June is one of my youngest blogger buddies, she is couple of years older than my elder son and my eldest students. She's a  girl full of energy, plans and dreams with a great passion for writing. You can find her at her site, June's Blog . These days she's waiting for  a very important response from a publisher in order to make her dream come true. Listen to what she kindly answered to my questions.

So, June, before I start with my questions I’ll let you introduce yourself to all the other friends of Fly High!

My name is June Hur (the relative of Ben Hur, the Jewish Prince....just kidding), and I'm a twenty-one year old currently studying English literature and history at the University of Toronto. I was born in South Korea but was raised in Canada. I love writing and I’m working on a novel called “The Runaway Courtesan”. I’m in terrible want of a … publisher!

So young and so full of plans, I just envy you! When did you start wishing to become a writer? And, when did you start writing?

The usual response to this question would be: I’ve always wanted to become a writer, ever since I was young. But that would be a lie. During my younger years, I actually hated English, hated reading, and especially hated writing. This all changed, however, after I watched and read Pride & Prejudice. So obssessed with this story, I would write several sequels to this novel, always testing out new ways in which P&P might have continued from day one of their marriage. After writing P&P fanfiction for well over a year I decided to branch out into original fiction. For the next eight years I wrote (and am still writing) historical romances set in the Regency era (1790-1820). It was then that I discovered my passion for writing and my ambition to one day become published.

2. Tell us about the novel you are writing …

The Runaway Courtesan? Here's a synopsis of the novel
Gambled away by one man, sold to a brothel by another, Amanda Hollingworth knows she is ruined in the eyes of Regency society. All that changes, however, when the cool-mannered Viscount Candover purchases her freedom. To repay a debt to Amanda’s dead brother, Candover takes her into his protection, and brings her to his London townhouse. A year spent working as a brothel maid has taught her the dangers of exposing her heart, so she is set on disliking him, even when she discovers that he is capable of great kindness. The last thing Amanda wants is to put her heart in peril by falling for a man who has a wake of discarded mistresses behind him.

Nothing goes as planned. While her growing attraction for Candover becomes hard to suppress, even more challenging is winning the acceptance of the ton. Yet Amanda is set on regaining her respectability, even if it means masquerading as a debutante from America. But she soon learns that behind the glamour, London society can be deadlier and more corrupt than a backstreet brothel. She'll need all of her wits and charm to navigate its stormy waters intact.
The secret of her past resurfaces when she becomes ensnared in a web of jealousy and betrayal, and she finds herself fighting not only for her reputation, but also for Candover's heart. Would he dare love the woman all of society shuns? Amanda is left with two choices: to trust in the rakish Viscount who blindsides her with overwhelming passion, or to give herself to another man she does not love, but who promises her the one thing she desires: respectability.

3. How close are you to publication?

I’m still pretty far away. But I like to think I’m getting there. In mid-November I sent out my first batch of query letters to twenty agents, hoping that one of them would be interested enough to offer representation....But in flooded the rejection letters. The first one left me depressed for hours. Each time I checked my inbox and read RE: QUERY my hands would tremble. And each time I found it to be a rejection letter a bit of my writerly confidence chipped. By the time I grew a stronger backbone, two agents responded, requesting a partial (first 50 pages) of my work. The first ended up rejecting me. The second agent told me that she’d be interested in rereading my partial if I did a rewrite. I did the rewrite and sent it to her. A month later she contacted me again and said she’d be interested in the full manuscript! So I sent it to her and am now waiting for her response. I am trying not to get my hopes up to high!

4. But you must hold on! Fingers crossed and self-confidence, please. Now, apart from writing, what are you favourite hobbies and passtimes?
I love watching movies with my younger sister. We usually buy a bunch of junk food, borrow a DVD, and watch it late into the night. But movie nights only occur once every two weeks because school leaves me little time. I also enjoy spending my time at bookstores. I love wandering down the aisles, examining book covers, and reading a few chapters.

5. What kind of reader are you, June? Have you got any favourite genres or writers?

While I am, and will likely always be, an avid reader of historical romances, the genre that inspires me most are biographies and literature written in the 18th/19th century. My all-time favourite books would be Amanda Foreman’s The Duchess (a bio), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Emily’s Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Fanny Burney’s Evelina, Theodore Dreier’s Cousin Kate, and Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. I do read contemporary literature from time to time—but rarely is it for personal pleasure, as I am having contemporary lit crammed down my throat everyday at university.

