Editor’s Note: If you’ve ever lounged around on the Soompi Fanfix Forums back in the day, chances are you’ve heard of Con.Template, a writer whose career have now spanned beyond the interwebs. “Welcome to the Underworld,” the most well-known of her works initially posted on Soompi Forums seven years ago, has raked in a 4.56/5 star review on Goodreads, a feat that even the most seasoned of writers rarely enjoy. Soompi was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with Con.Template, once an iconic part of the Soompi Forums, in an interview. Here is Con.Template, in her own words.
- Who is Con.Template?
A: Con.Template is a professional daydreamer who found her passion in life one day when wrote a story, posted it online, and found herself falling in love with a craft that started out as a simple hobby. Now I am fortunate enough to have four published books, another book series coming out this year, and incredible readers from different parts of the world joining this surreal and crazy journey with me.
- What was the first story you wrote on Soompi?
A: The first story I wrote on Soompi was “Welcome to the Underworld.” It is a story about a secret underworld crime society who refers to themselves as Kings and Queens. The most infamous “Queen”–who everyone thought had died–mysteriously got amnesia and unknowingly made her return to this secret underground society. The story follows her as she returns to power, falls for a King who is a rival to her Underworld throne, and uncovers the secrets of her past.
The story of how “Welcome to the Underworld” started on a day I was sick and had one ridiculous thought come to my head: I want to write a story about a couple who are handcuffed together. Once I decided that the story needed to be shared, I knew there was nowhere better to share the story than on Soompi. I posted Welcome to the Underworld on Soompi’s fanfix forum on May 16, 2008 and the rest from that moment on was history.
- The Soompi forums used to have a very active and tight writers community back in the day. Were you a part of it?
What I love about Soompi is how welcoming the community is. I remember being so nervous to post my story online because I wasn’t very confident in my writing. It realized how special Soompi is when I started to receive some of the kindest and most encouraging messages from fellow writers. Some even gave me advice and became a great sounding board for me. I still keep in touch with a fellow Soompi writer, and it’s been amazing to be able to talk to her about the experience of writing and publishing. She continues to be a great source of support for me and I am so grateful for that.
- What other Soompi fanfics have you read?
I haven’t had the opportunity to read as many Soompi fanfics (or books in general) as I would like since I started writing my own stories. The one story that really pops into my mind is Thao’s “A Drifter’s Paradise.” I remember really enjoying the story. It’s definitely a Soompi gem.
- What was process of going from fanfic to self publishing “Welcome to the Underworld?”
Publishing the first book in the 4-part “Welcome to the Underworld” books was the most labor intensive thing I had ever done in my life. I was not ready for how difficult it would be. The only thing that remained constant in this daunting self-publishing journey were my readers from Soompi. When you’re running low on sleep and feel like you’ve been drained of all energy, the most wonderful thing you can receive are messages from your beloved readers letting you know how proud they are of you, how excited they are to purchase yours books, and how much they believe in you in as writer.
For this, I will always be eternally grateful for the Soompi community. If not for the encouragements of my Soompi readers, I would not have even thought about publishing my works. It is a dream come true to be able to bring my imagination to life, to share it online and develop a reader base of some of the most amazing readers in the world, and to publish my works and have it travel the world to be with my readers.
- What are your favorite Korean dramas?
I have so many but my ultimate favorite is “My Lovely Kim Sam Soon.” I love how funny it is and I adore the relationship between the two main characters.
Another that I really like is “Master’s Sun.” I love that it has nearly everything that I would want in a drama. It can have me laughing like no one’s business one minute and then have me crying like no other in the next.
- What’s next for Con.Template?
I’m very excited to announce that I’m currently working on my next book series, “An Eternity of Eclipse,” which is a supernatural thriller that was also posted on Soompi. This first book in the series is set to be released this coming summer.
In addition to “An Eternity of Eclipse,” I am also planning to introduce a brand new thriller/suspense series, “Petals to Wonderland,” in early 2016.
- Any last word for Soompiers?
Soompi will always have a very special place in my heart. I grew up as a young writer here, I completed my first story here, and I met some of the most amazing individuals here. Publishing my books would not have been possible without all the love and support I’ve received from this special community. Thank you for playing such a pivotal role in my writing career and for making such a wonderful impact on my life. I love you all so much and I cannot wait to take you on more new adventures!
Giveaway time! Con has graciously offered to give away an autographed set of the “Welcome to the Underworld” to a lucky U.S. fan, and two autographed copies of “The End of Gods,” the last book in the WTTU series released in April, to two lucky international fans!
To win one of three prizes, all you have to do is follow the simple instructions below!
The contest will run from June 5 to June 10 midnight PST.
You can connect with Con and read her other stories through these links:
For an exclusive preview of “Welcome to the Underworld,” click the button below: