As you’ve probably noticed lately, I love interviewing authors and finding out more about the book and the person behind the book. Today I have an interview on my stop for the tour for An Echo in the City hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours this week. Keep on reading to find out more about this book and the author.
An Echo in the City by KX Song
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: June 20, 2023
Two star-crossed teenagers fall in love during the 2019 Hong Kong protests in this searing contemporary debut about coming of age in a time of change.
Sixteen-year-old Phoenix knows her parents have invested thousands of dollars to help her leave Hong Kong and get an elite Ivy League education. They think America means big status, big dreams, and big bank accounts. But Phoenix doesn’t want big; she just wants home. The trouble is, she doesn’t know where that is… until the Hong Kong protest movement unfolds, and she learns the city she’s come to love is in danger of disappearing.
Seventeen-year-old Kai sees himself as an artist, not a filial son, and certainly not a cop. But when his mother dies, he’s forced to leave Shanghai to reunite with his estranged father, a respected police officer, who’s already enrolled him in the Hong Kong police academy. Kai wants to hate his job, but instead, he finds himself craving his father’s approval. And when he accidentally swaps phones with Phoenix and discovers she’s part of a protest network, he finds a way to earn it: by infiltrating the group and reporting their plans back to the police.
As Kai and Phoenix join the struggle for the future of Hong Kong, a spark forms between them, pulling them together even as their two worlds try to force them apart. But when their relationship is built on secrets and deception, will they still love the person left behind when the lies fall away?
Content Warning: grief over death of a parent, police brutality, political unrest
What inspired you to write An Echo in the City?
I first got the idea for writing it while I was in Hong Kong in 2019. My sister was involved in organizing at the time; through them, I met many of their friends involved in coordinating demonstrations and rallies. Talking to the people on the ground made me realize the scale and importance of this movement. But it wasn’t until after I got back to the States and saw the conflicting news reports from both English and Chinese media that I began to really consider writing a novel that could offer more nuance and depth to a situation many of my western friends weren’t familiar with.
What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
I’ve really enjoyed every part of the process so far! Going through multiple rounds of revisions with my editors was tough at first, but I’m so glad I did them–the book is much improved as a result. I also am so happy with the cover and all the small yet beautiful details that went into it; for example, the inside flap has a map of Hong Kong in the patterns. As cliché as it sounds, seeing the book come to life has really been a dream come true.
If you were a character in An Echo in the City, what kind of character would you be?
To be honest, I would most likely be a side character, maybe a friend of Phoenix’s older brother. Phoenix to me feels like the younger sister I never had–someone I want to care for and protect, who is a little too impulsive and reckless for my own comfort, but someone who I’m also intensely fond of and proud of.
Describe An Echo in the City in five words or less.
Romantic, risky, tumultuous, bittersweet, hopeful.
What is your favorite quote from An Echo in the City?
One of my favorites:
“There’s so much uncertainty in our future. There’s so much we must hold close yet know with any second it can shatter. The truth is, none of us have singin ziming, none of us can say with the certainty of a magician–let me tell you, this is what will happen. And yet, we go on, because of the hope that things will get better.”
What do you hope readers take away from your story?
A lot of Phoenix and Kai’s story is influenced by the fact that they’re both part of the Chinese diaspora–they both grew up in multiple places and experienced persistent feelings of alienation and isolation as a result. I hope readers who’ve felt a similar sense of “otherness” can read An Echo in the City and resonate with Phoenix and Kai’s struggles, whether it be through the question of where one belongs, or who one belongs with, or even of belonging itself—and how one can endeavor to make sense of their place and purpose in an ever-changing world.
Could you give us 5 random facts about An Echo in the City (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?
- The claypot rice restaurant where Kai and Phoenix meet is based on a real restaurant, which makes one of the best claypot rice dishes I’ve ever had.
- My sister actually bought hundreds of N95 masks for the Hong Kong protesters back in 2019. The leftovers my sister brought back to the States. At the time I thought, “What are we going to do with so many masks?” And then COVID hit, and suddenly the N95 masks became extremely. We ended up giving away lots to our friends and family, since we had such a surplus.
- Phoenix is based on a real-life person, who is, yes just as outspoken and fun as she is ????
- The cover of An Echo in the City is illustrated by Hsiao Ron Cheng, an incredibly talented Taiwanese artist who coincidentally also illustrated the album cover for Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighborhood (an album I adore and listened to while writing this book!)
- The research and interview process for this book involved many late night 1 am phone calls, as I was 16 hours behind Hong Kong while drafting much of the book.
If you’re curious about An Echo in the City, click here for the full tour schedule. Amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers have been talking about this book throughout the week.
About the Author
K. X. Song is a diaspora writer with roots in Hong Kong and Shanghai. An Echo in the City is her debut novel. Visit her online at kxsong.com.
A big thank you to the author for taking time to answer my questions! I loved reading the answers!