Sometimes writing a novel is more about finding yourself then entertaining others with your wild imagination. For Ellen Oh it brought her closer to her father and it taught her about her heritage. learn more about Ellen and her latest release as she answers some of our questions.
While doing research for PROPHECY what did you discover about the Korean culture that fascinated you most?
How rich the history of Korea is. The legends, the myths, the culture. I would get lost for hours just reading about history which would then take me into art and pottery and even architecture. I feel like there is still so much to learn and that I have only touched the surface of it all.
If you could relate to one character in PROPHECY who would it be and why?
I can relate to Kira because she is a person who has to be strong against the odds. Despite how hard life is for her, she is a survivor. I too have had to deal with a lot of hardship in my life and yet here I am! I’m like Kira in that way. I’m a survivor. Too bad I don’t have supernatural powers also. That could have come in really handy!
We know how much you love The Last Air Bender. What character in PROPHECY do you think was inspired most by that series?
I love Uncle Iroh. Something about him is so comforting. I think I channeled him a little when I was working on my monk character, Brother Woojin. Which makes sense to me because there was always something calm and soothing about Uncle Iroh, like a monk.
Kira was my favorite to write. There was so much of her personality I could relate to. I think Taejo was a bit harder for me. He’s a spoiled prince but he’s not a bad kid. He’s a good boy but he can get jealous of his cousin. All these different factors of his personality that kept changing as I wrote him – but ultimately it became a story about the relationship between them and how Kira is truly a big sister to Taejo.
Without giving away too much tell us why you chose yellow eyes for Kira?
The yellow eyes are related to her tiger spirit and her tiger spirit is why she has supernatural powers.
What was one of the most drastic changes you made from draft one to final copy of PROPHECY?
The original manuscript was written from Taejo’s point of view. But PROPHECY is from Kira’s perspective. I think it was my smartest change.
If you could choose one actress to play Kira who would it be?
I have no idea. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I just can’t think of anything. But I’d love to know who readers might pick!
What was your favorite line to write in PROPHECY?
The first line.
“People feared Kira.“
What do you want your readers to take away from your book when they are done reading it?
For me, the most important thing I hope people take away is that girls are strong and we deserve more respect. That girls are heroes.
Finally, How has writing PROPHECY changed your life?
It made me really value and appreciate my Korean heritage. My number one goal is to visit Korea with my family some day soon. I have so much respect for my culture and the Korean people. What Prophecy did was help me discover my roots.
Ellen Oh is an adjunct college instructor and former entertainment lawyer who one day picked up a Genghis Khan biography and was never quite the same again. It was the start of an obsessive fascination with ancient Asian history that led to years of researching, which culminated in writing Prophecy, her first novel. She also loves martial arts films, K-pop, K-dramas, and cooking shows, and she thinks the Last Airbender series was the best animated show ever created. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and three daughters and is always on the hunt for a decent bagel.