by Erica Laurie
Namukkun, a woodcutter, is in debt to his landlord. When he’s unable to pay, the landlord demands Namukkun hand over his daughter, Eun Na, as payment. Unwilling to do so, Namukkun pleads with the landlord for more time.
Hardworking and kind, Eun Na attracts the attention of a wealthy nobleman from the mountains, Tae Kyung.
As Tae Kyung gets to know Eun Na, he falls in love with her. Yet he’s hiding the fact that he’s forced to take the ethereal form of a ghost each night. Will Eun Na accept him once she knows his secret?
“A wonderful tale of the beauty of family, unconditional love, and perseverance through incredible odds.”
“The author really sucks you into the Korean world she paints with her words and I was immediately addicted. The whole story is a tender treat to read. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it really is a wonderful and creative spin on an old classic.”
CIR: What inspired this book?
LAURIE: I was plotting a project at the time, and I ran across a Korean folktale titled, The Logger’s Daughter and the Phantom. Something about it intrigued me, even though I did not like the ending. I wasn’t sure what route I wanted to take when I started. But the idea of the logger’s daughter marrying a man who had a secret like that stuck with me. The question I had though was, what if the daughter loved the phantom? And that took me far away from the original story. I threw in some dragons, gave a healthy dose of what I had learned about Korea during the Joseon era, created some of my own legends and stirred it up nice and good. Of course I had to pay tribute to the original folktale. (I have the white dog, and white roosters. )
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
LAURIE: The dragon, Mao. He just was really fun to interact with. I really wish I could pluck him out of the pages.
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
LAURIE: I had a lot of fun digging into Korean history and myths. There’s not a great deal I could find in English. Slowly my reference library is growing.
CIR: What would you compare this book to?
LAURIE: I would compare it to Korean historical fantasy dramas. Readers have compared it to The Scholar Who Walks the Night, and I think that’s good. When I watched that I thought of my story, too.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
LAURIE: That everyone deserves unconditional love, and to keep the faith that trials do end.
CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall “clean” feel of the book?
LAURIE: I do reference a wedding night. There’s a scene where the groom worries about how to handle that first night.