Hi, Ramona, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! I can’t wait to get into your latest novel, “Agent 00: Volume I”! But firstly as a way of introduction to our readers can you tell us a little about yourself? As a German-Romanian novelist, your name “Lee Soo-Jun” is a fascinating story. Can you share how that came about?
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Phil. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share the exciting news about “Agent 00” with you.
Indeed! Well, back in 2012 when I started writing, I went with the pen name “Lee Soo-Jun”. Initially, I encountered significant challenges with rejection in Romania due to the Asian character names I chose for my stories. I come from a mixed European background and grew up in two different countries, so I didn’t fully fit into either culture. Dealing with the pushback as a writer due to my non-European character names made me rethink things. That’s when I decided to go with a pen name that wasn’t tied to my own background. I took inspiration from Bruce Lee and chose “Lee” as part of my pen name. I infused my own name with a meaningful message: the significance of being human transcends the sound of one’s name or the language they speak. Once I turned 18, I took the step of legally adding “Lee Soo-Jun” to my name.
Clearly you have a passion and a drive to be a writer. How did that come about?
I’ve always loved telling stories. I’ve got these cassette recordings of me when I was around 2 or 3 years old, making up stories about cartoon episodes that didn’t even exist. Back then, I thought it was pretty cool to get away with making up fake Tom & Jerry episodes. But looking back, I guess I was just letting my imagination run wild. Becoming an author was just a natural and easy transition.
You had written and published books before but the first book to be translated into English was “Kung-Fu Bodyguard”. How did they come about?
Thanks for remembering “Kung Fu Bodyguard”! I wrote the Romanian book and screenplay back in 2017, with hopes for an indie feature film. The English translation was under a 1-year contract with a small US imprint in 2019, but I wasn’t happy with my translation, so I took it off the market. Surprisingly, the book still gets attention even though it’s out of stock. The film project had its ups and downs, but I’m crossing my fingers to bring back the novella and feature film for everyone to enjoy someday.
We have to say congratulations on your highly successful last book, “June Storm”. You’ve followed that up with “Agent 00: Volume I”. Can you give us some insight into what the readers can expect?
“Agent 00: Volume I” is a martial arts, action-comedy novel that weaves two timelines, 2000 years apart. One follows a daring team of two generals and a young thief, safeguarding a princess from the Curse of Time. The other showcases a team of three agents and a skilled pickpocket, embarking on a perilous mission to infiltrate the Triads’ underworld.
The first edition of Volume I was published back in 2015 in Romania. I’m excited to finally be here with my English edition.
I hear that Jackie Chan was a huge inspiration. In fact, “Agent 00” is a tribute to his career?
I wrote this trilogy as a heartfelt thank you to Jackie Chan for inspiring so many generations of young artists. The team of young agents around Boss in “Agent 00” represents all of us who looked up to Jackie and learned from his movies, shaping who we are today. The intense parts in “Agent 00” are like “New Police Story”, and the buddy comedy vibes are inspired by “Rush Hour”. It’s a fun homage to Jackie Chan’s impact on our lives.
So I see it says “Volume I”. Will we get more adventure in the series to look forward to?
Yes! “Agent 00” is a trilogy, although I’m planning a book number IV at some point. I hope to get the chance to have the entire series translated to English one day.
Can you let us know when and where we can get our hands on a copy?
“Agent 00: Volume I” is now available for pre-order everywhere where books can be purchased. Amazon is always a great choice. The launch date is 01.09.23.
Finally, the Eastern Film Fans question is if you were on a desert island and could take only 3 films with you, it can be any genre, what would you take?
Hmmm, that’s a good one! Well since we’re here, let me pick 3 Jackie Chan movies. That would be “New Police Story”, “Who am I?” and “Drunken Master” in no particular order.
Thanks to Ramona for taking time to speak with us you can order Agent 00 the link below: