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Novelists Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian on the limiting effect of holding a grudge

They say revenge is a dish best served cold and for some, that conjures up the image of a thick milkshake — sweet and satisfying. This is exactly what fuels the "Burn for Burn" series by novelists Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

In the trilogy comprised of "Burn for Burn", "Fire with Fire", and "Ashes to Ashes", readers see how vengeance takes hold of Kat, Lilia, and Mary prompting some pretty big questions about justice...and life after high school.


The authors with Lyn Ching at Writers Bar in Makati on Wednesday
The authors with Lyn Ching at Writers Bar in Makati on Wednesday

In an interview with GMA News' Lyn Ching on Wednesday, Han and Vivian revealed that "Burn for Burn" strives to strike a balance between taking the issues teenagers deal with in high school seriously and helping them gain a wider perspective on life.

"What you go through in high school as a young person — obviously those are formative years — are really impactful things and you don't really forget them. That's where the idea started out, this idea of old even as an adult, you think about something that someone said to you that cut into you. It doesn't really go away, it still hurts," Han told Ching.

She added, "It's to pay homage to that, but to also say that this doesn't have to be the final word on you or your life and this is just a little piece of your life, so don't let this be the thing that stops you from you living your life as you are."

Getting caught up in rivalries or proving your worth to someone might limit your growth and prevent you from achieving genuine fulfillment. Sooner or later, you'll have to decide for yourself how much influence one mean comment or moment will have on the rest of your stay here on earth.

"If you stick it out, you will see that there's more to life than high school," Han concluded.

Being vindictive is not an exclusively teen thing and we see what happens when people choose to hold a grudge instead of progress, personal or otherwise.

Vivian, on a more hopeful note, told Ching that there's comfort in the uncertainty of the future — and there's a lot of future ahead.

"It's a tricky balance, because you do want to respect the conflicts and things that kids go through in high school...but you also really want to say life is long and there are still so many other wonderful, informative things that you still have coming that you can't even dream of," Vivian said.

As writers though, the pair admitted that they also have fun writing outrageous characters. It's a chance to have someone do or say something no one else will and the allure is not lost to the readers.

The trick to keeping them interesting? Knowing these fictional people intimately.

"We are so used to talking about these characters as if they're real people," Vivian explained. "When we start discussing what a character might do in a particular situation, it's very clear to both of us what feels right because we know them so intimately."

"We would talk about these people like we were gossiping," she added.

Fleshing out these characters completely also helped them reduce conflicts on where the story goes.

Check out the full interview below:

— LA, GMA News

Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian will be at SM Cebu (September 15) and SM Megamall (September 16) for book signing events before joining the Manila International Book Fair to meet fans (September 17). Visit the official Facebook event page for more details.


Tags: books, lynching