An Indies Introduce Q&A with Miye Lee

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Miye Lee is the author of The Dallergut Dream Department Store, a Summer/Fall 2024 Indies Introduce adult selection and a July 2024 Indie Next List pick. 

Miye Lee was born in Busan in 1990. After graduating from the Busan National University School of Materials Science and Engineering, she worked as a semiconductor engineer at Samsung Electronics. Her debut novel, The Dallergut Dream Department Store, was published entirely funded through a crowdfunding service in Korea in 2020 and has since drawn many enthusiastic responses and favorable reviews.

Matt Aragon - Shafi of West Side Books in Denver, Colorado, served on the panel that selected Lee’s book for Indies Introduce.

The Dallergut Dream Department Store is a sparkly, fun, and engaging read. Full of whimsy, wonder, a light-hearted debut. Definitely a book that’s like walking into a dream,” he said of the title.

Here, Lee and Aragon - Shafi discuss The Dallergut Dream Department Store.

Matt Aragon - Shafi: Congratulations on being a bestseller in Korea! How do you think your book will be received overseas?

Miye Lee: Thank you so much! Thanks to the love from Korean readers, we were able to publish it overseas. I am always interested and looking forward to seeing how people from overseas view it. I think foreign readers will also find it interesting because “dreams” are something that all humans dream, beyond language and culture.

MAS: I find your novel quite comfy and relaxing. What inspired you to write a story like this?

ML: The fantasy world I write about is, on average, warmer and more comfortable than reality. I think it reflects the kind of society I want in reality. Little things like what I wanted to hear, what I wanted to say, and the atmosphere I wanted to have accumulated and had an impact on the entire story. Conversations with family, a movie I happened to see, music I listen to often, thinking while taking a shower, and other little things usually become inspiration for writing.

MAS: I love the concept of dreams for sale in your novel. Do you have a memorable dream you would share with your readers?

ML: I would like to share a dream I had very recently. It was a dream in which my baby appeared. The baby was small in real life, but in the dream, she was even smaller (about the size of the palm of my hand), so she took a bath in my tumbler and even took a nap using the inner pocket of my bag as a sleeping bag. And while I was working in the dream, she climbed on top of the mouse on my laptop and gave me instructions very strictly. (Since she is my “boss” in real life, I think this is reflected in the dream.)

It was a very cute dream. When I woke up she was asleep next to me and it was so lovely because it overlapped with her appearance in my dream.

MAS: What are some of your influences when it comes to writing?

ML: For me, writing is a painstaking way to express myself. That is why, more than anything, it has a great influence on me. It also serves as an opportunity to learn what I really want, how I see the world, and awaken the imagination that was sleeping in my head. Likewise, I want to write something that inspires others and sparks a healthy imagination.

MAS: What is it like working with a translator on your work, your art? 

ML: It's literally like a dream. I especially like seeing book titles and characters' names in other languages, and reading how carefully written sentences were translated. I think translators are people who create new books. I think it's beautiful that they spend time reflecting on each sentence several times and thinking about adjusting the overall tone in order to transcribe it. Although I cannot fully experience their works due to language limitations, I am moved every time I see the translations completed in each country.

MAS: Thank you for your time and I cannot wait to read your next book!

ML: Thank you! I sincerely hope that the following stories reach you as well.

The Dallergut Dream Department Store by Miye Lee, Sandy Joosun Lee (Transl.) (Hanover Square Press, 9781335081179, Hardcover Fiction, $21.99) On Sale: 7/9/2024

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