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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Then, what does Coin think of you?” the interviewer asked as if agreed prior to the interview. Nevertheless, it was a question that Juho was well acquainted with, and he recalled being asked a similar question before. When reminded of that, Juho knew exactly what to say.
“What was that?”
“Should we give him a ring?”
Despite the unexpected suggestion, the interviewer didn’t ask Juho for an explanation because he was also aware of how Yun Woo’s voice first came out to the world. Seeing the interviewer busy trying to think of an answer, Juho said, “It’s probably best to hear from the person directly involved, don’t you think?”
“I have no problem with that,” the interviewer said, his eyes sparkling with delight. He seemed to be welcoming the situation with open arms.
“It’s gotta be late there. You don’t think it’d be an issue, do you?” the reporter asked. However, it was merely a courteous concern, and the fact that he didn’t try to talk the young author out of it was proof of that.
“When he called, he woke me up in the middle of the night,” Juho said indifferently, and the interviewer said without hesitation, “Then, let’s give it a go.”
There was no need to make a long trip or spend time preparing thoroughly. All Juho had to do was take the phone, which he had switched off for the interview, out of his pocket and switch it back on. As the interview took an unexpected turn, the filming crew was in a state of confusion, while Nabi and Nam Kyung appeared to be discussing something. Though they didn’t seem like they were against the idea of calling the infamous author, they seemed concerned about how Coin would respond.
“What do you think he’ll say?” the interviewer asked. Would he compliment or criticize the young author, or share his honest feelings? Would he lie? The young author tried to picture Coin in his head. Then, a convincing image of the author rose to his mind.
“Maybe he’ll just hang up.”
“That definitely sounds like something he’d do,” the interviewer said with a bitter smile on his face, and with that, Juho called the infamous author. The signal came from the receiver when he brought his phone up to his ear and, as the voice repeated the same words over and over again, the cameraman started moving busily.
“No one’s ever had the guts to call the guy,” the interviewer murmured with his hand on his forehead. The crowd waiting for Coin to answer the phone kept growing bigger. At that moment, a click came from the receiver of the young author’s phone, and the recorded message that had been looping stopped abruptly.
“Hello?” Juho said into the phone. Meanwhile, the air sank into silence, and the interviewer looked piercingly at the young author. Then…
“What do you want?” an irritable voice came from the phone’s receiver. Coin was on the other end of the line.
“How’ve you been?”
“I was fine til you called.”
It was quite funny to hear the infamous author criticizing the young author without the slightest hesitation. Nevertheless, it didn’t seem like he had just woken up.
“You weren’t sleeping, huh?”
“I was reading,” Coin said. It was common for him to read well into the night. Although Juho wasn’t exactly proud of interrupting Coin’s alone time, he decided to get to the point without delay while he was at it.
“Guess what I’m doing.”
“Not in the mood.”
“I’m in an interview.”
When Juho brought up the name of the magazine, a sipping sound came from the receiver, followed by Coin’s voice saying, “I was interviewed by them once.”
“As in, I was interviewed by them FIRST.”
“Heard you loud and clear.”
There was stubbornness in Coin’s voice. However, since Juho was well acquainted with that, he was able to remain unfased.
“So, what are calling me for?” Coin asked despite having grasped the situation already.
“Why, I had some questions to ask you.”
“What do you think of me?”
It was the same question that Coin had asked Juho at one point, and instead of an answer, Coin said, “Your interviewer must be asking some pretty boring questions.”
“It wasn’t my first time getting asked that question, I’m not gonna lie.”
“And you’re asking me for an answer because?”
“I’ve learned. What can I say?”
Then, a noise that sounded like a tongue clicking came from the receiver, and after some contemplation, he ordered the young author, “Put me on speaker.”
Juho complied without resisting. Getting a grasp of what he was about to say, Juho sighed and moved the phone away from his ear, and catching on to the situation immediately, the interviewer focused on the voice coming from the receiver.
“You asked what I think of you?” Coin said, his voice echoing through the entire house. There was anticipation in the air. However, being the only person reading in between the lines, Juho remained calm.
“I’m gonna say this once, so you listen carefully.”
“All right,” Juho said, feeling like everyone was sticking their necks out closer to the phone. Then, Coin’s voice came from the device in Juho’s hand, saying, “Don’t waste my time with useless questions like that.”
With that, a thumping noise came from the receiver, and the call ended abruptly, leaving the tension he had built up completely unresolved. As the interviewer stood in his place in a daze, Juho said, “Told you.”
After a brief silence, only his awkward laughter lingered in the air.
“That’s Kelley Coin, all right.”
“It seemed like he was conscious of you though, almost as if wary of you,” the interviewer said, adding that he heard Coin’s murmur before he hung up.
“You think so?”
Then, as if struck by a question, the interviewer said, “Speaking of which, you ran into a journalist in the States before you revealed your identity, right? Although, you probably met him as a groom-to-be rather than a journalist.”
“Ah. Yes, I did,” Juho said as the memory of his red hat rushed across his mind.
“It just so happens that I know the guy. This was when the news of you wearing a red hat really started getting around. It was right after the Hugo Award Ceremony, I believe.”
“So, you really were the boy in a red hat!”
“That’d be me. Although, I had to play coy with your friend. What’s funny is that Coin just flat out left me with the journalist when he started asking a lot of questions.”
