Monday, August 24, 2020

Chloe Gong Interview - These Violent Delights

Photo Credit: © JON STUDIO

Chloe Gong is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English and international relations. During her breaks, she’s either at home in New Zealand or visiting her many relatives in Shanghai. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear when “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” is chanted into a mirror three times. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @TheChloeGong, or check out her website at


Tell us your latest news.
I’m so excited to announce that [REDACTED]. This has been an effort in [REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED]. You’ll be able to [REDACTED REDACTED]. Oh—oh no, it looks like I have the Publishing Secret-Keeping Filter on my answers. Alas… I promise I have great latest news, please take my word for it ;)

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My writing has been hugely influenced by all the young adult novels I read growing up. The earliest author I remember adoring was Meg Cabot, and after I devoured her Mediator and Abandon series I went hunting through the shelves of the school library to start picking up other paranormal books of the early 2010s, like Lauren Kate’s Fallen and Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. Because I’ve been writing since high school and I started relatively young, my writing style developed through imitation. My first novel was also a paranormal to mimic what I was seeing on the shelves. When the trend shifted into dystopian and I grew obsessed with Veronica Roth’s Divergent, I also wrote a dystopian. Eventually, I was soaking in enough words to grow and develop my own writing voice, but I couldn’t have achieved this without reading so many of the books I wanted to write.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s always the readers! I write because I love to tell stories, and knowing there are people who choose to spend time in something of my making—enjoying themselves with these characters I’ve created, within this world I’ve created—is incredibly special.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope they will feel fully engrossed within the world, because a sense of atmosphere is one of the first things that come to me when I’m writing a book. Maybe thinking a few curse words here and there too, because I want them to be just as caught up in the horror and passion and plot twists within the pages.

In your new book THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
These Violent Delights a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1926 Shanghai, about a city caught in a blood feud between two rival gangs. The teenaged heirs of those gangs—Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov—must work together when a series of mysterious deaths start to kill members on both sides, but Juliette and Roma were childhood lovers before the feud tore them apart, and they’ll have to put aside their own personal grudges before they can save their city.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I initially conceptualized the idea for These Violent Delights right before freshman year of college, and then I finished the first draft in the summer after freshman year. So the biggest distraction was probably life itself, and the whole crisis that comes with being out on your own for the first time and having to become a real adult!

What part of Juliette and Roma did you enjoy writing the most?
Is it cheating to say every part of them? When I wrote Juliette and Roma, I wanted them to feel very multi-faceted, intentionally making it a little hard to sum up exactly who they are, because it’s hard to sum up a few personality traits of a real person. Juliette is rough around the edges, but she’s also the picture of sophistication; Roma is ice-cold and curt, but he’s also always in his head, catastrophizing about anything and everything. I loved pushing and prodding at their personalities, and finding that even while I was writing, they were unfolding before me like there were parts of themselves that I didn’t even know existed yet.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Matthew Fairchild from Cassandra Clare’s The Last Hours series. Firstly because I like being practical and the historical era overlaps between The Last Hours being set in 1903 and These Violent Delights being set in 1926. Secondly because Matthew is my favorite and I think he would get on really well with Juliette as a character. They could probably be Prohibition-era drinking buddies.

In chronological order...
  • Age 6. I walked up to a random man at the grocery store and started rummaging around his shopping basket. When he glanced down at me, I ran away. To this day, I’m still not sure if that was real or a dream.
  • Age 8. I decided to spend one lunch break collecting ladybugs off the trees. I put them in my book-bag, and my mum stuck her hand into a bunch of creepy-crawlies when she tried to check my homework.
  • Age 9. I was convinced my friend’s cat stole the left shoe of a doll I was playing with. My friend didn’t believe me because her cat was old and didn’t like taking things. When she went into the other room, I started pleading with the cat to give the shoe back.
  • Age 11. I decided a kissing scene in a Jacqueline Wilson book wasn’t spicy enough, so I got a pencil and added my own dialogue into the library copy.
  • Age 12. Despite having never written anything longer than a two-page story in class, I decided to start writing a novel.
  • Age 14. I looked up one day and suddenly the novel was finished. I immediately started its sequel.
  • Age 17. I applied to colleges across the world with the intention of moving away from just about everyone I know.
  • Age 18. I actually moved across the world.
  • Age 19. I decided to try to get published with the latest book I had finished writing, because hey, what could be the harm, right? (The sudden “hey… I could do that” decision was spontaneous. The rest of the planning and researching and querying was very much not. Spontaneous querying is the Bad Place, do your research!)
  • Age 21. Spontaneously decided to try to write a list of the most spontaneous random things I’ve ever done and realizing that I’m really not that random, but this attempt was fun.
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
An octopus has a beak for a mouth. Like… why.

