Welcome back to our Author Spotlight series! We’re very excited to be featuring one of our very own WBP contributors, Kat Cho to celebrate VICIOUS SPIRITS, the highly anticipated sequel to WICKED FOX! The book is out today so make sure you grab your copy (and you can get a signed and personalized copy from Kat’s indie here!)
Why don’t we start with a quick pitch for VICIOUS SPIRITS?
Without getting into spoilers in case people haven’t read WICKED FOX:
New romance and dangers abound in this companion to the crowd-pleasing Wicked Fox.
The forces that govern life and death have been upended and there are supernatural entities lurking in the background that will stop at nothing to right their world.
How did your process change writing this book compared to WICKED FOX? What did you find the most challenging? And what was the most fun or surprising?
I had to go from building a world from scratch to expanding on a world where I’d already established rules. Some of the rules I established in WICKED FOX really got in the way of things in VICIOUS SPIRITS, so there was a lot of hair pulling late night brainstorming sessions (including messages to my CPs, agent, and editor). I found trying to up the stake without regurgitating too much old plot points (while still keeping the story familiar) really hard. Because it’s a duology, I like to think of it like two halves of a whole, so I didn’t want the second book to be too stand alone, but I also didn’t want it to completely mirror the first book. One of the funnest parts was definitely the new romance. I kept imagining what a romance between those two character would look like while I was writing them in WICKED FOX, so it was really fun to kind of figure out how they interact with each other and fit together as a couple. I also had the backstory of one of these characters figured out mostly in my head when I wrote WICKED FOX, so I was really excited to write more of them in VICIOUS SPIRITS.
VICIOUS SPIRITS is a continuation of a story, but it’s also a finale. Did you know how everything ended before you began writing or did you figure it out as you went along?
I had an idea how I wanted the series to end, but I wasn’t sure what would happen to get me there. I ended up including things in VICIOUS SPIRITS that I hadn’t been anticipating, but after getting to know the characters more in WICKED FOX, it seems like they needed to go on this new journey. I also wrote a whole draft of VICIOUS SPIRITS without adding any new characters (other than a new antagonist) and realized after the fact that, oh yea, I’m allowed to introduce new side characters.
What was your approach to deepening the world and characters you established in WICKED FOX? Are there any new places or characters you’re really excited for readers to discover?
LOL, way to drag me immediately after I admitted I forgot to add new characters in the first draft. But yes, I am excited for people to meet new characters and go to new places in VICIOUS SPIRITS. I definitely used two side characters to kind of expand the world. They both show up as seemingly antagonists (one moreso than the other) but they are also there to kind of give a peek into the supernatural world and what it’s capable of. One of the characters is a jeoseung saja, which is a Korean reaper, and he has something to do with Junu’s past. The other is…a secret cause if I explain who they are then it’ll give part of the plot away! Also, if any K-drama fans liked the Namsan scene in WICKED FOX (very much a K-drama staple/trope) then I include a similar type of location in VICIOUS SPIRITS!
As for deepening the world, I wanted to show more parts of the gumiho myth, but also new mythology. So I included vignettes about dokkaebi and jeoseung saja. I also definitely wanted to show new parts of the established characters (at least the ones who survived WICKED FOX, dun dun dun!) which was hard to do for a couple because WICKED FOX does give a bit of closure to certain issues they had, but I think it also opened up new issues for them.
What can people who loved WICKED FOX look forward to in the sequel? Romance? Angst? HEARTBREAK?!?! Food?
There is DEFINITELY more romance and angst in book 2. It wouldn’t be a Kat Cho book without those two things. I tried to amp it up a bit since it is a book 2. But I also tried to come at the angst in a different way! I also wanted to show that the romance between the new couple in book 2 is very different from the romance in book 1. If WICKED FOX is like sweet first love then VICIOUS SPIRITS is like a flash of bright passion. Fun fact, I forgot to include food scenes in VICIOUS SPIRITS and got an earful from an early reader lol. So, I had to go back and include more scenes! I also included mention of a restaurant that was super special to my sister when she went to Ewha University in Seoul (and which we’d visit whenever we went back).
Is there a book playlist we can listen to while enjoying the book?
You’re very vocal about your love for true crime. Which of your characters is the most likely to get away with murder–and who would be the most likely to be murdered?
Well, this is an unfair game because Junu and Miyoung have both already gotten away with murder. But of the human characters I think that Somin would DEFINITELY get away with murder. She knows all the angles and will figure out all the details so that she won’t get caught. I think Jihoon would be most likely to get murdered. He’s just way too soft and sweet hahaha.
There’s a lot of food in your books. What are your main characters’ comfort foods?
Jihoon loves doenjang jjigae because it reminds him of his halmeoni. Somin likes Ohm Rice. Changwan probably likes donkatsu. Miyoung might lean toward doenjang jjigae because it’s what halmeoni served her. And Junu liked anything that goes well with soju or beer (so pajeon, deokbokki, Korean fried chicken)
Also, be sure to join Kat (and some other WBP contributors) on her Vicious Virtual Book Tour!
Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She currently lives and works in NYC and spends her free time trying to figure out what kind of puppy to adopt. Kat is the author of Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits (Putnam/Penguin)