Exclusive Interview: “The God And The Gumiho” Author Sophie Kim


In the following email interview about her new fantasy novel The God And The Gumiho (paperback, Kindle, audiobook), author Sophie Kim says this story — the first installment of her Fate’s Thread series — is, “…most definitely my love-letter to the K-Drama.”

Sophie Kim The God And The Gumiho

To begin, what is The God And The Gumiho about, and what kind of a world is it set in?

The God And The Gumiho follows two characters: Seokga, a grumpy trickster-god-turned-detective who was thrown out of the heavens for attempting a coup, and now spends his days hunting down monsters as penance; and Hani, a cheerful gumiho barista who may or may not be hiding a bloody past as the Scarlet Fox…a serial killer with a penchant for male livers.

When a demon of darkness escapes the underworld, and the Scarlet Fox reappears before quickly vanishing again, Seokga is offered a bargain he can’t refuse: kill them both and he’ll regain his rightful place in the Heavenly Realm.

But Hani will do anything to prevent Seokga from bringing her to justice, tricking her way into his investigation and foiling him at every turn. She just doesn’t expect to fall in love…

This story takes place in a world where monsters and myth are very, very real. New Sinsi, a fictional South Korean city, is the main setting. In New Sinsi, all sorts of mythical creatures walk through the streets. Gumiho, gwisin, haetae, jeoseung saja, and dokkaebi abound, as do gods.

You previously wrote two novels in the Talons series a young adult romantic fantasy saga, with the third and final book, Reign Of The Talens, due out January 7th. But The God And The Gumiho is for older audiences. Did you set out to write something for older readers, and Gumiho is what you came up with, or did you have the idea for Gumiho and then realize it wasn’t a story for YA readers…or that you didn’t want to write that story for YA readers?

Originally, The God And The Gumiho was meant to be another YA book. Yet as I began writing, it became quite clear that this novel would belong within the Adult genre. For one, the characters are both older (like, very old. Centuries old), and both hold full-time jobs. Thus, the shift to Adult was made, and that change allowed the book to flourish in terms of what I was able to do with the characters and their development over the course of the story.

So, what do you consider to be the biggest influences, both literary and not, on The God And The Gumiho?

The God And The Gumiho is most definitely my love-letter to the K-Drama. With Gumiho, I strove to emulate the magic of fantasy Korean dramas like Tale Of The Nine-Tailed, Dokkaebi, and Hotel del Luna. While writing, I was doing my best to craft a book that felt like watching one of those shows, with plenty of slow-burn romantic tension, betrayals, rich world-building, and deep character development.

Which makes my next question moot, but I’ll ask it anyway: Do you think The God And The Gumiho could work a movie, a show, or a game?

Because The God And The Gumiho is modeled so closely after the K–Drama format, I believe it would shine the most if adapted into a show. One thing I love the most about book-to-show adaptations is that show adaptations tend to shy away from cutting out material, thanks to the serial format and the longer run-times in comparison to just one film. If anything, book-to-show adaptations actually add in more material to the original, and New Sinsi is certainly fun to explore / play in. That’s not to say that I don’t think The God And The Gumiho couldn’t do well as a film, or a video game, but I think its most natural conversion would be into a show.

And if someone wanted to adapt The God And The Gumiho into a show, who would you want them to cast as Hani, Seokga, and the other main characters?

I think it depends on whether The God And The Gumiho was produced as a K-Drama in Korea or produced in the U.S.

If it was adapted into a K-Drama, which would be a dream come true, I would love to see Kim Goeun as Hani. In Dokkaebi, she showed how well she can play “sunshine-y” characters, and having also taken on other, darker roles, I feel like she could embody the duality of Hani very well! For Seokga, I’m completely torn, because I feel that so many actors could do an amazing job.

On the other hand, if it were adapted here in Hollywood, I think that Jamie Chung [Lovecraft Country] would be a beautiful Hani, and that Charles Melton could portray Seokga incredibly. After seeing him give a heart wrenching performance in May December, I think he would be able to portray the bleaker, and more emotional, moments in Seokga’s character arc very well.

Sophie Kim The God And The Gumiho

Finally, if someone enjoys The God And The Gumiho, what novel you read recently, and liked, would you suggest they read next?

One book that I loved is Indexing by Seanan McGuire. Much like The God And The Gumiho is structured in nod to a Korean drama, each Indexing chapter reads similarly to an episode of a show like Once Upon A Time or Grimm. This is one of my all-time favorite books, and it’s absolutely overflowing with fairytale goodness. Indexing follows Henry, a hardened detective (and a “Snow White”) in the ATI Management Bureau, which protects the world from fairytales and the havoc that they wreak. I can’t recommend this novel enough.



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