Writers Influences 14: Evangeline Rain on Jin Yong

As I know I have said before with my regular Writers Influences series on the Sunday Tribune, part of the beauty for me as well as reading people’s stories of how they found the writer that proved a massive influence on their work is discovering myself new writers who I wasn’t familiar with before.

Todays writer in discussion is in relation to the Chinese writer Jin Yong, a writer I will be checking out after this article from Singapore based Evangeline Rain. I disliked reading in Mandarin initially because of the complexity of the characters. One day I stumbled upon a TV adaptation of ‘The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre (倚天屠龙记)’, and I was hooked instantly.” Evangeline begins explaining how she began reading his work “I could not wait to find out the rest of the story from the serial, which was showing only once a week, so I went out to get the books. I had to read with a dictionary beside me all the time, but the pain was worth it. Subsequently, I devoured all his novels and my Mandarin improved by leaps and bounds.”

“Jin Yong was phenomenal in fusing martial arts, fantasy, history, political allegory, romance, and urgent prose into his lengthy novels.” She carries on next explaining the many genres impressingly in his work “ He was so successful in blurring the lines between fantasy and reality that you can find actual Chinese products, named after the imaginary ones he came up with, that claim to have similar medicinal effects.”

“Despite enjoying his books tremendously, his romance portions often leave me wanting, especially when the male characters have multiple love interests. I also felt the strong desire to change the tragedies for his side characters and give them happily-ever-afters.” She explains next leading into the birth of her own work “That was when I started writing my own Jin Yong fan fiction, in English, since I was not as proficient in Mandarin. At that time, the internet was not easily available yet. I didn’t have people to share my work with and eventually, those notebooks got thrown away.”

“It wasn’t until I read Monica Enderle Pierce’s Glass and Iron series that really got me inspired to write my own books again. “ She changes gears briefly with her influences “Before her, I haven’t come across any romance that got my heart pounding and my fingers clutching to the kindle so tightly that I didn’t notice I’d been staying in the same tensed posture until my pins and needles came after that. I wanted to write like that too. Martial arts in SciFi is not a new concept. I thought I could try blending what I loved reading in Jin Yong’s books into my Science Fiction Romance.”

“Jin Yong’s main characters often start off as underdogs who grew to become powerful.” She concludes commenting on one of the main themes of Jin’s work before concluding how this impacts her work “I want to write that for the children with special needs whom I work very closely with in my day job. Main characters with special needs will be a recurring theme in my books. I’m currently exploring different genres in my writing and I hope to develop my own brand action-packed romance.”

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Jin Yong (pen name of Louis Cha) is a true phenomenon in the Chinese-speaking world. Born in Mainland China, he has spent most of his life writing novels and editing newspapers in Hong Kong. His enormously popular martial arts novels, written between the late 1950s and 1972, have become modern classics and remain a must-read for young readers looking for danger and adventure. They have also inspired countless T.V. and video game adaptions. Estimated sales of his books worldwide stand at 300 million, and if bootleg copies are taken into consideration, that figure rises to a staggering one billion. International recognition has come in the form of an O.B.E. in 1981, a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (1992), A Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (2004), an honorary fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and honorary doctorates from Hong Kong University and Cambridge University, among others.

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Evangeline Rain resides in the sunny island state of Singapore. She’s brought up in a semi-traditional Chinese household, educated in UK English all her life, and grew up immersed in the American Pop culture. She’s a voracious reader of both English and Chinese novels of all genres, but romance remained her favourite.

Her books can be found on Amazon among other places.

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.