve written up to this point. I don’t wanna be redundant by saying this, but you’ve written some top-notch novels. Were there any scenes in particular that you enjoyed writing?”
It was the trickiest question by far.
“Is this a tricky question to answer?” the host asked, and after a long silence, the young author barely managed to speak up, “… No. They were all mediocre at best.”
Then, observing the young author, Pyung Jin asked, “You don’t seem to like your own works.”
“I’m always looking for ways to improve as an author.”
“That’s surprising. Don’t you get a lot of compliments from the people around you?”
“Thankfully. I think that’s why I’m so hard on myself.”
Contrary to their perception, it was far from it. Unlike what they had thought, Juho was an ordinary person on the inside, which was why they were finding the young author’s answer intriguing. Juho simply smiled.
“I think the brother was the scene stealer of the movie. His character had some weight to it, even in the original novel as well. What was your take on Myung Joo Mu’s portrayal of the character?”
“He had some trouble understanding the character while they were filming, so I told him my thought process from when I came to create the character for the novel. It didn’t take long at all for him to accept and embrace my explanation. I, personally, was relieved that Myung Joo Mu was cast for the role.”
Although Juho knew nothing about acting, from the point of view of the creator of the original, Juho considered Myung Joo a great actor. Then, as the young author thought, ‘That should do,’ another unexpected question came his way, “Who are some of your favorite celebrities or musicians?”
His ideal type of woman would be determined by how he answered that question. Meanwhile, the critic asked light-heartedly, “There are a bunch of celebrities who are popular among teens. Don’t you talk about them with friends?”
At that, Juho thought about his immediate friends. From a bookworm to a comic book buff, an avid gamer, and nuts and bolts fanatic, there existed a whole array of interests among the young author’s friends, but not a single one was into celebrities. Influenced by the previous question, Myung Joo Mu was the only name that lingered in Juho’s head.
“You see, I spend most of my time writing and I don’t get to watch a whole lot of TV. I’m afraid there aren’t that many celebrities or musicians I know.”
“Not even one?”
Realizing that they weren’t going to let up anytime soon, Juho thought of an answer to weave himself out of that situation. At that moment, a certain individual came to mind.
“If I were to choose one, I do have a favorite singer.”
A look of interest appeared on the host’s and the critic’s faces. They had to be expecting somebody popular, and Juho’s answer was bound to disappoint them. However, Juho pressed on.
“She performs at this park that I go to frequently. She always hums wordless melodies and goes about her way.”
As expected, an ambiguous look appeared on the host’s and the critic’s faces. Nevertheless, the young author continues, “I like her songs the most. She told me once that she’d write lyrics for her songs one day, which means that wordless humming won’t be around much longer. There are times when I get impatient waiting for her to write her lyrics, and I find myself itching to hear her sing.”
“What’s her name?” the critic asked.
“I’m afraid I don’t know her name.”
That was about the extent of Juho’s relationship with her, and realizing that there wasn’t much else to ask, the critic let up. The producer looked as though he had expected more. Nevertheless, the young author was quite satisfied with his answer. The next question was about the Nebula Award.
“I believe we brought it up just now. You mentioned a fellow author giving you advice. Who was that author?”
“I’ve been wanting to know this myself,” the critic added.
Then, after some thought, Juho said, “Would it be OK to bring up his name without getting his consensus?”
“It’s not like you’ve done anything bad. You’ll be fine,” Pyung Jin said, waving his hand in order to reassure the young author. Meanwhile, the producer and the writer at the front signaled to him emphatically, encouraging him to say the name, and when Juho looked at Nam Kyung, he nodded slowly with an ambivalent look on his face. ‘Hope he doesn’t get mad at me,’ Juho thought as an image of the author gently admonishing him crossed his mind. Despite the gentleness, Juho couldn’t help but be afraid. And eventually, after wrestling with his thoughts for a little while, the young author brought up the name cautiously, “It’s Mr. Lim. Hyun Do Lim.”
At that, a look of shock appeared gradually on the critic’s face.
“So, it was Mr. Lim!” he said, his voice getting louder by reflex. Seeing his reaction, the host asked, “I’ve read his books too. He’s known for the depth of his descriptions, right?”
“He certainly is,” the critic said. Then, he started raving about how great an author Hyun Do was, until the host had to step in to stop him. Pyung Jin’s praise toward the literary great was very much valid, even from an objective standpoint.
“He’s also known for not asking favors from other authors. He turns down every testimonial request, no matter who it’s from. He declined yours too, didn’t he, Mr. Woo?”
“I didn’t realize that was such a widely known fact.”
