Baptiste Pinson Wu
Born and raised in Normandie, Baptiste has entertained a passion for historical tales since childhood. Growing up with stories of his Viking ancestors, plus his personal interest in everything Chinese and Japanese, it was only a matter of time before he decided to stop being a consumer and become a storyteller.
After ten years of expatriation in Asia, six manuscripts, and a few hundred videos, Baptiste chose his number one passion as the subject of his first publication: The Three Kingdoms of China.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog. Today we are accompanied by Baptiste Pinson Wu, author of historical fiction, whose debut, Yellow Sky Revolt, was released in October.
Let's dive in!
1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
I first pursued the traditional road and became agented in early 2021. From the beginning of my writing journey (2018) I was interested in self-publishing, but purely for the challenge of it, I wanted to be traditionally published. For the following year and a half, I let my agent look for contracts while I kept writing. Focusing on producing was amazing, and I wrote a whole trilogy in one year. That was really exciting. However, in April 2022, I was forced to recognize the traditional route was going nowhere and moved to self-publishing. It’s been an exciting bunch of months since.
2.- Historical fiction is a particular genre. Why did you choose it?
It’s the genre I enjoy the most as a reader, so it was quite natural to write it as well. The very first book I wrote was actually a contemporary fantasy, and I still hope to get back to it someday. The trilogy I wrote in 2021 is Scandinavian mythology, but it feels like historical fiction. I think the realization that I would write historical fiction came in 2017 as I watched an episode of Vikings. There was a battle scene which for some reason I wanted to write. Then followed months and months of reading Cornwell, Low, Kristian, and other great writers of the genre.
3.- What made you choose the Three Kingdom period as a base for your novel?
Besides writing, the Three Kingdoms is my greatest passion. I’ve loved this story/era since I was seventeen. At first, I wanted to have more experience as a writer before diving into the retelling of it, but ended up realizing I would never be good enough to give it justice, so I just started. The Three Kingdoms, or ancient China in general, isn’t a topic with many novels in English, which also drove me to choose it as my first published novel. Rather than competing with established writers in the Dark Ages subgenre, I would rather develop my career in Asia. And, finally, many people love the Three Kingdoms, and I thought they might enjoy a novel written in a more western way.
4.- Which difficulties would you say you have experienced in the process of documenting this novel?
First, that was a pleasurable experience. I love researching, and since I enjoy this topic, it was just plain fun. However, we know very little about the life of regular people back in those days. So much is known about the life at the court, the main events, and the main characters of the era, but finding information on the life of peasants, soldiers, or even simply women, was difficult, to say the least. In the end, I had to fill the gaps with knowledge from other places or times, and imagine the rest.
5.- Of the whole process of writing a novel, where would you say there are the worst challenges?
The fifth or sixth draft is though. At that point I just can’t read the novel anymore, I’ve had enough. When it happens, I know it’s about time to hand it over to an editor.
6.- Do you experience impostor syndrome? How do you deal with it?
So far, I haven’t experienced it. I guess I’m just not successful enough for that yet.
7.- What can we expect from Baptiste Pinson Wu in the future?
A lot! Yellow Sky Revolt is the first of a long series of books, not just about the Three Kingdoms (which should be ten books), but in my career. 2023 will be about the Three Kingdoms, but in 2024 I plan to publish Norse mythology trilogy, and this is a whole different beast of a story.
On the historical fiction/fantasy side, I will probably never go closer than the 17th century, as for the places it will be eclectic. I have projects set in Japan, Scandinavia, and China, of course. Right now I’m daydreaming a story set in Gaul just before it became Roman with a distinctive Peaky Blinders’ tone. Probably not for any time soon, but it will be super interesting to develop
I really hope to leave my mark in the industry and connect with readers of historical fiction. There are many, many stories to write, and I do write a lot.