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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
After reading ‘Alexandria,’ the certain member of the audience found herself yearning to read it all over again. Although the story was only a book cover away, her chest ached as though she had gone through a heartrending breakup. The fact that the book was no longer new to her was, in some sense, equivalent to a breakup. She wanted to get to know Alexandria better, imagining the protagonist’s life and identifying with it. She wanted the story to last just a little longer. It was clear that she had grown quite attached to the character. Whenever she would bring up the name Alexandria, her face lit up, as if talking about a friend who she hadn’t seen in ages.
“I wanted to ask about Alexandria in particular. I think I’ve grown really attached to her. Does she ever graduate from school? Does she ever get a job?”
Her questions also stirred up curiosity among the other members of the audience around her. The novel only contained one particular year of Alexandria’s life, which she had spent at school, leaving readers guessing as to how her life turned out. After some contemplation, Juho replied, “I’m sure she’ll part ways with her classmates and make new friends as she goes up a grade. She’ll probably find herself desiring after new things and she’ll work toward that like she’s always done.”
“How long does she live for?” the member of the audience asked curiously and concernedly.
“You know, I never thought about that! How far do you go with character development?” the host asked curiously. Of course, Juho had also thought about the end of Alexandria’s life. Humans were bound to die at some point in their lives, and this principle remained true in the novel. Although Alexandria had still been full of vigor when Juho had first met her, there was no promise that she would be the same if he were to see her again. Looking toward the member of the audience, Juho gave an honest answer.
“That, I don’t know.”
“But… you’re the author,” the audience member said, implying that he should have an answer as the creator of the character. However, the young author was not nearly as capable and all-knowing as the audience member had assumed. He had no idea of when Alexandria would meet her demise. Her death wasn’t something he had had in mind when he had first created her. While a part of him wanted her to be around forever, another part of him had actually made it a reality, which was further proof that he wasn’t a god.
“All I know is that there are moments when I feel that her life is nearing the end. Whenever she forebodes her own death, I put it into writing. It’s a premonition, so you never really know what could happen until it actually does.”
When Alexandria complained to him, as the author, Juho listened.
“Couldn’t you write a sequel?” the audience member said, and the people around him weighed in to her suggestion by erupting into applause. People wanted more of the story.
“I can’t say,” Juho said ambiguously. At which, Pyung Jin added, “I’m sure Mr. Woo will when the times comes.”
“Haha, I agree.”
At that moment, a shout came from the audience, “What about ‘Language of God?'”
“Come again?” the host asked, and the same voice replied in an even louder voice, “The ‘Language of God’ series!”
“Ah, ‘Language of God.'”
At the mention of Yun Woo’s longest and most epic series, the audience looked at Juho with even more interest. Similarly, the host turned and looked toward the young author.
“‘Language of God’ is definitely the book that’s most appealed to the masses. What do you have to say to your readers, Mr. Woo? Should they expect good news?”
Juho felt conflicted seeing the anticipation in the eyes within the audience. Since he didn’t have any solidified plans, he couldn’t give a solid answer, which left him to give the same answer he always gave, “… It’s hard to say.”
At that, the audience started grumbling, and the host leveraged that atmosphere, rushing him for an answer, “Can’t you give any specifics? I’m pretty sure the world is watching.”
“I guess I really have to think about what I say then.”
“Maybe just a snippet? Is there a story you have in mind? A direction that you wanted to take?”
“Ah! That, I have.”
“What is it?”
Although it was still an idea that was yet to even take shape, there was a part of the series that Juho had always wanted to expound on. Noticing the camera focusing on him, Juho replied, “I’d focus on the past more than the future.”
The story of the four companions within ‘Language of God’ had long been over. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea to have the same characters to go on a whole new journey, Juho wanted to focus more on the past and the history of the cultures the four companions experienced during their journey. The languages of those cultures had been slightly more complicated and somewhat ambiguous during their transitional period in the past, which was precisely the time period Juho wanted to focus on. It was the period in which the development of the languages was at its peak.
“Is there going to be any backstory for God? Or the traitor for that matter?” Pyung Jin asked, obviously well acquainted with the book. The mythology within the series had been the most integral part of the novel, which provided readers a picture of what the past Juho wanted to focus on looked like even after generations had passed.
“Perhaps. Perhaps not.”
The audience grumbled at the author’s ambiguous answer again. Although Juho didn’t want to disappoint his readers, there was no other answer he could give them since nothing was set in stone. Clenching his hands into fists, the host expressed his discontentment.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, it seems like there’s still hope, right? Let’s wait just a little longer.”
At that, the audience gave an affirmative answer in loud unison. A story that took place in the same world as ‘Language of God.’ Although Juho tried playing around with the idea in his head, nothing came to him.
“Here!” another member of the audience responded as they were given the microphone. A man of small stature, he was wearing a pair of glasses.
“I loved the film adaptation of ‘Trace of a Bird.’ My understanding is that Myung Joo Mu, from the movie, was at your signing event recently. Are you still close with the actors and actresses in the movie?”
“That did happen!”
“That’s a good one! A lot of people have been wanting to know about that!”
Questions about the movie, ‘Trace of a Bird,’ were quite common. Not only had the movie been commercially successful, but it had also been critically acclaimed, which had been proven by the fans of the original novel recognizing its film adaptation. After some thought, Juho said, “Honestly, I don’t see any of them that often. I was still anonymous when the movie was still in production, so we hardly ever met in person.”
Yun Woo’s face hadn’t been known to the public back then, and Juho had wanted his identity to remain hidden.
“Besides, I had no intention of being part of the production. I just wanted to be able to enjoy the movie as another viewer. So, at the end of the day, the position I was in wasn’t all that different from the one everyone else in here was. I’m just another fan of the movie.”
