I’m so excited to have author Corrie Wang on the blog today to talk about her new book City of Beasts! It’s an action-packed adventure thriller that I personally can’t wait to read! Corrie also happens to have a background as a restaurateur, so she’s shared some recommendations for wine pairings as well that sound absolutely delicious!
I adored Corrie’s debut novel The Takedown, so it’s such an honor to have her here today. I’m thrilled to share the details of the awesome pre-order campaign for City of Beasts with all of you as well!
So get those TBRs and wine glasses ready, friends! You don’t want to miss this one!
About the Book
“If you see a beast, and you have the shot, don’t hesitate. Kill it.”
For seventeen years, fees have lived separate from beasts. The division of the sexes has kept their world peaceful. Glori Rhodes is like most other fees her age. She adores her neighborhood’s abandoned Costco, can bench her body weight, and she knew twenty-seven beast counter attack moves by the time she was seven. She has never questioned the separation of the sexes or the rules that keep her post-nuclear hometown safe. But when her mother secretly gives birth to a baby beast, Glori grows to love the child and can’t help wondering: What really is the difference between us and them?
When her brother, at the age of five, is snatched in a vicious raid, Glori and her best friend, Su, do the unthinkable – covertly infiltrate the City of Beasts to get him back. What’s meant to be a smash-and-grab job quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime as the fees team up with a fast-talking, T-shirt cannon wielding beast named Sway, and Glori starts to see that there’s more to males, and her own history, than she’s been taught. Glori, Sway, and a motley cohort of friends will go to the ends of the earth to find her little brother. And maybe save their divided world while they’re at it.
City of Beasts Wine Pairings and Author Guest Post
My name is Corrie Wang and I wrote the dystopian action adventure thriller, City of Beasts. I also own Jackrabbit Filly, a heritage driven, New Chinese American restaurant that is set to open early this fall in North Charleston, South Carolina around exactly the same time that City of Beasts hits shelves.
Set in a nuclear decimated near future, City of Beasts imagines a city where women have decided to live separate from men, aka beasts. In this community, Glori has grown up as part of the last generation of children born before radiation caused widespread sterility. Although she has been raised to fear and hate the beasts, she has a soft spot for her little brother, Twofer. A child born under mysterious circumstances and kept a secret. When the beasts take him, Glori and her best friend Su, set out on the adventure of a lifetime to get him back, discovering that not only is their world not as it has seemed, but that they will have to rely on the very creatures Glori and Su have been raised to kill upon sight…teenage boys.
Restaurant wise, my husband, Shuai, and I moved to Charleston from Brooklyn in 2014 and shortly thereafter started an untraditional Japanese food truck called Short Grain. Although food trucking is an incredibly hard profession (lesson learned) Short Grain took us to many fantastic places. Our first year open, we landed on Bon Appetit magazine’s list of Top Fifty Best New Restaurants in the country. Shuai also won an Eater Young Gun award, Eater Best Chef South, and a James Beard nod for Rising Star Chef. Over the years, his spin on classic Japanese dishes, began to veer a lot more Chinese, crafting dishes based off of his mom and grandmother’s home cooking. When we finally found a space to build our first brick and mortar, we knew it was time for a name change. Jackrabbit Filly reflects both our Chinese zodiacs – he is a rabbit, I am a horse – because we couldn’t have gotten where we are without one another and a lot, a lot of hard work.
Considering my background as a restaurateur and my love for writing twisty, complex stories, there’s no way one wine can carry the entire heft of City of Beasts. Therefore, might I suggest the following tasting to pair and accentuate particular elementsof the book?
Aperitif: Manuel Atxa (Acha) White Vermouth/Vermut
Serving suggestions: on the rocks with a lemon peel twist
This Spanish vermouth with its nuanced sweetness and silky round mouth feel is the perfect way to begin an evening. Similarly, I like to say that City of Beasts is a love story, but no girl swoons in this book. Instead, it’s a story of familial love with my main character Glori adventuring to rescue her little brother, Twofer. Which is why I began the novel with a (bitter) sweet scene between the two characters. Glori is about to go on a MASSIVE JOURNEY to save her little bro, and right from the jump off, I needed the reader to feel as invested in his chubby cheeks and sweet disposition as she is.
Fine, I hear you saying, but sip vermouth?
To which I reply: Oh heck yeah!
Castell-Roig Pink Cava NV
Serving suggestions: chilled + whatever vessel gets it into your mouth
I write for two reasons, to explore things that make me angry and to understand things that frighten me. That being said, there’s lots of themes to explore in this novel. When I began writing CoB, the main theme I was interested in was the differences in how we raise boys and girls and what would happen if those differences no longer existed. A close second was the slated environmental collapse we’re headed for and showing one possible future if we don’t act now. Lastly, I wanted to explore what all of our advances in science mean for future generations. But if discussions of gender politics, environmental collapse, and gene editing didn’t already make it clear, I also wanted to write a book that was REALLY FUN TO READ.
