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Safehouse Inc.

A Powerhouse of Boundless Cross-genre Imagination

 

2021.05.03

 

Established under the slogan of being “A safe house for good stories,” publisher Safehouse is one of the publishers specializing in genre fiction in Korea. Living up to the slogan, the publisher works as a “safe house” for creators and stories so that stories about various topics that had been in the shadow can gain attention. Following is an interview with publisher Safehouse, a home to boundless imagination going across genres and media, collaborating with webtoon and video companies that need stories, particularly those that can be made into books.

 

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Logo of Safehouse Inc.

 

 

Please introduce Safehouse to overseas publishers.

 

Safehouse is a “producer of genre fiction stories” that plans and develops content for stories. Safehouse’s producers and creators cooperate from the planning stage of stories until the end. We pursue stories that have the potential to expand into various media such as films, videos, webtoons, and games, going beyond just being a text. Since 2019 when Safehouse fully began to jump into the story-producing business, we have published 21 titles, including original content (full-length stories), “shō-t” (short novel collections; “short” pronounced in Korean), and anthologies.
Recently, Safehouse is collaborating with partners from content platforms and movie/video producers in a bid to develop our stories in various formats. In the summer of 2020, Astronaut Joan and Augmented Infatuation were shown in “Cinematic Drama SF8 (http://program.imbc.com/sf8)” based on Safehouse stories and released as an original drama on wavve, an OTT service.

 

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Poster of cinematic drama “SF8”

 

 

What has been the secret that imprinted the name “Safehouse” onto readers’ hearts?

 

We have heard a lot of feedback from readers that they can “vividly imagine the story” as they read through our stories. We believe that our efforts of making the stories go “trans-media” from the planning stage helped readers who are used to videos immerse themselves into our stories and enjoy them.
Also, as various types of genre fiction such as SF (science fiction) have been getting more attention from readers since 2019, our stories could be much more beloved as well. Plus, many of our readers choose the different book sizes and designs of each series as a charm point of Safehouse’s works. We believe that they have recognized the efforts Safehouse and the producing partners have put into developing the most relevant form and style to best deliver the stories.

 

What is the standard or value Safehouse pursues when it comes to choosing authors or works?

 

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Safehouse makes stories “together” with the creators. Therefore, we know the value of cooperation in the course of creating a story and thus try to produce works with authors that are open to collaboration. And Safehouse is working with numerous other media to add wings to our stories and transform them into various other formats, going beyond a mere novel. If you are a creator that takes such an attempt as a new opportunity, please feel free to knock on our door.

 

Why does Safehouse publish genre fiction, and what is the charm point of it?

 

Let’s think of works that have an original novel or webtoon among the TV dramas, movies, or original content serviced on OTT that have been greatly loved by people. Many of them can be classified as SF, crime/mystery, and fantasy. In particular, they have more than 2 genres combined at once, such as a zombie catastrophe taking place in the Joseon Dynasty and romantic fantasy.
The “good stories” that Safehouse is looking for are stories that gain greater power as they sail into bigger markets through various media. Such stories have a captivating world view, distinctive characters, compact and full storylines, and topics that light a fire in the minds of contemporary readers. We think it is the charm point of genre fiction that they can draw much greater fun out of the stories through unique characteristics and meet the conditions of being “good stories.”

 

 

The “good stories” that Safehouse is looking for are stories
that gain greater power as they sail into bigger markets through various media.

 

 

What would you suggest to readers to better enjoy your books?

 

One way to have greater joy would be to compare the original story with a webtoon or movie that was made out of it.
Five works serialized on RIDI Book’s “Chekkutoon” (“Chekkut” + “Toon”, “Chekkut” refers to “dogear” in Korean, while “Toon” is the shortened term for “webtoon”) are based on the following original titles: Kim Hyo-In’s Astronaut Joan, Shim Neoul’s Press Jump to End the World and Shells, Peom Yu-Jin’s The Great Selection, and Kim Min-Hye’s Insta Girl. You can read them in English on “Manta (https://manta.net/),” a webtoon platform.

 

Please recommend some of Safehouse’s books to our readers.

 

1. Cho Ye-Eun’s Cocktail, Love, Zombi
This is a short story collection by writer Cho Ye-Eun published in April 2019. She left a comment that she hopes the readers relate the stories to their ordinary daily life, even though the topic of “zombi” might not be that ordinary. The book Cocktail, Love, Zombi is about a family whose dad became a zombie, a woman whose face people do not remember, a forest swamp with pouring rain, and three people’s experiences of time travel. Each of the stories adds up to an entire storyline, intertwined delicately, depicted in various atmospheres such as fantasy, horror, and thriller. It has released its fifth print so far with steady interest from readers during the past year.

