Kailin Gow is an Asian-American multi-million-selling author of children’s and Young Adult books with strong female leads. Her epic YA fantasy series, ‘Bitter Frost’ is now filming after a year in development by a Netflix and Disney producer, and several of her other titles have become films and TV series. A prolific writer for over 20 years, her books aim to make girls and young women feel empowered. Here she talks about mental health, confounding expectations, and how she was the first independent Asian American author to sell over a million books.
Tell us about ‘Bitter Frost’ being filmed?
“Yes, my epic YA Fantasy Series, ‘Bitter Frost’, is now filming after a year in development by a Netflix producer and a Disney producer. Other exciting news is that my ‘Red Genesis’ and ‘FADE’ series have been optioned by the team behind ‘Wish Dragon’, which was a top-two film on Netflix. I’ve won several writing and directing awards for the films and TV series ‘Kailin Gow’s Go Girl Series’, ‘A New Year’s Story’, and ‘The Red Queen of Bitter Frost’, and the next of my books to be made into a film is my swoony YA romance, ‘Loving Summer’.”
Tell us about your beginnings as an author?
“I published my first book in November 2001, when I wanted to get a message out to all the kids affected by 9/11. This became the ‘Gifted Girls’ series, written under my pen name Victoria London. It was meant to be published by a traditional publisher, but because that would take over a year, I started my own publishing house, Sparklesoup Inc., which got the book out within a month. ‘Gifted Girls’ was recommended by the US Mental Health Association, and I became known for writing strong female heroines.
“When Amazon brought out the Kindle, I was already one of the first authors publishing digitally, so I got my books onto Kindle and it exploded. I became a million-selling author. I quickly became one of the top authors on Amazon and gave speeches at conferences like Book Expo America on digital publishing. At that time, I was the first independent Asian American author to have sold over a million books.”
Why do you think your books are so popular?
“From what my readers have told me, they love the characters and travelling into their worlds. There are twists and turns, along with unexpected choices. Many readers say these books are like binge-worthy television series or film franchises.”
Why do you think it’s important to write strong female characters?
“We still live in a world where girls are expected to be less dominant than men. Early on in my writing career, my mother was diagnosed with three types of cancer, and my little baby girl was diagnosed with autism. My mother had come to America, became a successful business owner, raised two children who went on to get graduate degrees in college, and then she beat cancer. My daughter, though diagnosed with autism, became a straight-A student, and co-authored the STEM book series ‘Red Genesis’ and ‘Amazon Lee Adventures’ with me. I myself had to overcome Asian female stereotypes, which I write about in my book, ‘Golden Girl’. It’s important for girls to know they are empowered and just as capable as men to lead, to survive, to think.”
Featured photo credit: Crush Photography