“Do you keep in touch with the actors and actresses?”
“Did you really not know that Myung Joo Mu was gonna be at your signing?”
“No, I didn’t. I was genuinely caught off guard when I saw him too.”
From then on, after receiving a few more questions, Juho answered them with sincerity. Then, as the microphone went to the last person, the audience member asked, “Do you consider Sung Pil your rival?”
Looking at his friend, who was sitting next to him, Juho replied, “I remember growing kidney beans for a school project once. Whenever I think about that, I realize just how much my friend here has in common with those beans.”
Sung Pil’s eyebrows winced at Juho’s unexpected analogy. Paying no attention to it, Juho kept on, “Once you plant the bean, you don’t see anything but dirt the first day. But the next day, the bean already starts sprouting, and the next day, the stalk starts to come up, and the following day, the leaves start growing. All that happens within the span of one week.”
Looking at the pace it grew, the bean looked like it had taken root as though it would grow into the sky.
“I’ve never seen a plant backing away from something. Sung Pil’s writing is kind of like that, which keeps me on my toes.”
Pyung Jin exclaimed quietly, impressed. Meanwhile, with his eyes widened, the host asked Sung Pil, “Mr. Woo seems to have a lot of good things to say about your writing! What do you have to say, Sung Pil?”
“I’m already aware that Yun Woo’s been keeping me in check,” he said. At which point, the critic’s exclamation turned into a subtle chuckle. Nevertheless, the rookie author didn’t let up, “And I’m gonna do my best to overcome the burden that gets put on me by my friend here.”
As the segment came to an end, the audience erupted into applause. Indicative of the show’s title, the topic naturally moved on to the subject of books.
“Is there a book that you guys have particularly enjoyed recently?”
“I like to binge read books written by the same author. I read ‘One Room’ by Seo Joong Ahn again recently and I found myself completely hooked,” Sung Pil said, beating Juho to it.
“Ah! I remember discussing that book!” the host said, weighing in on Sung Pil’s recent obsession.
“Have you ever met him in person?”
“No,” Sung Pil said.
“What about you, Mr. Woo? You know him personally, don’t you? You two have even published a book together.”
“I do,” Juho said, nodding.
“You should introduce your friend to Mr. Ahn one of these days!” the host said, an idea that Juho didn’t find to be bad.
“I think I will,” Juho said. Then, the critic immediately followed up with another question, “What about you, Mr. Woo? Is there a book that’s left a deep impression on you?”
“‘The Full Moon,'” Juho said without hesitation. As if welcoming his answer, Pyung Jin’s eyes sparkled with interest.
“‘The Full Moon’ is a book that reminded readers of Mr. Lim’s amazing talent. It’s very popular among the younger generation as well. It seems that you’ve enjoyed it yourself, Mr. Woo.”
“I didn’t just enjoy it. I got so sucked in that I forgot about writing my own book,” Juho said.
“Do you meet with Mr. Lim in person often?” the host asked the young author, curious about his relationship with the literary great. However, they weren’t quite close enough for Juho to be able to brag about it. Although he shook his head, the host didn’t let up. While Juho was thinking about changing the subject, another person came to mind.
“Actually, there’s this novel that I’ve been really looking forward to.”
“Really? Please, do tell,” the host said, looking somewhat reluctant to move on. Nevertheless, that was exactly what Juho wanted him to do.
“Did you hear anything about Geun Woo Yoo?”
“Not that I can remember… Is he coming out with a new book? He’s in the same club as you, isn’t he?”
“Yes, he is.”
Before moving on to the next topic, the host took time to briefly mention the author.
“He’s known for being one of Yun Seo Baek’s pupils. He’s written a successful debut title by using the jarring subject of cannibalism and he’s also known for his participation in the literary magazine, ‘The Beginning and the End.'”
“Right. When I checked last time, he had recently announced the release date for his book,” Juho said. However, there was no response from the audience whatsoever. Only Pyung Jin nodded in agreement.
“He told me a little bit about the story not too long ago, and it was quite interesting. I’m planning on going to the bookstore and buying it the day it’s released,” Juho said.
“Mr. Yoo’s writing tends to drag a little,” the critic said.
“And it’s that depressing vibe his writing carries that I really like. You see, his worries and concerns really shine in his writing. He excels at writing about subjects like fascism or nationalism too. He might sound pitiful in his writing, but it’s not exactly ominous, either. He might sound weak and vulnerable, but he’s unyielding at the same time. Timid, yet bold. What I really admire about him is that he’s not afraid to dive into the very things he regrets to bring about a story. A story written by such an interesting person is bound to draw the readers’ attention. As for me, I won’t think twice about buying Geun Woo Yoo’s book when it comes out.”
“Sounds to me like you’re a fan.”
“Yes, I am.”
From then on, they talked about Geun Woo just a little longer, and Sung Pill shared that he had also read Geun Woo’s book.
“Now, I hate to be the one to say this, but we’re all out of time for today. Why don’t we wrap up with one last question?” the host said. Then, looking away from his script, he asked, “How would you like to be remembered by your readers in the future?”
At that moment, Juho noticed the cameras focusing on him, capturing every subtle change in his expression. Clenching his lips tightly on purpose, he replied, “I gotta try not to be forgotten, first of all.”
“That’s just silly! How can anybody forget your name?”
As the idle talk around them faded away, the question went to Sung Pil, who repeated the same answer from his first interview. Finally, with the host’s energetic closing remark, the taping session came to an end.
“Wonder how this will turn out,” Sung Pil said. To which, Juho answered confidently, “I’d say pretty OK.”
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