Author Rebecca F. Kuang was born in China May 29, 1996, and immigrated from Guangzhou, China in the year 2000, when she was only four years old. Kuang grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the Greenhill School in the year 2013.

Her mom grew up on Hainan Island and her dad grew up in Leiyang, in the province of Hunan. Her dad’s family went through the Japanese conquest of Hunan firsthand. Her mom’s dad fought for Chiang Kai-shek.

She has a BA from Georgetown in International History, where her researched focused on collective trauma, Chinese military strategy, and war memorials. Kuang was drawn to the school because of its debate club. She graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. After she graduated in the year 2018, she spent the summer coaching a debate camp in Colorado. She is a 2018 Marshall Scholar.

Kuang’s debut novel was published in the year 2018, and was titled “The Poppy War”. It is part one of her “Poppy War” series. The series draws the politics and plot from mid-twentieth century China, and the conflict in the book is based off the Second Sino- Japanese War. The atmosphere is inspired by the Song Dynasty. Her work is from the fantasy genre.

Kuang began writing “The Poppy War” when she was nineteen and halfway done with college. It was during a gap year she spent in China, working as a debate coach, and was published when she was just 22 years old. She felt drawn to retell this part of China’s history in a fantasy novel because this was the type of story she was not seeing on bookshelves.

Kuang enjoys rewatching “The Office”, drinking wonderful wines she doesn’t know a thing about, and she really loves corgis. She also reads quite a bit, finishing a book every few days. When she is not writing, she co-runs, with Farah Naz Rishi, the review blog called “Journey to the BEST!”.

Kuang, while writing tough parts of “The Poppy War” would take a ton of long walks in between paragraphs. All of chapter 21 took her two weeks to write alone, as she didn’t want to spend a lot of time in that zone.

Before writing the novel, she had not ever finished a novel or even started one. Her short stories were never finished, either. She would write a diary that she would fill with her thoughts and feelings she refracted into fictional characters that led much cooler lives than her. There would never be any structure imposed on her until she had some free time.

She graduated in 2016 from the Odyssey Writing Workshop and went to the CSSF Novel Writing Workshop in the year 2017.

“The Poppy War” won the Crawford Award and the r/Fantasy Stabby Award for Best Debut. It was also a finalist for a Compton Crook Award as well as for a Goodreads Choice Award and a Nebula Award.

“The Poppy War” is the first novel in the “Poppy War” series, which was released in the year 2018. Opium runs freely throughout the center of the Nikara Empire, and is a constant reminder of the war fought with the Federation of Mugen that took it to the empire’s shores. The war ended thanks to the Trifecta, three heroes known as the Gatekeeper, the Vipress, and the Dragon Emperor. All were legendary figures, and each bestowed with godlike powers and united the Empire’s warlords against the Federation.

Decades have gone by. The Trifecta is ruined, the Gatekeeper disappeared, the Dragon Emperor is dead, and the Vipress sits alone on the throne at Sinegard. The poppy remains, yet peace reigns.

Fang Runin, who is a war orphan, grew up with all of it. Her adopted family has been smuggling it throughout the Rooster province. They make a living off of the misfortune of those that are addicted to its smoke. Rin’s parents force her into an arranged marriage, but Rin refuses to accept this fate and fights to get into the prestigious military academy at Sinegard.

Here she is going to learn about drug-fuelled shamanic, which could be the powers that defeat the Federation during their third invasion. The cost of certain power is too much to pay, even if it might mean winning a war that threatens to leave an entire nation in ruins.

Books in order of publication by series:

Poppy War Books

The Poppy War(2018)
The Dragon Republic(2019)