Author Interview: JY Yang

As I’ve delved more into the world of SFF short fiction, I’ve found some truly amazing authors. Among these is JY Yang, who has two queer fantasy novellas coming out from on September 26th! I’ve already got one of them on pre-order, so you can be expecting a review sometime soon. In the meantime, here’s JY Yang discussing their novella debuts, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune!

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming novellas, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune?

The Tensorate novellas take place in a secondary world setting infused with elements of several Asian cultures. In this world, anyone has the ability to use Slackcraft, the setting’s magic system, but learning it is a difficult process and restricted to the most privileged in society. The books are centred around a pair of twins, Akeha and Mokoya. Their mother is the Protector, a tyrant who rules over much of the civilised world with an unrelenting grip. The twins are both gifted users of Slackcraft, but wind up joining the rebellion against their mother and her cadre of magic users. Black Tides tells Akeha’s story while Red Threads tells Mokoya’s, and the two novellas are pretty different stylistically, but I hope readers will find them both compelling!

Can you tell us about what inspired the Tensorate novellas?

I grew up in Singapore, a city-state comprised of a very mixed population of different Asian ethnicity. I wanted to write stories that not just reflected my Asian heritage but also a diversity of Asian cultures. At the same time I also wanted to have fun with my writing, and I wove in a bunch of my favourite pop culture franchises as influences, and put in a whole bunch of things I liked. Inexplicable dinosaurs, giant winged beasts, profligate swearing, and the like.

Which of your short stories would you be most likely to recommend to readers unfamiliar with your work?

I definitely recommend “Waiting On A Bright Moon,” which was my latest story, published on Song magic, rebellion, and ansible lesbians! I am also impartial to “The Blood That Pulses In The Veins Of One” (shapeshifting alien cannibals, a love story), “Secondhand Bodies” (illegal body swapping and the bigotry contained therein), and “Patterns Of A Murmuration, In Billions Of Data Points” (AI takes revenge for the murder of one of its mothers).

What are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy books, stories, or authors?

A tough one! My current favourite non-binary authors include A. Merc Rustad and Rose Lemberg. I’m reading Sofia Samatar’s collection “Tender” and loving it a lot, and I think Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy have been some of my favourite books in the past few years. At the risk of sounding gauche, there’s a collection I’m in, The New Voices Of Fantasy, which I recommend solely because the TOC contains at least half of my favourite SFF short story writers working in the field right now.

Do you have any current writing projects?

I’m working on two more novellas for the Tensorate series, and I’m writing a serial novella for Fireside Fiction, for next year, and I have a couple of novel projects brewing. I’m pretty excited!

About the Author

Nicholas Lee © 2017

JY Yang is the author of the Tensorate series of novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Red Threads of FortuneThe Black Tides of Heaven, and two more slated for 2018). Their short fiction has been published in over a dozen venues, including Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed.

JY attended the 2013 class of Clarion West, for which they received the Susan C. Petrey scholarship to attend. In 2015 they were awarded a postgraduate scholarship from the National Arts Council of Singapore to read their MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, Britain.

In previous incarnations, they have been a molecular biologist; a writer for animation, comics and games; a journalist for one of Singapore’s major papers, and a science communicator with Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Currently, they edit fiction for Epigram Books, an independent press in Singapore.

JY works and lives in Singapore. They identify as queer and non-binary. Find them online at or on Twitter as @halleluyang.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for this interview!! I have heard so so so many great things about these novellas, and I’m eagerly awaiting my library acquiring them so that I can devour them.

    1. I’ve got one that’s downloading on my Kindle right now!

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