What according to you is your most treasured possession?
This is going to be very abstract, but my iCloud storage. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the modern age now but I genuinely don’t think I have any one object that I couldn’t live without, whereas if the iCloud data server ever collapses and takes all of my photos and manuscripts with it, I might just crawl under a bridge and never get back out.

Best date you've ever had?
“That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th, because it's not too hot, not too cold.”

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Back to freshman year of college. So much free food. An actual social life. My future and what I’m going to do with the rest of my life seemed so far away...

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
Dear Diary,

Today I scrolled TikTok for three hours straight. When I realized it had been three hours, I put my phone down and went on my laptop, where I logged onto Twitter and scrolled for another two hours. Tomorrow I will try to reduce my scrolling, and fail.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer this, because I still have so much life to go that I would feel foolish coming back to this twenty, thirty years later. For now, I’ll say leaving New Zealand to go to college, because it made me reevaluate how big the world is and how much is still out there.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I really hate the sound of heartbeats coming from anything other than a real heart. Sometimes they put it in songs, sometimes it’s in science museums, sometimes people are just tapping their hands on the table and it sounds a little like a pulse. I’m so afraid of how uncanny it is, I can’t even explain why. *shudders*

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
I used to post my writing online, and I’d regularly update a new chapter every week. Once, after a chapter went up, someone sent me a huge, huge message to say what they liked about it, and it meant the world to 15-year old me to know that my words really meant that much to someone.

Where can readers find you?
I’m on Twitter @thechloegong, Instagram @thechloegong, and my website is! On occasion, I can also be found lurking in dark forests.

THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS (Margaret K. McElderry Books | On Sale 11/17/20) is a heart-stopping retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs running the streets red and a mysterious monster spreading a deadly madness. Generation Z debut author Chloe Gong’s atmospheric historical fantasy embeds conflicts of gender, sexuality, and imperialism into Shakespeare’s most famous love story with dynamic characeters that resonate as real yet flawed. Gong vividly renders the rich setting of Shanghai with multicultural vibrancy while deftly exploring the corresponding tensions that characterized the city.

Eighteen-year-old former flapper Juliette Cai has just returned to her home-city, proud to assume her role as the heir of the Scarlet Gang. The powerful gang’s only rivals are the Russian White Flowers. And behind their every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love—and first betrayal.

The blood feud between the two gangs has ruled Shanghai for generations. But people start to whisper of a contagion, a madness which culminates in ripping one’s own throat out, a monster in the depths of the Huangpu river which threatens the city both gangs call home.

With the violent illness claiming lives on both sides, and the only leads to a cure coming from western newcomers who have their own agendas, Juliette and Roma must set their guns and grudges aside to uncover the truth about this plague—for if they cannot stop this mayhem, there will be no city left to rule.


"A deliciously dark twist on Romeo and Juliet that feels vibrant, modern, and wholly exciting. Gong's writing brims with energy. I was swept away to her dark Shanghai from the first page and never wanted to leave!" Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire

"Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights cuts to the heart of twentieth-century China with its scalpel-sharp prose and steel-spirited protagonists. Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov shine brighter than the glitz and glamour of historical Shanghai; sparks fly when they clash in this action-packed story set amidst a backdrop of blood feuds, gang wars, and political upheaval." 
Amelie Wen Zhao, author of Blood Heir

"Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights plants a Shakespearean classic in the rich soil of 1920s Shanghai, allowing her characters to grow, flourish, and steal your heart while warring against their own." 
Joan He, author of Descendant of the Crane

"Heady, smart, and vicious, These Violent Delights strikes every note with precision, layering romance and politics into a roaring 20s Shanghai of both monsters and monstrous imperialism."  Tessa Gratton, author of The Queens of Innis Lear

"Full of glitter, suspense and gore, These Violent Delights takes readers into the perilous world of 1926 Shanghai. With the body count rising, and a monster lurking in the Huangpu River, Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov must put aside their differences and work together to save their city. Chloe Gong’s debut is a terrific, deliciously unputdownable read!" June Hur, author of The Silence of Bones

You can purchase These Violent Delights at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHLOE GONG for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.


  1. I would probably travel to Italy and take my mom with me. Her mother was born in a little village called Sepino and I think she and I would love to see it together.

  2. I would love to go to England and then on to Denmark. Tracking down ancestral places.

  3. "If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?" Paris.

  4. I’d love to travel to Italy. I’d also like to visit Vietnam, because a lot of my family is from there.

  5. Japan, South Korea, maybe Vietnam, or Iceland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, so many places...and France.

  6. At the moment Cappadocia, Turkey to fly in hot air balloon. 😍

    Thank you for the chance!! 😊 Super excited for the book!!

  7. I would travel to Japan to visit family

  8. I would travel to Israel. I have always wanted to go there.