Jean Brown


An interview with Junying Kirk about her latest novel Land of Hope

Posted by Jean Brown on October 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM


The Land of Hope (Journey to the West)

Every year, millions of illegal immigrants cross borders in search of wealth, happiness and a life of ease in the Land of Hope. Some succeed. Others suffer unimaginable hardships. When Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad) hires Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese in...


Good day to all on this lovely October morn. Today, the lovely Junying Kirk will join us to discuss her new release Land of Hope.

Jean- Welcome Junying. What is the title of your current work?

Junying- Land of Hope, the 3rd and final installment of my “Journey to the West” trilogy.

Jean- What genre would you classify this work?

Junying- Contemporary/Literary Fiction, with elements of Crime Thriller, Suspense and a dash of Romance

Jean- Does Land of Hope fall in the genre of what you typically write?

Junying- Yes, I suppose :). It’s not easy to classify my writing - the themes in all my books are contemporary, addressing some important and pertinent social, political and emotional issues. Some readers have commented that that my books have historical significance - my first book covers a period of time in the Chinese modern history, especially from 1960s onwards to the present day.

Jean- Who or what was your inspiration for this work?

Junying- The story-lines and characters are from my current line of work, as a professional interpreter and translator, mainly for the British Justice System and other agencies in the country. It also reflects my love of reading crime fiction, British, American and Scandinavian.

Jean- Are you trying to convey a message for your readers or entertain the readers?

Junying- I try both. Maybe it’s in my genes (My mother was a school teacher) as well as my own education (trained to be a university teacher) that I keenly want to educate and inform people through my writing, and hopefully entertain my readers at the same time. Through Land of Hope, my messages are both simple and profound: life is full of twists, turns, trials and tribulations - millions of immigrants set out to seek fortune and a betterment of fate overseas, and what have they found? Maybe some of us have gained certain level of control of our destiny, the majority of us, try as much as we are capable, are simply puppets, helpless souls, who are destined to suffer and to sacrifice for others. Life is full of ironies - That’s the fatalist in me talking.

Jean- Are you character driven or plot driven in your work?

Junying- One of the comments I have received from Trials of Life (Amazon US) went like this: “Ms. Kirk is a character creative monster and that is something you can’t teach.”. So I guess I’m a character-driver author :). However, plots are very important to drive the story forward and to engage readers. I do pay a great deal of attention to my plot, especially in Land of Hope - I sat down and wrote a chapter plan before I started it, quite unlike the first two of the trilogy, when I just sat down and wrote non-stop till they were finished.

Jean- How long have you been writing?

Junying- I’d say about twenty odd years, ever since I arrived in the UK, although before that, I have attempted writing in Chinese while studying in China. My writing in English really took off after I was ‘forced’ to produce a number of Master’s and Doctorial Thesis.

Jean- What are some of your other hobbies besides writing?

Junying- Reading, traveling, social media (newish but an all-consuming, obsessive hobby :)), cooking & entertaining, music and movies - shall I continue :)?

Jean- What are the titles of your other work?

Junying- My ‘Journey to the West’ trilogy: The Same Moon, Trials of Life and Land of Hope. I’ve contributed to an Indie Author short story collection With Love, as well as many short stories, travel logs and book reviews on my website:

Jean- What has been the most difficult task for you during the writing process?

Junying- It depends. Personally, I find it difficult sometimes to decide which tenses to use, or stick with I don’t think that it is not simply because English is my second language. My husband is a highly educated Englishman with an English Literature degree - once in a while, he has trouble in being consistent with certain tenses :). Actually, I probably do not make life easy for myself as a writer, as I often shift time frames in my writing, as well as PoVs. Some would say that as a result, I have a very distinctive voice I enjoy writing from different Point of Views, and I prefer to tell a multi-layer story from a variety of perspectives. I also experiment with different persons, sometimes more successful than other times :).

Jean- What has been the easiest task during the writing process?

Junying- Writing :). Yes, I find it easy to write when I know the kind of stories I want to tell. Touch wood, so far writing has been easy and straight-forward because so much of the story comes from my personal experiences, and all I needed to do is translate what’s in my head and what I see into words. Having said that, in Land of Hope, a very large chunk of it come from my imagination and quite a bit of ‘plotting’ before I settled down to write.

Jean- What is the best advice you’ve received that you would like to pass on to other authors?