At that, the interviewer chuckled quietly, unsurprised that Coin had done something like that. And after some thought, Juho said, “Thankfully, the journalist didn’t bombard me with questions. He probably couldn’t see my face because of my hat. Before he left, he asked me to show him my face next time we met, so when this interview gets released in the States, I’ll be keeping the promise.”
“I suppose so. But technically, he’s a journalist, too. Are you open to the idea of meeting him in person with a recording device between you two?”
“As you can tell from my record, I’m not all that fond of putting myself out there.”
The reporter accepted Juho’s answer without saying much. Then, as he organized his thoughts while looking through the notes in his hands, the interviewer said, “Let’s go way back to the time when you first made your debut as an author with ‘Trace of a Bird.’ You were… sixteen, I believe?”
“Do you think that you debuted at an early age?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. I was really young now that I think about it.”
“What about your book? Do you feel like your debut title was as young and fresh as you were back then?”
Juho paused to choose his words carefully.
“I’d say I was ignorant more so than young and fresh.”
“Yes. I wrote without any sort of planning whatsoever. I was certain that I wasn’t even going to be considered for the award.”
“What was the situation like?”
It was a memory that Juho hadn’t visited in a long time. It had been when he had been contemplating his future.
“Most kids start worrying about their futures at around sixteen. I was no different and I was coming to realize that I needed to be able to take care of myself once I became an adult. But you see, I wasn’t really good at anything. My grades were mediocre, and I’m not exactly athletic, artistic, or musically inclined, either. I felt like I had nothing to offer, really. When I was struck by the realization that I might turn out a pathetic excuse for an adult when I grew up, it left me with a lot of anxiety.”
“So, it sounds to me like this was before you really understood who you were because, now, you’re a world-class author.”
That wasn’t true. Juho knew himself a lot better than the interviewer thought, and the truth was that he really was a pathetic excuse for an adult.
“You’re about to be an adult now. Although, it appears to me that you’re already there,” the interviewer said. Then, with a low moan, he asked, “Are you still afraid of growing up into a pathetic adult?”
“I am. Nobody knows what the future holds.”
“What made you start writing for the first time? You might not always need to plan when you write, but you do need to write, right?”
“Nothing really MADE me write. Writing has been more of a habit for me. Even from when I was very young, whenever something good or bad happened, or anything that evoked my emotions, really, I tended to pick up a pen and start writing. But never have I thought to myself that I am a good writer.”
“Why is that? A lot of people have incredibly high regard for your writing.”
“You see, all these manuscripts lying around the house are actually products of my habit.”
Although having rebutted the young author’s beliefs, the interviewer quietly accepted the reality of the situation.
“So, according to what you’ve told me thus far, it seems like ‘Sound of Wailing’ was actually the first piece you wrote as an author. After all, anything that came before that was nothing but byproduct of your habit, right?”
“The wailing in ‘Sound of Wailing’ was a cry for help, right? The protagonist stops wailing as soon as she realizes that no one’s going to listen to her anymore.”
“In very simple terms, yes.”
“So, when you compare the novel to your own life, do you think the novel’s actually somewhat autobiographical in nature?”
“I think they’re definitely related. I had an experience that first inspired me to write ‘Sound of Wailing.'”
“Would you care to tell us?”
“I remember catching a stroller that was rushing down a hill once. I caught the baby, but not the stroller. The baby wasn’t crying, which made me think that it was dead. That’s when I was suddenly struck by a degree of fear that I’d yet to experience,” Juho said. The thought of that moment made the tips of his fingers ice cold, even to that day.
“So, what happened to the baby?”
“It started wailing.”
“So, it lived.”
“It did. It was slightly delayed, but it started crying. I don’t know… I just had to write after what I’d experienced.”
“Do you think that that was what made the overall plot of the novel significantly darker than its predecessor?”
It was the very first piece Juho wrote after coming back from the dead, and Juho didn’t deny that it was the bleakest novel he had written thus far.
“As I’ve mentioned earlier, you’re on the verge of becoming an adult. Not only will you be allowed to drink alcohol, but you’ll also be able to smoke without legal restrictions.”
“It seems like authors are keen on alcohol in particular. Does that apply to you too, Mr. Woo?”
“My friends and I made a promise that we’d grab a drink together once we became adults, but I want to stay as far away as possible from alcohol. Besides, I’m not fond of authors who rely on alcohol to get by.”
“Is that your view on alcohol as a minor who has yet to have had a drink?”
“It could be. But there’s a very high chance that I’ll distance myself from alcohol. It tends to ruin the most important things for authors writing, and countless authors have proven that theory already.”
“Even if it allows you to see things?”
At that, the young author chuckled quietly and said, “All the more reason I don’t need to drink,” Juho said emphatically, and the interviewer didn’t ask any further.
“I’m sure you’ll experience many more things in the future. In light of that, what do you most want to write about?”
“It’s hard to say. I don’t want to keep anything set in stone. Things almost never go according to plan, and I don’t really see the need to plan that far in advance. In other words, I want to write about something that I haven’t decided to write about yet.”
“What does writing mean to you?”
As Juho took some time to think about the question, a certain word popped up in his mind. Digestion.
“Writing is like an internal organ to me. It’s an organ that digests emotions.”
“That’s an interesting way to put it. Would you mind explaining that a little bit?”
To which, the young author answered, “I probably won’t be able to lead a healthy life without it functioning properly.”
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