Accordingly, City of Beasts is filled with twists and turns, fight scenes, a massive make-over, jump off the page adorable characters, and lines of dialogue that still make me laugh out loud. Just like this good sparkling (pink!) Cava on your palate, in City of Beast the pops don’t stop.
Benedicte & Stephane Tissot Savagnin 2014
Serving suggestions: chilled, served with sashimi or a funky cheese plate
THIS JURA WINE IS FUNKY. You can smell the sherry-like quality even before it hits your palate.
Sherry is currently being billed as a perfect pairing with Japanese food. Eh. Maybe. But that doesn’t make it delicious to drink. However, the sherry like notes in this wine mean you can try the coupling out, but still enjoy a highly quaffable wine.
Similarly, I love playing with non-traditional pairings in my novels as well. As evident by my first book, The Takedown, I’m not a fan of all the standard romance we feed girls. It’s too much! Too early! Speaking from experience – I loved me a good romantic comedy or Disney princess flick growing up – it makes us obsessed with boys when we should be obsessed with anything else. Way back when, I decided I’d never write stories where girls pined after boys.
But it’s not just girls that fall prey to unhealthy tropes. The sixteen-year old boys I knew growing up and today, did not have ripped bods and weren’t constantly crafting smoky sexy sentences while delivering them with smoky sexy looks. Let’s be real, the boys I knew could barely string sentences together. (Sorry, guys). Writing a novel where women adamantly decide to live separate from men, and then proceed to call them beasts, meant I had to come up with highly nuanced, sympathetic male characters. In other words, realistic male characters.
Domaine de Noblaie Chinon Rouge 2016
Serving suggestions: grilled meats and late summer BBQ
An earthy, spicy yet elegant and organic red that is still delicious in the summer’s heat, I’ve heard two stories about the vineyard this Cab Franc comes from. First, is that it sits across the river from where Joan of Arc asked Charles VII for the chance to lead his army. Second, is that the vineyard sits across the river from where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Either way, this winery is old and badass AF.
The one thing I knew when I began writing City of Beasts – and this is a bit of a spoiler – is that I was tired of seeing women lose. So, you know, not in my book. That being said, the story is populated by independent, ferociously smart women. Glori and her best friend Su, yes. But also, the mercenaries.
An elite fighting squad, charged with protecting the women, the mercenaries carry an assortment of homemade weapons, all have their own fighting styles, and dress head to toe in repurposed red skydiving suits. Which just so happen to be the exact shade of red as this Chignon.
Digestif: A shot of Fernet or a bottle of Underberg
It’s cliché, but as a restaurant industry person, the meal isn’t complete without one of these two digestifs. They’re bitter yet sweet and complex, and taste exactly like something you might make yourself at the end of the world.
Similarly, every novel I write has lots of research behind it because a book is so much creepier and Fernet-like jarring when it’s based on facts. (In The Takedown, I totally called all this deepfake-ry). City of Beasts is set in a dystopian version of my hometown, Buffalo, NY. Not only was it fun to plug the place I grew up, but true fact: Buffalo is touted as a top ten city to survive climate change and is already welcoming environmentally displaced residents from coastal and island communities. See: Buffalo’s growing Puerto Rican population. This isn’t a fantastical dystopian novel. It’s one that could very well come to pass. Fernet and Underberg both pack a lasting punch. Hopefully just like City of Beasts.
About the Author
Corrie Wang owns and operates Jackrabbit Filly, a friendly neighborhood restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. She is passionate about libraries, recycling, and eating all the food everywhere. Her debut novel, The Takedown, received much love from the New York Public Library and YALSA.
She and her husband, Shuai, live in a cozy yellow house with their pups, Moose and Olive. You can find out very little about her at corriewang.com or on Instagram @corrie_wang.
Please submit proof of purchase to CORRIEWANGBOOKS[at] GMAIL [dot] COM. All formats apply (physical & e-book). Open to the United States only. Last day to submit is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 at 11:59 PM.
PRE-ORDERS FROM BLUE BICYCLE BOOKS
Each signed pre-order copy of City of Beats will come with:
ANY PREORDERS FROM AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE
Pre-order City of Beasts at your local indie and you will receive:
PRE-ORDERS FROM ANYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD!
ANY PREORDERS FROM AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE
Pre-order City of Beasts anywhere else books are sold you will receive:
Will you be sampling some of Corrie’s suggested wine pairing while reading City of Beasts? What are some of your favorite book and wine pairings?