Junying- Interesting that you should ask that. Only a few days ago, when I was trying to organize this book tour, I was talking to Author James Thompson,, whose detective stories set in Finland I absolutely adored reading. I quipped: “If my books don’t sell, I’ll change my career to that of a book tour manager :).” Guess what he told me? “No, if your books don’t sell, you’ll just write another, and another, until they do.”

There you go. Thanks, Jim. I’d like to borrow his wisdom and pass it to authors who really, really believe that they have something worth telling :)!

Jean- Who are your favorite authors/ stories?

Junying- I have too many! But I’ll cite a few on the top of my list of favorites - anyone who has read The Same Moon or followed my blog would know that Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre was right there at the top, as well as works of Thomas hardy. Among the authors of modern times, I am a huge fan of Khaled Hossein (The Kite Runner), Stieg Larsson (The Millenium Trilogy), Henning Mankell (Swedish Crime fiction writer with numerous wonderfully written novels), Pearl S Buck (The Good Earth), afore mentioned James Thompson(Inspector Kari Varra series, Finland), and Leighton Gage (Chief Inspector Mario Silva, Brazil). The list goes on.

Jean- Where can your book be purchased?

Junying-, & Smashwords.

Jean- What is the best way for your readers to contact you?

My website at

Jean- Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your work?

Junying- Yes I’d like to recommend Land of Hope to readers who enjoy a gripping story with fantastic characters in an international setting. Although it is only in electronic form right now, it will be available in print in the near future. It is likely to be turned into a screen play - as I speak, it’s been read by people with that very intention.

Blurb: Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad), enlists help from Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese interpreter; together they fight injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Land of Hope is the dark, explosive finale of Junying Kirk’s modern trilogy “Journey to the West”, taking us from coastal Southern China to the UK’s hidden crime world, from wars in Afghanistan to Iraq, across the deserts of Colorado to the Scottish Highlands, taking you on a roller-coast ride you’ll never forget.

Author Bio: Junying Kirk grew up in the turbulent times of the Cultural Revolution. A British Council scholarship led her to study English Language Teaching at a top English University in 1988, followed by further postgraduate degrees at Glasgow and Leeds. She has worked as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher, cultural consultant and professional interpreter. She loves reading and is the author of a modern tale 'Journey to the West' trilogy, set in China and Europe. The Same Moon, Trials of Life and Land of Hope have been published on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

Finally, I’d like to thank my gracious host today. Jean, it’s been a real pleasure talking to you.

Please join me again tomorrow when I answer more probing questions from gorgeous Vanessa Wu. See you there.

Jean – It’s my pleasure chatting with you. Thanks for joining us today, Junying. Best wishes for your book.




Junying Kirk's Blog Tour Schedule

5th October: Guest Blog + Blurb + Author Bio James Thompson

6th October: Book of the Month + Sample eTLC

7th October: Editorial Book Review & Blurb Katy Sozaeva

9th October: Book Review + Blurb Eri Nelson/Dearharts

11th October: Interview + Blurb + Author Bio Andrea Buginsky

12the October: Blurb + Author Bio + Excerpt Jess C Scott

14th October: Book Review and Blurb Andy Wood

15th October: Interview & Give-away AmBear Shellea

16th October: Interview + Blurb Lisa M Stull

18th October: Excerpt + Guest Blog + Blurb Matt Posner

19th October: Review &Author Spotlight J J Collins

20th October: Interview + Book Blurb + Author Bio Jean Brown

21st October: Interview + Blurb Vanessa Wu

22nd October: Review + Blurb + Author Bio Mariam Kobras

23rd October: Guest Blog +Blurb + Author Bio Doreen Mcgettigan

24th October: Blurb + Author Spotlight Eden Baylee

25th October: Excerpt, Blurb, Review & Give-away Sandra Valente

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Reply junying kirk
4:05 AM on October 20, 2012 
It's lovely to stop here and have a chat with you, Jean - many thanks for your hospitality and have a wonderful weekend! I have updated all my hyperlinks to your post, as well as linking your website to mine under A+ Authors and Networks :)
Reply Jean Brown
5:52 AM on October 22, 2012 
Great chatting with you, Junying. Best wishes for your book.
Reply junying kirk
4:41 PM on October 22, 2012 
Thanks, Jean. I didn't realise that I had not attached any photos with my post, but never mind - at least you know what I looked like :)