2. Lee Kyung-Hee’s Time to save you
Writer Lee Kyung-Hee’s Time to save you was the first original (full-length novel) published by Safehouse in 2021. The book is a time-leap SF novel about a protagonist who gets the opportunity to travel through time to the past and save her mother. Journalist Lee Da-Hye of Cine 21 wrote, “The book will make you breathless as if you have just sprinted” in her recommendation. As Time to save you is under the spotlight in the video/film industry, it is highly anticipated that the book will be made into a video in the near future.

3. Siaran’s Doomsday Afterworld
Doomsday Afterworld is a full-length novel that started as a short novel that won a story contest hosted by Safehouse in the winter of 2018. The story begins as 99.9% of humanity dies all of a sudden due to the abrupt explosion of a supernova. The dead souls pour into the underworld, and the devastating situation has come to the point that the underworld will also disappear if there’s no one in the middle-earth that remembers it. Here, Siyoung, the chief secretary of the King “Yeomra” (king of the underworld) Department in the Korean Peninsular sector, strives to get the catastrophe under control.
Also, Doomsday Afterworld is the first novel presented on “Kakaopage Original (https://page.kakao.com/home?seriesId=56813908).” You can only read it here, so don’t miss it.

 

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Cocktail, Love, Zombi, Time to save you, Doomsday Afterworld

 

Please introduce readers to your forthcoming titles.

 

In 2021, Lee Kyung-Hee’s Time to save you and Seol Jae-In’s A Punch Indeed were published. The book A Punch Indeed is the seventh “shō-t (short)” series from Safehouse, which includes three stories where the protagonists throw strong punches at the condemnation and offense they receive from their mentors, families, and the world. It is particularly welcomed and supported by contemporary female readers.
Also, we are planning to release the next full-length novel by writer Cheon Seon-Ran as the eighth Safehouse original and anthology New Love, which is a collection of five short novels discovered at a story contest co-hosted with Megabox PlusM.

 

 

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A Punch Indeed

 

How do you choose works at the Story Contest?

 

We stick to two big yardsticks when it comes to choosing works at the contest.First is whether the book is appropriate to be published in one of our anthology series. For instance, we look at whether the storyline and the characters are attractive enough as a complete short novel; if it is easy to read through once, and talks about a unique, creative topic. Secondly, the story has to be appropriate to be made into a video. The ongoing contest is co-hosted by Megabox PlusM, where it actively reviews whether the award winners can be produced as a video. So, during the screening process, we look at whether the work has the potential to be made into a video, its probability, and its attractiveness to the public when it is actually released as a video.

 

 

Safehouse pursues stories that have the potential to expand into various media.

 

 

What are Magazine Safehouse and Monthly Safehouse posted on the website?

 

First of all, Magazine Safehouse consists of little posts written in different styles by our staff, partner members, and contributors from outside, such as stories, content reviews, or writings of a specific genre. There is also a review section where people watch a movie or a TV drama as soon as it is released and write reviews. You can also find content where we dig more into genres that were the topics of Safehouse’s story contest, such as cozy mystery, romance thriller, and home invasion.
Meanwhile, Monthly Safehouse consists of those stories written by the Safehouse members once a month. Beginning in August 2017, now there are quite a few posts stacked up. In the early editions of Monthly Safehouse, we wrote our monthly schedule and sometimes wrote essays about a random topic. Now we set a topic related to content every month (the topic of the March edition was “content that comes to your mind when you think of spring”). We think that Monthly Safehouse is a magazine where you can take a sneak peek at the perspectives and ideas of our members toward “story.” So each of us candidly shares ideas on content that we want to discuss.

 

What are your future plans?

 

Due to the pandemic that broke out early last year, the industry and the landscapes surrounding how people consume content such as movies, TV dramas, webtoons, as well as books, have greatly transformed. Safehouse believes that a content’s core lies in “fun stories” that do not change no matter how the consumption pattern changes.
Safehouse will continue to strive to become a “safe house” for more stories and creators and think about how we can make more stories with more creators. We ask for your support and interest as our stories spread out into other fields such as movies, TV dramas, and webtoons, not to mention the overseas markets.

 

 

Website  https://safehouse.kr
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/safehousekorea
Twitter  https://twitter.com/SafeHouse_kr
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/safehouse.kr/

 


Organized by Lee Ji-Hyeon

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