Chloe Gong is the bestselling author of These Violent Delights (2020) and Our Violent Ends (2021). For her latest YA fantasy blockbuster, Foul Lady Fortune (McElderry, Sept. 27), Gong returns to the fantastical world of her previous books and crafts a captivating new story of alliances, political turmoil, and self-discovery that a reviewer for Kirkus calls “thrilling from start to finish.” Gong answered our questions by email.

What made you return to the world of These Violent Delights for this book? 

When I wrote the first draft of These Violent Delights, it was very different to how it is now, but there was one thing that carried through every iteration: Rosalind Lang was Juliette Cai’s narrative foil. I changed storylines, I merged and cut characters, I deleted entire chapters, but I always kept the plot thread about both Juliette and Rosalind betraying their families—except Juliette trusted the right person and Rosalind trusted the wrong person, which drastically changed their outcomes. As These Violent Delights was falling together, I knew that, if given the chance, I would love to do a Rosalind-centric duology where she was the protagonist instead of Juliette. I wanted to see how things would change when she was given support and love instead of lies and manipulation…so the seeds of Foul Lady Fortune were planted from the very beginning! Besides, I’ve always loved spinoffs for giving readers glimpses into what familiar characters are up to even if the main story has left them alone. It makes me feel like we never really say goodbye to the characters we love; they’re still just existing off in the periphery.

Did you read a lot when you were young? Are there any books or authors that influenced you as a reader and/or writer?

I was such a big reader. I was browsing my school libraries right when YA was having its boom, and there was a period of time when I was going through almost a book a day, no exaggeration. The series that kick-started my love for reading was Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, which took me down the wonderful rabbit hole of seeking out every YA paranormal that was being published in the 2010s. Kelley Armstrong’s The Darkest Powers series, Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series—you name it, I probably read it. Other authors like Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, and Libba Bray were incredibly influential on me as a writer too, because I adored the way they could tell such great stories while also maintaining such lyrical, beautiful prose. I kept that at the forefront of my mind as I started developing my own voice: I wanted the larger story to be great, of course, but I also wanted to craft each individual sentence in a way that had impact.

What are some books coming out this fall that you look forward to reading?

This is a sneaky answer because technically I have already read it, but If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang is releasing this fall, and it catapulted itself to the top of my list of favorite books when I read an advanced copy. I’m also very excited for The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim because I adored Six Crimson Cranes, and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Nina Palattella is the editorial assistant.