Author Interview | June Hur, Author of The Silence of Bones

author interview (4)

Today’s interview is with the wonderful author of The Silence of Bones, June Hur!

 

The Silence of Bones was one of my highly anticipated of the year and now my favorite read ever! I mean did you read that synopsis? I’m over the moon to be interviewing June Hur on my blog today! Read on for author advice, story inspiration, and more!

 

 

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I am so excited to read The Silence of Bones! I’ve heard only the most amazing things about it (I’ve read it now and can confirm it’s the best thing I’ve ever read). Could you start by telling us how the book came to life? What inspired you to write it?

JUNE: I grew up watching K-Dramas set in Joseon Dynasty-era Korea, and I found myself wanting to read a historical K-drama in book form. I couldn’t quite find the book I wanted to read so I decided to write that book instead.

The heroine of my book is a police damo because I was so fascinated by this group of women. These female police officers were formed due to the Confucian-based moralistic naewoebŏp (a law that prohibited free contact between men and women) that dominated Joseon Korea. It resulted in intense gender segregation, and that’s why the police bureau placed female servants in charge of female victims, culprits and corpses.

Damos were apparently the first female police force to ever have actual arresting power in all of world history. But this damo position wasn’t formed because women were respected. The reason for a damos existence was rooted in gender segregation.

Damos were needed in the police bureau because of the strict Confucian rule that forbid contact between men with women. So basically, male officers had limited access with women in general, which made investigating nearly impossible for them. That’s why they needed these damo women to do the work they couldn’t do.

But despite the deeply patriarchal reason for the existence of ‘damo’, these women were able to subvert their role and prove how capable they were. I was so intrigued by damos that it inspired the bulk of my novel, and that’s why I made the heroine of THE SILENCE OF BONES a 16 year-old damo.

 

Can you give a brief summary on what The Silence of Bones is about for those who haven’t come across it yet?

JUNE: Set in 1800 Joseon (Korea), a sixteen-year-old indentured servant named Seol has been tasked with assisting a young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. But there’s more to the case than meets the eye.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

JUNE: Don’t put your life on hold for the sake of getting published. Don’t hold so tightly onto your dream of publication that you neglect your relationships with others and your mental/physical health. Do be kind to yourself. Do have hobbies and goals outside of writing. Life will only get busier once you get published, and there will always be a new milestone to achieve, so it’s very important to have that discipline early on—the ability to have a healthy work-life balance.

 

Was becoming an author always a dream of yours or did you dream of being something else before that?

JUNE: Becoming an author has been my dream since I was a teen. Before that, I dreamt of being a manga artist, a member of the rescue team, an artist, a pianist, and I could go on.

 

Are there any authors that have inspired you?

JUNE: Julie C. Dao inspired me with her own journey to publication, which was long and arduous, yet she persevered, and I found her perseverance to inspiring.

Writing wise, C. S. Lewis and Jeannette Walls inspired me with their works, as I found the topics they wrote about so relatable, and I too wanted to write books that other readers would be able to relate to, and feel less alone through.

 

Are there any books you’d recommend?

JUNE: In YA, I would recommend Elizabeth Lim’s SPIN THE DAWN. In adult, I would recommend Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.  

 

If you could swap places with a fictional character (whether your own or otherwise) who would you be?

JUNE: Hmmm. I would be Anne from Anne of Green Gables.

 

So, let’s say you’re stranded on an island and you only have three books with you. What would those three books be?

JUNE: C. S. Lewis’ A GRIEF OBSERVED, Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, and Min Jin Lee’s PACHINKO (mainly because I haven’t read it, and would love to have all the time in the world to read it, so of course I would love to be stranded with this book).

 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?

JUNE: Grab a cup of coffee and take my daughter out for a stroll to enjoy nature!

 

Any future projects that we should look forward to?

JUNE: My second book, a standalone YA historical mystery, is coming out in 2021. THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS is about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together to find their missing detective father, who happens to be the greatest detective in Joseon Korea.

A huge thank you to June Hur for agreeing to this interview! I’m beyond in love with this book up and I hope you’ll pick this one up soon.

 


 

About The Silence of Bones

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I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

 


 

About June Hur

 

June Hur was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. When she’s not writing, she works as an assistant for the public library or can be found journaling at a coffee shop. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020 (Indies Introduce).

 

Website // Twitter

 


 

6 thoughts on “Author Interview | June Hur, Author of The Silence of Bones

  1. The thing I love most about author interviews is the personal and intimate connection of author and readers. Through reading this particular one, I can already tell I’d love June Hur’s writing. The synopsis of the book sounds very promising and I even got goosebumps while reading it (which isn’t a common thing for me)! Added the book to my to-read list and I’m looking forward to the time I’ll be able to buy myself a copy of it. ✨

    Liked by 1 person

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