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The Vanguard

Catching up with Chloe Gong

Warning: Mild spoilers for the “Foul Lady Fortune” Duology!
Personal book signing with author Chloe Gong at Barnes & Noble on Sept. 29, 2023

On Sept. 29, author Chloe Gong graced readers with her presence at the Barnes and Noble Frisco location for her Foul Heart Huntsman tour,  thrilling her many fans, including me. Gong is the author of the “These Violent Delights Duet” and “Foul Lady Fortune Duet”. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in English and International Relations. 


“Foul Heart Huntsman” is the sequel to “Foul Lady Fortune” and wraps up the Secret Shanghai universe, bidding beloved characters farewell. 


Here is the synopsis of the book from Chloe Gong’s website: 


“Winter is drawing thick in 1932 Shanghai, as is the ever-nearing threat of a Japanese invasion.”

“Rosalind Lang has suffered the worst possible fate for a national spy: she’s been exposed. With the media storm camped outside her apartment for the infamous Lady Fortune, she’s barely left her bedroom in weeks, plotting her next course of action after Orion was taken and his memories of Rosalind wiped. Though their marriage might have been a sham, his absence hurts her more than any physical wound. She won’t rest until she gets him back.

But with her identity in the open, the task is near impossible. The only way to leave the city and rescue Orion is under the guise of a national tour. It’s easy to convince her superiors that the countryside needs unity more than ever, and who better than an immortal girl to stir pride and strength into the people?

When the tour goes wrong, however, everything Rosalind once knew is thrown up in the air. Taking refuge outside Shanghai, old ghosts come into the open and adversaries turn to allies. To save Orion, they must find a cure to his mother’s traitorous invention and take this dangerous chemical weapon away from impending foreign invasion—but the clock is ticking, and if Rosalind fails, it’s not only Orion she loses, but her nation itself.”


Gong’s visit included two parts: a discussion with fellow author Jessica Olson and book signing for her newest release, Foul Heart Huntsman. The discussion was formatted as a Q&A and Gong discussed how she feels concluding the Secret Shanghai series and included some Taylor Swift references. 


Ending the series was bittersweet for Gong, and she described how she matured with her characters and how that influenced her to gravitate towards the young adult genre in the first place. She also mentioned how distinguishing and classifying young adult versus adult novels is all about tone, and the audience an author wants to reach. Gong utilized her own books as an example, detailing how  her young adult novels make you want to comfort and console the characters, but on the other hand, you’ll become frustrated and angry with her adult characters. 


Gong resonates with her character Rosalind the most, and throughout the novel, Rosalind is also on tour, which brought questions about what the book touring experience is like. Her favorite part about touring is the entire experience, and writing, “These Violent Delights” during the pandemic was transformative. Releasing it during such an isolated and uncertain time makes her feel grateful for the interactive aspects of her book tours.


Gong fielded several Taylor Swift related questions. For example, she was asked what her characters would wear to the Eras tour:


Juliette – Vigilante S*** leotard 

Roma –  Shirt that says “Karma”

Rosalind – Willow yellow dress with a big green cape

Orion – Shirt that says “I let her bejewel me”


Additionally she was asked what album her and her characters are in:


Juliette, Roma, Celia – Folklore Era

Oliver – Red Era

Rosalind – Lover Era (an anxiety album, as Rosalind loves Orion, but is worried about losing him)

Orion – 1989 Era (specifically the song Style)

Phoebe and Alisa – Reputation Era

Silas – Speak Now (except it’s Speak Never)

As for herself, she said she is in her Lover and Reputation pipeline


I believe that my favorite author being a swiftie is fate and it brings me so much joy to see all of the wonderful people and references Taylor Swift has brought into my life. I find myself searching for Taylor Swift as well as Shakespeare references as I read her books, and I know Ms. Swift herself would be so proud.


Now onto the most exciting part, getting to see Gong once again! I first met Gong when I attended her “Foul Lady Fortune” book tour on Oct. 3, 2022. I was part of group A and the anticipation of  being able to see her and talk with her personally, was high. As I awaited my turn, I attempted  to mentally prepare. I’m so glad I attended the signing with my cousin and her friend. They were the best emotional support system! When it was my turn, I had to remember how to breathe. I simply couldn’t contain my excitement, and I definitely could not stop crying. I  was swept with emotion as I was able to chat with her and discuss her books. I told her how I delayed finishing the book because I couldn’t bear to end the series. I also wanted to savor the book, and she reassured me that the book would still be with me and explicitly gave me permission to finish it. I gave her a friendship bracelet with FHH and despite meeting her already, the second time was just as special. I truly hope she comes back for her upcoming young adult series!  


Going to any author event is always special, but this one was especially significant to me since Chloe Gong’s books hold a special place in my heart. Finishing a book series is bittersweet and saying goodbye to this particular series feels like saying goodbye to a dear friend. I discovered her first book, “These Violent Delights towards” the end of middle school and read its sequel, “Our Violent Ends” during freshman year. I grew up with Gong and her characters, especially at the point in my life when I read them. This goes on to show Gong’s talent of touching her readers, whether it be in a historical setting or in real life. Her characters may be fighting physical battles, but their personalities and characteristics are quite relatable. The anxiety, constant questioning, and playfulness of her characters bring to light a part of each of us. She successfully translates the resounding themes of Shakespeare, such as his wit and use of symbols. She continually makes her readers feel seen and heard. 


I am and will be a Chloe Gong fan forever and always. Thank you for the time of my life, I was absolutely enchanted to see you once again!


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About the Contributor
Addie Salvosa, Editor-in-chief
As the editor-in-chief of Vanguard News for the 2023-2024 school year, Addie Salvosa is a junior passionate about Journalism and learning new things. Addie has been part of the Vanguard News for three years now and loves writing and reading. In her free time, Addie  enjoys listening to Taylor Swift and volunteering around the community. She is excited to immerse herself in words and looks forward to helping the Newspaper grow this year! Contact: [email protected]

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