Interview with Seven Seas Editor, Pengie

Pengie is a writer and editor who focuses on LGBTQ+ fiction. She edited the Seven Seas release of Mo Dao Zu Shi / Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and Tian Guan Ci Fu / Heaven Official’s Blessing by bestselling author Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, aka MXTX.

I had the opportunity to interview Pengie, which you can read below.

First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Hello! I’m Pengie, the editor on the TGCF and MDZS English adaptations through Seven Seas. I write and do various other crafty projects on the side.

How would you describe what you do professionally and creatively?

In addition to general editing for spelling/grammar, I work directly with a novel’s translator to adjust the prose for style/flow and discuss adaptation and localization concerns, and research/write extra content like character profiles, glossary entries, and so on.

What drew you to storytelling, and how did you get into editing specifically?

I’m a lifelong reader and writer of fiction and am passionate about bringing the things I love to a wider audience.

As someone known for their work editing the English translation of MXTX’s novels for Seven Seas publishing, what draws you to this author’s work?

MXTX is one of the best character writers I’ve ever encountered in any field – even her NPCs have devoted fanclubs. Interesting characters are what truly engage readers and get a fandom going, especially in a genre as heavily character-focused as romance, and it’s a huge part of why her main ships are so compelling and see such widespread praise.

What are your thoughts on the current danmei (Chinese genre of literature and other fictional media that features romantic relationships between male characters) publishing field and fan community?

It’s still a very fledgling field in the Western publishing sphere! Same goes for Western fan communities. MDZS/The Untamed’s explosion in the west took a lot of media companies by surprise, and they’re now beginning to understand that danmei isn’t some passing fad they can sit out. I expect to see more publishers/production companies picking up series as time goes on.

What are some of your favorite danmei titles?

MXTX’s books will always hold a special place in my heart, as they were the first danmei I read. I’m also a fan of 2HA for how buckwild it gets, and love Thousand Autumns because I like hot, evil old men with big tits.

As a creator, who or what would you say are some of your greatest creative influences and/or sources of inspiration? 

Not to get all shounen anime protagonist on you and your poor readers, but my creative work improves exponentially when I’m in the workshopping and brainstorming with my equally talented and creative friends—or even just hanging out with them and admiring their work.

What’s a question you haven’t been asked yet, but wish you were asked (as well as the answer to that question)? 

Question: would I rather find irrefutable proof of aliens, or irrefutable proof of ghosts?

Answer: Ghosts. I think pretty much everyone these days already understands conceptually that there is likely extraterrestrial life out there. Finding proof of it would probably net me a Nobel Prize, but it’s probably just going to be something boring like bacteria. Now, ghosts on the other hand—finding proof of ghosts 1) would shake the foundation of our concept of death, 2) would really screw with a lot of people’s heads, 3) might not get me a Nobel Prize, but would drastically increase my chances of getting a big titty ghost gf. I think I can rest my case.

Aside from your work, what are some things you would want people to know about you?

My collection of TGCF merch is horrifyingly large. One of the proudest parts of that collection is my ever-growing set of TGCF releases from other regions—the original Chinese release, the Thai release, the Vietnamese release, the Russian release, and many more. So many different covers and different internal illustrations for me to admire! I’m sure it’ll monopolize a full bookcase when all is said and done.

As an editor, what advice would you give to aspiring creatives/writers? 

From a story-crafting standpoint: interesting, engaging characters will carry your work; it is extremely hard to achieve a lasting impact on readers if your characters are dull, even if the story’s plot on its own is good. From a line-editing standpoint: Google Docs’ spelling/grammar checker is hot garbage, please don’t take its stupid suggestions seriously.

Are there any projects you are working on or thinking about that you are able to discuss?

I’m hoping to release some videos on danmei/xianxia topics soon on my pengiesama YouTube channel! Hold me to it, won’t you?

Finally, what LGBTQ+ books/ authors would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?

I haven’t had much chance to read anything released recently, but I can recommend The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon as a semi-recent rec, and Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu as a perennial classic. I’ll throw in Nagata Kabi’s biographical manga series as a rec here too; My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is the first of the series. Readers interested in a modern perspective on LGBTQ+ issues from an Asian perspective may want to check out the work of Qiu Miaojin, a Taiwanese lesbian novelist. Her most famous works in the Western sphere are Notes of a Crocodile and Last Words from Montmartre.