Sunday, November 19, 2023

Q&A with Thea Guanzon




Thea Guanzon is the author of the new novel The Hurricane Wars. She lives in the Philippines.


Q: What inspired you to write The Hurricane Wars, and how did you create your characters Talasyn and Alaric?


A: My favorite trope of all time is enemies-to-lovers, so The Hurricane Wars is my own interpretation of that, peppered with aspects of my heritage that I longed to see in the fantasy romance genre.


At their core, Alaric and Talasyn are archetypes—the imagery is very Death and the Maiden, with one character symbolizing darkness and winter while the other represents light and springtime, and conceptualizing their dynamic involved an exploration of the connections and the push-pull between these two opposing ideals.


Q: The writer Xiran Jay Zhao said of the book: “A masterpiece of worldbuilding. Thea Guanzon forges a rich, fantastical realm with poignant and immersive prose and a spectacularly unique magic system.” What do you think of that description, and how did you create the world in which the story is set?


A: I think Xiran Jay Zhao is literally one of the sweetest, funniest, smartest people ever, and they have been a really good friend to me in my debut journey.


With regards to the worldbuilding, I drew inspiration from indigenous Southeast Asian cultures and traditions—from the little details like a textile fiber dyed in a certain way, to the bigger picture stuff such as the weapons of mass destruction being reminiscent of the storms that frequently ravage my country and how a major plot point is based on an iconic Filipino myth of a dragon eating the moon.


I had to do a lot of research to make the world of Lir feel real and lived-in and unmistakably Southeast Asian; it was intense work but I quite enjoyed it because it gave me a newfound appreciation of this region that I grew up in and the rich tapestry of stories that we have woven throughout our existence as a people.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: Whenever I start writing something, I always have the ending scene in mind, and everything in the story moves toward that point. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: That love can be messy and that’s okay, that the heart is greater than whatever cage seeks to contain it, that Southeast Asia is beautiful and colorful and it’s worth seeking out more of its tales and voices.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Book Two of The Hurricane Wars. :)


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, BlueSky, and TikTok at theagwrites! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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