Debut '19 Interview: Kat Cho & Wicked Fox

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 

About Kat!

Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She currently lives and works in NYC and spends her free time trying to figure out what kind of puppy to adopt. Kat’s YA contemporary fantasy debut, Wicked Fox, comes out with Putnam Books for Young Readers/Penguin in summer 2019.

Keep up with Kat: Website / Twitter / Instagram 


The Book Bratz: How does it feel that WICKED FOX is debuting this year?
Kat:  It feels so surreal! I've been working on WICKED FOX since early 2015, so it's been over four years of writing and revising this story. So, now thinking that it will be in the hands of readers makes me feel so nervous and excited at the same time!

The Book Bratz: Where did your idea for WICKED FOX come from?
Kat:  Set in Modern-Day Seoul, Miyoung is a gumiho--a 9-tailed fox that must kill to survive--she lives by keeping under the radar until the day she saves a human boy from a dokkaebi (Korean goblin) and exposes her secret. Now she must navigate a new unlikely friendship-turned-romance and figure out if immortality is worth killing for.
The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for WICKED FOX come from?
Kat:  It came from multiple places. I have always loved the idea of exploring morally gray areas when an immortal creature must kill to survive, but so often it was the boy character and set in a Western world. Because I grew up hearing some Korean myths, the story of the gumiho was familiar to me. But, of course, the stories were about foxes who lived in secluded mountain homes and preyed on travelers that no one would miss (or they'd just assume they died while climbing the mountain as people could do back in the day). But take a predator like that and put them in a time period where no one travels by foot across mountains anymore, how would they evolve to survive? I imagined that they would go where the most prey are and use the crowded city of Seoul to hide in plain sight. I also gained a lot of inspiration from Korean dramas with contain tropes that overlap a lot with YA. Things like finding your identity, creating relationships and the struggles we go through to maintain those relationships. There are also really cute moments that aren't necessarily romantic based that I really enjoy in K-dramas (which I tried to capture through Jihoon's friendships and through the interactions with his grandmother)

The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in WICKED FOX?
Kat:  I definitely used my own upbringing in a Korean household to explore what family means to both of my main characters. To want to live up to your parents' expectations is a big aspect of Korean culture. There is a concept of Korean filial piety (e.g. being beholden to your elders and being dutiful to what they expect) that exists even in diaspora homes. For me that meant pursuing medicine throughout college and right after before I found writing again. And for Miyoung, in order to be a good daughter, she must meet her mother's expectations. And Miyoung's mother expects her to kill (without question) to survive. I wondered how her duty to her mother would war with her own guilt over taking lives so she could live and I tried to explore that in WICKED FOX.
The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about WICKED FOX that not many people know yet?
Kat: Jihoon's dog is named after a K-pop idol.

The Book Bratz:   If you had to create Twitter or Instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?

Kat: I guess Jihoon's would be GamerKing2001 (cause he loves gaming and he was born in 2001, give or take a year) Miyoung would NOT have social media because that could get her too much attention (which she hates.)

The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after WICKED FOX?
Kat:  Well, there's the sequel to WICKED FOX, where I will definitely use more mythology (this time it'll be concentrating a bit on dokkaebi). And then I have an idea for a contemporary fantasy with a Korean American protagonist, it'll have a lot of Manhwa/webcomic influences (which is another story-telling medium I adore).

About Wicked Fox!
Title: Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1)
Author: Kat Cho 
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Buy The Pioneer: Amazon / B&N / Indie Bound / Book Depository 
Summary: A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul. Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret--she's a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt. But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead--her gumiho soul--in the process. Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl--he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He's drawn to her anyway. With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon's.

Thank you so much Kat for stopping by and answering our burning questions! We are super excited for WICKED FOX and can't wait for everyone else to dive into this story!

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