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Fanbase Press Interviews A.H. Kim on the Upcoming Release of the Novel, ‘Relative Strangers,’ Through Graydon House

The following is an interview with A.H. Kim regarding the upcoming release of her novel, Relative Strangers, through Graydon House. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Kim about her creative experience in adapting Sense and Sensibility for modern audiences, what she hopes that readers may take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Relative Strangers! What are you most excited for readers to experience with this modern-day retelling of Sense and Sensibility, and what served as its inspiration?

A.H. Kim: Thank you so much! I’m excited for readers to get lost in the story of Amelia and Eleanor as they find love, forgiveness, and hope on the beautiful coastline of northern California. An early reader described the book as “a warm hug,” and that’s exactly what I intended. The inspiration for Relative Strangers came when I was trying to find an agent for my debut novel, A Good Family. Frustrated by the querying process, I self-soothed by watching my favorite comfort movies including Sense and Sensibility. As I was basking in the warm glow of the movie, I thought: Wouldn’t it be fun to do a modern retelling of this story with an eclectic, diverse cast?

BD: The creative process of approaching an adaptation of a prior work – especially one as well known as Sense and Sensibility – can be a daunting experience. How would you describe your approach to breathing new life into the story, and what did you find to be most rewarding/challenging about the process?

A.H. Kim author photo CREDIT Grace Han
Photo Credit: Grace Han

AHK: You are so right; it is very daunting to adapt a classic book by such a beloved author. As I thought about updating Austen’s story, I focused on the characters and their back stories and personalities. I began by writing a mini-bio of each of the main characters as told in their own voice, and once I got into their heads, the book practically spilled out of me. My favorite books to read are those that leave me melancholy at the end, sad to say goodbye to characters whom I’ve come to love. I felt that way when I finished writing Relative Strangers.

BD: What makes Graydon House the perfect home for this story?

AHK: If you look at Graydon House’s catalogue, it includes everything from twisty thrillers to engrossing historical fiction to heartwarming small-town stories – which is exactly how I like to read: broadly across genres. The one thing all Graydon House books have in common is that they are compulsively readable, and that is what I aim for in my writing.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Amelia and Eleanor’s story may connect with and impact today’s readers?

AHK: I’ve always liked the adage, “You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.” It’s important to me to tell stories that draw from my diverse background and challenging life experiences (such as having had breast cancer and a family member in prison) but not in a didactic way. I don’t appreciate books that lecture at me. In sharing Amelia’s and Eleanor’s story, I hope to provide insight into Korean American culture, biracial identity, and how to be fully present to someone experiencing cancer or other difficulties. At the same time, I hope readers will have fun turning the pages.

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

AHK: I’m currently editing my third novel, this one about a Korean American woman who is missing and may or may not be dead. While A Good Family was sardonic and sly, and Relative Strangers is heartfelt and sincere, this third book returns to a darker tone with a twisty plot and cast of characters some might call “unlikeable.”

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Relative Strangers and your other work?

AHK: I post all my events, interviews, and other writings on my website ( I’ve also started a monthly Substack with fun recipes, book recommendations, and personal reflections, which you can sign up for on my website. For real-time updates on what I’m doing and reading and recommending, follow me on social media ( and I love connecting with readers!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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