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THE MONBEBE PROJECT

November 2019

Let me tell you this story. I promise, it's connected to our current struggles.


I fell in love with Super Junior and Shinee in 2009. I was 18 years old.


In 2010, I had saved enough money to take a break from college and visit Seoul, South Korea for a month. I didn't get to see any concerts, and as I struggled with anorexia and bulimia at the time, and had a lot of hate for myself, I didn't get to fully enjoy my time there. Yet, it remains one of my most cherished memories.


When I came back home, I kept an eye on the Kpop world, but had to focus on my studies and my goals. I was on hiatus, if you will.


During that break, the Kpop industry was shaken in many ways and found itself improved. The TVXQ and Super Junior cases led to shorter and fairer idol contracts. Entertainment companies are now also more scrutinized. BTS showed the world that you don't need to come from one of the big three (now big four ;) ) to be crazy successful. Things changed a lot.


Then, the news of Jonghyun's passing reached me even though I was virtually cut-off from anything Kpop at that time. Now, I didn't have any bias in Shinee, but I felt a close kinship with Jonghyun because we were both born in 1990. I am crying as I write this. I cry every time I think about him. I will never get over what happened. As a teen, I struggled a lot with self-image, and tried to end it too. I know now it was never the solution. I just think I know something of what he might have felt. And I can't accept that we can ever let another human down like this again.


Later, in October 2018, a friend showed me the League of Legends MV, K/DA. It reminded me of my love for Kpop, so I went back to check on all my faves. Turns out Taemin had a super successful solo. Super Junior was about to be finally whole with Kyuhyun's military duty coming to an end. Sungmin had left? 2PM was out of the picture. Miss A had disappeared. G-Dragon was going off to do his duty, so was Onew.


I discovered new groups while I went through everything that I had missed during my break. And the idea for this novel was born. Born from the frustration to see all these world beloved idols so lonely and isolated. Born from the anger that I have towards their entertainment companies who do not seem to always have their best interests at heart. And born from the realization that I would only achieve my dream to be an author by following the example of idols. I would have to sacrifice my little comforts, my sleep, my social life, all of my spare time, for a while so I could actually finish a project. So on November 8 2018, I started to write this novel, only to complete it on December 8 2018 at midnight. It was intense, but worth it.


As I was editing in February of 2019, I discovered Monsta X. I understood some of their pain and fears and anger while watching No Mercy. I particularly connected with Wonho who always seemed to think he wasn't good enough, who always gave his all to his members and his fans, but always felt short of deserving the love we gave him. I understood his desire to stay up all night producing a song for the sake of the others. And he gave me courage when I was losing hope with my own project.


Since July 1st, I have been querying literary agents left and right, but it seems they don't understand the meaning and the importance of my story's topic to the Kpop fans out there who see their idols built up then crushed down on a whim. They are beloved by so many, yet isolated by the harshness of the industry. On top of the fact that Kpop is virtually unknown to agents it seems, traditional publishing would mean potentially waiting years before being published. But the revolution is being fought now. That is why I chose to self-publish.


As I write this, Wonho's picture was just taken off the Monsta X official website. Monbebe have been trending on Twitter for 13 days in a row with countless different hashtags. We want an end to the power some individuals have to ruin innocent idols' careers on their word alone. We want justice and a chance for the 7 members of Monsta X to be reunited as the family we know them to be.


For that reason, I decided that 50% of all money I make from selling this novel would go to charity. I had the Shiny Foundation in mind at first, but discovered there is no way to directly donate to them. I will instead donate to various charities depending on how much I collect and what is happening in the world at that moment. I will keep you updated as to which charity on this blog each time I make a donation. Even if I only sell 10 copies, I will make sure that that 50% goes to a worthwhile charity.


I want us all to represent the love we want to see in the world. I want us to unite and share the good that idols inspire.


Until I die, this is a promise, this book will give back to the world to show that we stand together for fairness, love and hope.

K. Lemay

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