The followings are excerpts from an interview with Author Lee Seo-hoo.
Q. Great to meet you. Before we jump into the main part of the interview, could you please briefly tell me about yourself first?
A. The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for having me here. Well, I always find it quite difficult to put into words of who I am, as I think there are many diverse aspects about me, depending on the perspectives. But as the author of <Galyxion>, I would like to introduce myself as a storyteller, an artist, and a designer. That’s because I had to play multiple roles while working on this tetralogy - most of the time I was a writer, and at the same time I was an illustrator and a composer. After that, I became a designer for these four books as well.
Q. Wait, so you mean you wrote, illustrated, and designed four books? And what do you mean by ‘composing’? Sounds like you were also involved in making some music.
A. Exactly. From the cover illustrations to the ones that are inside, I’ve put my effort with a wish that whoever gets to read this story would be able to understand and imagine the scenes better. And you are right about the music, too. Inside the story of <Galyxion>, a reader can visit some new fantastic places that nobody ever visited before. It was an artistic experiment for me to create theme music for each of the places which capture their own atmosphere.
Q. No wonder why you explained yourself as an artist. Where can I listen to the pieces you composed?
A. I created a youtube channel and uploaded the music there. In the playlist, there are 14 tracks that you can listen to. (https://url.kr/jp5wqk)
Q. Now I can’t help myself but ask about your background. Were you always familiar with art, music, and writing in general? Please share some stories about the path that led you to be the author of the <Galyxion> series.
A. Well, I published a children’s book when I was in high school. It’s called ‘Christmas Bubble Affair’ and I also did the writing and illustrations. However, after that, my path was not really related to publishing books. In Korea, I studied visual communication design at Hongik University. Then I went to Switzerland’s Zurich University of Arts, first as an exchange student. My life changed drastically when I decided to graduate there and changed my major to interaction design. I had a bustling life studying and working as a designer at an impact investing company in Zurich, and after coming back to Korea due to the pandemic, I started working as a creative director in a content-creating company. Seems irrelevant to become a storyteller, right? But ironically enough, I think all of these experiences guided me to writing <Galyxion>. The themes such as fighting against racial and gender discrimination, embracing different cultures, and transcending the pains would have not been in the story if I were not part of those experiences.
Q. I can imagine those years you spent in another country would have given the depth in the <Galyxion> series. So you were a designer and an artist before publishing this book, right? What about music? Have you been musically educated as well?
A. Not really much, actually. I can roughly read the notes, haha. I’ve been always a music lover, though. I’m especially into movie soundtracks and songs that help some scenes of the story to emerge from the surface of unconsciousness. I enjoy making music whenever some melodies just pop out of my head. <Galyxion> was actually my first trial of making theme music for a story soundtrack. Before that, I used to make songs for the participants of my interaction design project called ‘the portraits of life’.
Q. I guess you are a person full of inspiration. Let’s talk about the one that gave a spark in writing <Galyxion>. How did the first inspiration for this story come to you? What really made you write that story while you were busy with other things in your life?
A. That’s a good question. To be honest, I think this story came to me as a gift. I ‘experienced’ this story in a dream that I can never forget. From the main characters to the detailed plot of this series, I have seen and felt everything inside of a dream in a single night. It was the story of a whole different world from where we are, about a girl who dreams to be a captain of a ship just like her father. However, destiny leads her in a very different direction. She fights with monstrous creatures as well as the corrupted power and makes her own allies. Nobody knows who she will become in the end, not even herself. When I woke up from that dream, I knew I had to write this on my laptop. Actually, this happened when I was in Switzerland. I roughly sketched the idea down on my laptop and waited 3 years to put my hands on writing the story -as I was working as a designer back then and had to graduate from the university first.
Q. You waited 3 years to start writing, then how long did it take for you to finish up the whole thing? From writing the draft to publishing.
A. Lucky enough, the whole process took around 2 years. In those 2 years, there were many hurdles such as changing the publisher in the end. However, just writing itself took only 6-7 months. Making Illustrations and music, and designing the book took about 3-4 months. The most difficult part was finding the right publisher. That took longer than I expected.
Q. How did write four books - which are more than 1000 pages - in just half a year?
A. Partially because I already knew how the story would flow, and mostly because the characters spoke for themselves in my head and I just let it happen as a dialogue. It was almost like automatic writing. And to focus on this project, I even quit working as a creative director. I’ve literally put my heart and soul, haha. that was a big adventure, but I had strong a feeling that I should let people know about this story anyway.
Q. It almost feels like you had some kind of sense of duty in writing this series. This makes me even more curious about the story. Please tell me briefly about the main plot. How about explaining each of the four books of the series?
A. I’ll try, as I’ll have to translate the titles into English. The first book of the series is ‘The World that God Has Left’. The story starts with a fantasy-like scenery and myth of the world that once was a floating cloud island called ‘Galyxion’. But after a gigantic war, the world has fallen to the ocean. Our protagonist Boriyan’s adventure begins here, and she dreams of better knowing about her world. The second book is called ‘A Tower Built With Blood’, and this is the part where Boriyan becomes a warrior. She gets to know many different people and goes through suffering and joy while destiny slowly comes to face her. In the third book, ‘The Destiny and Choice’, she finally faces her own destiny and becomes one of the people that brings changes to the world. The last one is ‘The Last Promise’. I personally adore this part of the series a lot, as it contains the poetries that deliver the messages of god, creation, life, love, and transformation. In this last book, Boriyan herself becomes the symbol of change. So, to summarise, I would say <Galyxion> is a philosophic saga that borrowed the genre of Fantasy novel to tell a growth story of a pioneer.
Q. Sounds like you have created a grand epic. Before the interview, I saw some reviews from the readers that this story should be made as a movie. Do you agree with that idea?
A. That would be great, absolutely. As I saw this story like a movie in my dream, I wrote the story almost like a script - in present progressive tense, to vividly elaborate each scene. I would love people to enjoy it as a form of film or drama as it would be a perfect method to deliver what I intended. I was actually very happy when many readers told me that the scenes of the story appeared in their heads like watching a movie.
Q. Great. Hopefully, we will be able to see this amazing story in the cinema one day. Are there any other last things you would like to share with us about <Galyxion>?
A. I think our world is in the middle of change right now. And the great changes were always made by the power of ‘us’, the ‘people’. <Galyxion> is a story about us. Even if it seems like a story of a fantasy world, you will be able to see what we need to make our world a better place. Earlier, I said this story came to me as a present. A good story is like a present that gets worthy when shared with many people. I hope you enjoy this present as well.
Q. Cool. Thank you for joining this interview.
A. Thank you.
yes 24: http://www.yes24.com/Product/Goods/116204366
The soundtrack: https://url.kr/jp5wqk