Deny thy father and refuse thy name. When I wrote my debut novel These Violent Delights, I wanted to hold onto that fundamental theme of tension and conflict. Some of the most captivating romances are those that are star-crossed, developing between two characters despite contrary circumstances. These are the stories about lovers choosing each other even when they have inherited a conflict that devastates both sides, even when they have sworn to be enemies, even when they must kill each other. After all, when it comes to love, what grander adversity is there to overcome than hate? Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite stories simply because it is the very touchstone tale that interrogates what it means to choose love when it would have been easier to choose hate.
These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, about the heirs of two rival gangs forced to work together when a monster wreaks havoc across the city. And truly, what is more entertaining than two characters who should hate each other finding themselves yearning to love instead? The setting changes, the time period changes, but the star-crossed lovers who have inherited a generational hatred remain.
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