Author Chloe Gong shares her writing and publishing journey with TAS students via Zoom


Chloe Gong visited TAS virtually through Zoom in March 2022 [Sharon L./The Blue & Gold]

Ms. Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of “These Violent Delights” and “Our Violent Ends,” visited Taipei American School virtually on Mar. 18th. Born in Shanghai, China and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Ms. Gong is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she balanced both a double major in English and International Relations as well as her work as an author.

Ms. Gong started the process of writing “These Violent Delights” the summer before college, when she came across the idea of writing a blood feud story about two warring families. Knowing that her idea had many parallels with “Romeo and Juliet,” which was one of her favorite plays by Shakespeare, Ms. Gong decided to write a retelling of the story set in 1920s Shanghai. 

The setting of the story held great cultural significance to Ms. Gong. “My whole family is from Shanghai, so I got a lot of stories growing up and a lot of cultural pride. 1920s Shanghai is seen as this ‘golden era’ where the city was this melting pot of activity and people, which came with the good and the ugly, and I wanted to explore this as a way to get in touch with more of my own history,” Ms. Gong said. 

During her presentation, Ms. Gong revealed that she went through eight manuscripts before her book was published, and also detailed her process of getting a literary agent and landing a book deal. Since her works were published during the pandemic, Ms. Gong’s book promotions deviated from traditional publishing methods. She advertised her own books through social media, namely Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, which reached a wide audience. 

Ms. Gong also reflected on her experiences with writing diversely, since her works feature Asian protagonists and LGBTQ+ representation. “The thing about bringing in representation that has rarely been seen is that they will often get combated with tiny microaggressions,” she said. During the editing process, Ms. Gong was often met with feedback indicating a lack of relation or understanding of a character. 

Ultimately, Ms. Gong is determined to tell stories that break stereotypes and bring in unique voices. “I want readers to be able to see themselves [in my stories] and I want future authors to be able to point to me and say if she can do it, then I can as well,” Ms. Gong said. 

At the end of her presentation, Ms. Gong advised young aspiring writers on the importance of having self-confidence. “Younger authors are the minority and often face a lot of criticism and doubt, the most important thing is to believe in yourself and to pick yourself back up,” she said.