Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin captured the hearts of literally millions on story-telling site Wattpad. Now, Sourcebooks is bringing it to the shelves IRL, and is sure to gain a whole new fan base.
Isabelle Ronin, a Filipinio Canadian writer based in Winnipeg, wrote Chasing Red on popular story-telling website Wattpad, a free community where users share stories across all genres. Ronin discovered Wattpad after deciding to begin sharing her stories online. “I found out about Wattpad because I had all these stories on my laptop and I thought there must be some way I can share [them]” she says. “It changed my life…It’s a great way for writers and readers to interact.”
Image Courtesy of Amazon
Ronin’s work has gained a larger readership than most authors achieve in their entire lives. ‘Chasing Red’ has been read over 156 million times, with Wattpad users reading it for an accumulated time of 164 years. Approximately one million people read Ronin’s work each week, making it one of the most popular Wattpad projects of all time.
Ronin’s Goodreads account states that ‘as a result of ‘Chasing Red’s immense popularity online, several major publishers around the world have acquired the rights’ to the book, which will be published in two volumes. Ronin announced the publication of ‘Chasing Red’ on her Instagram on Valentines Day. ‘Chasing Red’ comes out September 5th, followed by ‘Always Red ‘ on November 7th.
Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!❤ Today was the exact day last year when I posted the last Chapter of Chasing Red on Wattpad. And I’m SO excited to tell you that OMG CHASING RED IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED by @sourcebookscasa ??? It’s been so hard keeping this news to myself and I’m so happy to finally share this with you! Yay! Please know that it’s all thanks to you –your astounding support and love– that’s got me where I am now. I will always remember it. And I hope to give you more stories, more characters that you’ll fall in love with in the future. Check out the link in my profile for the blogpost!
A post shared by Isabelle Ronin (@isabelleronin) on
The blurb for the hit book reads:
He had everything―wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything. The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away. For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have. The unforgettable stranger he dubs ‘Red.’
Publishers Weekly commented that “the romance is well developed, and readers will swoon over Caleb, who’s a spirited and fun-loving optimist.”
Ronin was born and raised in the Philippines, moving to Canada when she was twenty. Her family were very traditional, and she was therefore raised with traditional expectations- to graduate college, get married and start a family. She says that this was her dream too, but things simply did not work out that way. She found herself jumping from one thing to the next, looking for something about which she felt passionate. Writing was the one pursuit to which she repeatedly returned. Once she pursued it, she says, it was magic.
She credits popular various Filipino and Korean TV series as her primary source of inspiration. She recalls sitting with her family in the evenings watching shows back to back. “That was the start for me,” she says. “I started making up stories in my head long before I started writing them. I always loved the bad boy and good girl love story, with movies, drama shows, books. It was natural for me to write about Caleb and Veronica.” She also sees a lot of herself in Veronica, saying “I was very much like her.”
Image Courtesy of Isabelle Ronin
‘Chasing Red’ took nearly two years to complete, with Ronin working in her bedroom, in book stores and at the beach. Often Ronin would become so involved with her writing that she felt like she was in a trance. “I couldn’t get out of it, I was in that world, missing classes to finish chapters…Writing their break up gave me the best and worst kind of pain. I could see them so clearly in my mind as if they were in front of me… I had to stop writing for a minute to get my life together.”
Ronin says that ‘Chasing Red’s success has inspired her to keep dreaming big. “Half of me dreamt big things like becoming a full-time writer… and the other half lectured me to get my head out of the clouds. But some of the big dreams came true!…I thought about giving up so many times but there was always this belief inside me that there was something special if I just kept going. And so I did. And I found it.”
Image Courtesy of Isabelle Ronin
“When I started posting my story, I was very intimidated by the stories that had millions and millions of reads. I doubted anyone would even want to read mine. But I realized that I wasn’t there to get millions of reads. I was there to share that part of my heart I tried to express with words.” She implores aspiring writers not to worry about whether or not people will like their work. “Just start writing! Don’t give up before you have started. Remember that the first step is always the hardest. You can do this! Write from the heart. People always pick up on that and once they do, they will love your story too.”
When asked about her readers on Wattpad, Ronin gushed “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Wattpad readers. I am and always will be grateful for their endless encouragement, love, and support. They believed in me even before I believed in myself. Knowing that they were waiting for the next chapter, that they loved my characters the same way I did, reading their messages… it was food for my soul… [and] led me to finish Chasing Red.”
The beach where much of ‘Chasing Red’ was written / Image Courtesy of Isabelle Ronin
Ronin’s writing has spoken to so many, and she therefore receives countless messages from fans, but cites one in particular as an example of why the online community has become so important to her. “This sweet girl messaged me and said that she always felt like she was a supporting character. Reading my story made her feel that she could be the main character too. It gave her courage and it inspired her. I could’ve never imagined that my story would have that effect on others! It felt very rewarding and it made me very happy.”
Ronin intends to finish her other Wattpad works, ‘The Boy who Broke the Rules,’ and ‘Spitfire in Love,’ however once they are completed she says she can see herself returning to the world of ‘Chasing Red.’ “Maybe in the future I could write more about Caleb and Veronica… I would like to give my readers more stories that will capture their hearts,” she says. “I want to give them the very best version of me as a writer and friend through my stories so I’ll keep working hard.”
‘Chasing Red’ is not the first online novel to blow up and score a publishing deal. The most notable example is E.L. James’s ‘Fifty Shades …’ series, which to date has earned hundreds of millions of dollars between the books and the film adaptations.
Featured Image via Steven Universe Wiki