“Those who know will know.”
Hyun Do Lim had taken the initiative to talk to Yun Woo, and as a result, ‘Language of God’ was born. Meanwhile, thrilled by what he heard, Pyung Jin started raving on about Hyun Do all over again, as if he had forgotten that he was on TV. Seeing the critic growing rambunctious, Juho started to feel uncomfortable.
“That’s incredible. It makes me wanna get a peek at your daily life, Mr. Woo.”
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Juho said. However, the critic didn’t believe him.
“Are you planning on publishing an autobiography or an essay anytime soon?”
“Not at the moment, no.”
“Don’t be so quick to brush it off, Mr. Woo. Give it some thought. Every single person in this country will buy it. You could also include your short stories while you’re at it.”
“I’ll consider it.”
From then on, an array of questions followed, from Juho’s relationship with Kelley Coin to how the young author started writing, his habits when writing, and tricks and tips. Although they seemed to have chosen questions that were more personal in nature, such as preferences or hobbies, Juho answered each and every one of them with complete sincerity. With that, break time came, and Juho rose from his seat in order to stretch.
“Gettin’ long, huh?” the host said to him with an apologetic smile.
“We tried to condense it as much as possible, believe it or not. You see, there are quite a few questions that have been backed up for the last three years,” the host explained, and Pyung Jin agreed emphatically, adding, “One of these days, Mr. Woo, I’d love to have an long, in-depth discussion about your books.”
At that, Juho chuckled awkwardly. Soon, the taping resumed for the latter half of the show.
“OK. Now, let’s talk about your books.”
As the host listed the young author’s books in the order they had been published, Juho took a sip of water from his bottle, and Pyung Jin straightened his tie.
“You’ve managed to write all these books in the span of three years.”
When Juho heard the titles of his books in the form of a list, it dawned on him just how much he had written up to that point.
“I’m a fast writer.”
“Is there a reason for why you write so much?” the host asked.
“Nothing in particular. I just write when I think of something I want to write about, and here I am three years later.”
At that, Pyung Jin exclaimed quietly. It was a signal of sorts, and with the host’s permission to speak, the critic said, “There are still conflicting opinions about Mr. Woo’s prolific writing, even to this day, because not only does it dilute the point of interest, but it also becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the quality of each piece. And there are authors out there who struggle with this.”
“Am I one of them?” Juho asked the critic. To which, he answered, wincing, “Not at all,” and proceeded to tell the young author what he wanted to hear, “Each of your pieces has a distinct flavor. Not only are they new every time, but they also bring precisely what the readers want from Yun Woo. Quickly at that. The length is also a plus. The readers tend to want to cherish and savor a piece written by their favorite author. Your books reassure the readers that they made the right decision to get into Yun Woo literature, and frankly, that’s not easy to pull off.”
It was quite the praise, and Juho couldn’t help but roll his eyes.
“So, I’ve been dying to ask this in person,” he said in all seriousness. “How were you able to do that?”
Pyung Jin was referring to the deep emotional experiences that came from Juho’s books. People had different ways to explore the incomprehensible in their lives, and asking questions had to be one of the most effective ways to go about this. Asking somebody a question conveyed to the other person just how earnestly one wanted to know the answer. Then, Juho looked straight at him and gave him an honest answer, “I write every day. I don’t write a set amount within a certain amount of time or anything, but I’m in the habit of writing every day. One time, our Literature Club teacher taught us just how easy it is to become a better writer. And that was to write more. In order to write more, one has to ask themselves what they have seen up to that point. That’s the only way you can get the hand moving. I collect raw materials and I make a story out of them. The fewer the ingredients, the shorter the story. Likewise, the heavier the ingredients are, the weightier the story becomes. Although, it’s not always accurate.”
Then, thinking of all the manuscript paper he had used throughout his career, the young author added, “Sometimes you end up with a defective product, but there are rare occasions when you’re awarded with a piece of writing that isn’t too shabby. But more often than not, it’s not long before you notice all the flaws, which is why I rewrite the same story over and over again.”
“So it seems like you’re not just being figurative here,” the host said, and Juho answered honestly, “No, there are days I don’t write.”
“If you’ve been writing that much, I can only imagine just how many stories there are.”
At that, Juho couldn’t help but be reminded of the stacks of manuscripts in his room.
“Yes, there are quite a few.”
“Do you pick which ones to publish out of that reserve?”
That time, Juho shook his head without delay. That was unthinkable.
“They’re all failures, every single one of them. I wouldn’t even want to look at them.”
“What do you mean by failures?” the host asked.
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