We love romance stories. The pining, swooning, sweet and tense moments. We love all of them. So, it’s no shock that we love romance WEBTOON series. And we aren’t the only ones. We recently had the chance to chat with Lifelight, the incredible creator behind My Dear Cold-Blooded King and Blood Reverie. Check out everything she had to share about bringing these two viral WEBTOONs to life and what she loves most about each of the series.
Julia Roth: One of our first introductions to WEBTOONs was with My Dear Cold-Blooded King, and really, that was all they wrote. What was your inspiration behind the series?
Lifelight: A long, long time ago, back in my college days, I had a cool idea for writing a Japanese-inspired manga-style story about a girl who fell in love with a king without knowing he was a king. The concept isn’t anything new, of course, but I just loved the idea and wanted to try my hand at it. I was inspired by a cool Chinese manhwa.
It was about a woman who accidentally made a man fall in love with her through only the sound of how well she could play the guzheng. She was a well-meaning maid to her noble lady and was pretending to be that noble lady because she was forced to do so, as that noble lady feared the formidable feudal lord that wanted to court her. That’s the gist, anyway, it was definitely a toxic sort of relationship between the guzheng-playing maid and the feudal lord, but it was enough to inspire me to write My Dear Cold-Blooded King (MDCBK).
JR: What was your inspiration for Blood Reverie?
LL: It was inspired by two converging thoughts. First: I can lucid dream at will. I have always been fascinated by the fantasy that we could go to boundless worlds in our dreams and meet people – real or imagined. I dream in high-definition vivid color, and it feels so real that I sometimes just don’t want to wake up. Second: A long time ago, when I was maybe eight or nine years old, I was playing pretend with my cousins outside my grandma’s trailer, and we made a clubhouse for just us girls.
It was really just a little un-cut shrubbery at the edge of a leaky trench. But, to me, it was a fantasy woodland complete with a lush, undiscovered forest and a rushing river. We would visit that “clubhouse” all summer. I later took that world, and I built it up in my mind over the next couple of decades until I knew all the kings and queens. It had elves, vampires, fairies, dwarves, mermaids, and dragons. So, essentially, I married the concepts of lucid dreaming and my childhood fantasy land to create what is now known as Blood Reverie.
JR: Both My Dear Cold-Blooded King and Blood Reverie are within the romance genre. Was this something you designed?
LL: Oh, yes. I am exclusively (and will always be) a romance genre creator. You see, I LOVE, love. I am 100% that simp for a romantic story and will always gush over something fluffy and sweet or something hot and steamy. So, if you like romance, keep me on your radar. I have dozens and dozens of romantic stories lodged in my head, and with any luck, I’ll get most of them out there into the stratosphere before I leave this world.
JR: With My Dear Cold-Blooded King, did you know where you wanted the story to go? Did you take a different approach with Blood Reverie?
LL: For MDCBK and Blood Reverie both, I knew (and know) the direction. With MDCBK, though, I had a tough time fleshing out my characters. I didn’t realize that the chemistry between Ryusaki and Mei would be so strong. They were like fire to my fingertips as I typed out their dialogue. What drew them together was something I wasn’t strong enough to fight. So, I sunk my Katsu ship and sailed into the sunset with the charming Ryusaki at the helm.
As for Blood Reverie, though, I feel I know my characters better this time around. Writing the story has been very natural and easy to do, and I’m having more fun with it than I had writing MDCBK. I definitely feel like MDCBK was a project I learned so much from and it has better prepared me for my work on Blood Reverie.
JR: Speaking of changes – are there any major differences in your style and creative process between both series? What have you learned about yourself and your work in that time?
LL: Art style has a way of morphing over time, so I definitely have noticed the changes to my artwork over the last few years between these two series. Artists are always evolving and adapting, which can be hard for fans to see sometimes. As for creative processes, I’m a lot more forgiving of myself this go-around, and I don’t skimp on the fundamentals of the planning processes. I’m much more thorough and precise about the decisions I make. And I make sure I’m not wasting my time (or the reader’s time) with “filler” episodes that don’t contain unnecessary plot content that serves a greater purpose over time.
I’ve learned how to tell my stories more purposefully, and I’ve learned how to take care of my own needs. I rest when I need rest, and I goof off when I need to goof off. I vent to my best friend when I need to, and I allow myself time and space to deal with issues. MDCBK was a trial and a struggle to get through, but it’s made me the more capable person that I am today.
JR: What have been the biggest influences on your style?
LL: It’s hard to really say what all impacts my style these days, but I can say that, at least initially, I had some strong starting points. I was greatly inspired by Peach Girl (eyes and lips) and Bride of the Water God (hair and clothing style/folds/linework). I still think a reader can see those roots firmly in place even today, but it’s definitely evolved into its own thing over time. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, but my art is still not where I want it to be yet. Practice makes perfect, so I’ll keep developing it.
JR: What was your favorite moment within My Dear Cold-Blooded King?
LL: My favorite moment has got to be the episode where I reveal that the secret admirer is none other than the blushy and boisterous Ambassador! Man. I laughed so much drawing that episode, and I remember so many people being so mad at me!! LOL! They really wanted it to be someone hot and broody like General Shibisaki, but nope…! I trolled them good.
But, hey, my second favorite moment is the episode where Mei finds Ryusaki in the dojo, and he just goes off on her. I think it’s episode 105. He gets so jealous and so mad about Katsu, and then Mei shuts him up with a surprise kiss. Agh. I love that sorta thing. It has the same kind of energy as the “almost-kissed-in-the-rain-but-we-didn’t” scene from Pride and Prejudice. You can’t see it, but I am most certainly fanning myself like a southern bell right now. Phew! Romance is everything.
JR: What has been your favorite moment so far in Blood Reverie?
LL: Let’s see… we’re almost on episode 40 on fast pass, so that means we’re almost on episode 37 in the free section. My favorite moment in Blood Reverie so far (so before ep. 37) has probably gotta be either the bath scene (because that was hilarious to draw Cass and Grey really vibing and teasing each other) or ep. 33-34, where the villain is monologuing with Cass. In case you couldn’t tell from reading MDCBK, I have a thing for hot villains. It’ll probably be something I do in any story I write. I find it necessary for both the male lead and the villain to have strong chemistry with the female lead. I like for every part of my story to be entertaining for me to write, and a hot villain is one of the ways I keep it fun for me, haha!
JR: How long do you think Blood Reverie will run? Do you have any plans for another WEBTOON series after that?
LL: Oh, gosh. I like Blood Reverie so much that I never want it to end. But I have many more stories I want to write. I have a lot of content that I am setting up even right now as we speak, just to clear the way for the third (and potentially fourth) season. Fingers crossed! And, because you asked, I do actually have a story I’m workshopping (and have been for some time) to do after this one.
In fact, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to do Blood Reverie or this other one. But I went ahead and pitched Blood Reverie because I thought it might be an easier sell. The other comic idea I have is also a fantasy romance but with a middle-eastern aesthetic. Hot kings, beautiful princesses, camels, horses, swords, kidnappings, secret identities… all the fun stuff. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to publish it after Blood Reverie concludes!
JR: What WEBTOON series are on your must-read list?
LL: Oof. I used to be such an avid comic reader. Now that I am a mom and a full-time comic artist, I barely have time to keep up with my dishes, let alone comics. But, yes, I do have a must-read list. The following are ones that I have read but not caught up on, and also comics that I want to read but haven’t had a chance to start: Eaternal Nocturnal, Midnight Poppy Land, SubZero, and When Jasy Whistles. There are so many more good ones out there, I know, but maybe one day I’ll have the time to go on a reading rampage and consume a ton.
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