6. Your latest page turner?
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. I read this for my English course at school and have read it a second time because the story wouldn’t let me alone. I didn’t like it at first, actually. But it’s one of those stories that grows on you as you read on.

7. I know you also love period drama and movies. What are your favourite series or films?
My favourite period dramas would be North and South (2004), Jane Eyre (2006), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Tess of D’Uberville (2008). And my favourite period movie would me...ehm...I actually can’t think of one off the top of my head. So I’m guessing they didn’t make too much of an impression on me.

8. Your blog is a sort of a journal towards the publication of your first novel. What else do you post about?
Besides my updates on my journey to publication, I also enjoy interviewing authors, or anyone connected to the publishing world. I especially love interacting with other readers, aspiring writers, and Regency/Victorian era fanatics by posting entries that might spark a discussion among them.

9. Do you remember how/when and where we met online?
Hmmmm good question. I believe I found your blog while googling Richard Armitage (ain’t that how everyone else found you? Haha. I at first thought your blog to be the official Richard Armitage fanblog). Then, reading through your articles, I discovered that you had written reviews for several books I was also interested in reading. So I believe I left a comment here and there. Saved you on my blogroll. And then you dropped by my blog and began following too.

10. Incredible. It's impossible to keep my promise to blog about HIM on Friday only. He's a mesmerizing haunting presence in my life.  What can I do ?  But tell me, June, what do you like about blogging?
I love that I can network with other readers and writers. I’ve met so many interesting people, like yourself. Blogging also ended up becoming somewhat therapeutic for me. Before I began blogging, I had readers on FictionPress (an online literary community) to interact with. I had to quit this website after my work was plagiarized by some silly girl (the case was easily resolved by the administrator of the website Silly Girl posted my work up on and claimed as hers). But, no longer having readers, I just couldn’t bear the feeling of NOT being read. I felt so disconnected. And then my cousin forced me to start a blog. I was hesitant at first. But it ended up saving me in the end from turning into a nutcase.

11. Now, I’d like to show our readers the Book Trailer you prepared for your novel. Interesting choice. I’ve recognized again that certain dark, tall, handsome presence in it… Let’s have a look together!

Great, June. I like it so much. Incredible soundtrack and ... You chose  Mr Armitage as your hero!

Ehm. Haha. A few of my readers asked me how my hero, Lord Candover, looked like. They asked me to choose an actor. It was while I was writting the latter half of my book that I was introduced to North & South, the BBC adaptation with Richard Armitage. I fell madly in love. And ever since it was Armitage in my head as I wrote. So when I decided to create the trailer of my book for fun, I chose Armitage as my hero. I had no second thoughts. His chiselled features, his brows, always settling like a scowl over his eyes, and his overall dark and brooding mien embodied my Viscount so well. The seemingly cold-looking man who actually has a heart of gold.

Thanks June! You've been very kind to answer my questions. I wish you the best with your studies and, especially, fingers crossed for the publication of The Runaway Courtesan. I'll wait for you back here then, for a new guest post with ... giveaway! And of course I hope I'll have the chance to review your first published novel.


mulubinba said...

Thanks June and Maria. Best of luck for the publication of "The Runaway Courtisan", June !!!

lunarossa said...

Very interesting, MG and June. So young and already a writer, well done. Hope everything goes well and you'll soon get published. From you're lovely "trailer" it looks like your story could be a great screenplay, too! Keep us posted! And MG, thanks for another great interview. Ciao. A.

Meredith said...

Another excellent interview Maria! Best of luck with your the publication of your novel, June. It sounds very intriguing!

Lucy said...

What an interesting person! I love this series of Blogger Buddies, Maria Grazia! I, for one, especially after reading the caption and watching that trailer- would love to read this! Don't give up, who doesn't love a story about a courtesan?? Good luck with it and keep us all posted:)

Anonymous said...

thanks so much everyone!

Anonymous said...

M.G., grazie per l'intervista.
June, there is obviously a problem with FictionPress, you're not the only one who got plagiarized there - see http://www.fictionpress.com/u/208454/Limyaael
I wish you to find an agent and a publisher real soon - and that I'll be able to read your book! :-)
Will go and check June's blog now...

Luciana said...

Thanks MG for introducing me to June Hur. It's so nice to find someone that's my own age and that likes the same things I do!