In Conversation with Thai BL Author GrandPine

We were blessed with the opportunity to interview author Grandpine, whose popular novel “La Cuisine เมนูลับฉบับแก้มยุ้ย” was recently adapted into a TV Series.

We were pleasantly surprised with her poignant mindset and thought provoking answers. Join us as we strike a conversation with GrandPine and dig deeper into the information pertaining to her works and upcoming book releases!

1) Congratulations on the successful run of your first BL adaptation “La Cuisine The Series”. How does it feel to see your work being recreated into a series?

Thank you very much. It was like my dream came true. To be honest, I believe that almost every novelist expects and needs their novels to be chosen and remade into a series. I consider myself to be a very lucky novelist. Among many BL novels which were published through publishers and platforms, the producer chose my novel from the bookshelf. Plus, as you may know, La Cuisine is my first novel, so I feet happy, proud, and want to thank everyone who has always supported and encouraged me. Above all, it is my honor that my beloved novel has been adapted into a series and that it has brought joy to the audiences.

2) The main protagonist, Ram is quite headstrong, loyal and reserved. What did you have in mind when you wrote about this character?

When I designed Ram’s character in line with the theme of the novel, the first sentence that popped into my head was: “Nobody in the world is completely perfect.” So, from the outside, Ram’s character looks flawlessly perfect, he is born into a rich family and has a smart and handsome appearance. But in fact, he has a secret. A secret that only family and close friends know- that Ram is a picky eater, which is consistent with the concept of the novel. Let’s talk about the name of the character. Ram’s real name is Ramil. (pronounced ramin) means cupid (that gave Ram’s fandom name the house of Cupid). I purposely designed Ram’s image in a way that he looks untouchable. But in reality, he is just an ordinary youth who is only seeking someone who could understand and accept everything about him.

3) The other protagonist, Lupchuk is a sweet and shy person. How did you visualize this character?

Firstly, because I wanted to make this character feel sweet, delicate and simple but also charming. So I decided to choose a name which has a meaning that matches that personality.

Secondly, the story and relationships related to this character in the novel are all depicted through food and cooking. So I had the intention of naming this character with something related to food.

Thirdly, I tried to find the names of Thai food and desserts that have the meaning or appearance which I had imagined. As you may have heard before, Thailand was once known as the kitchen of the world. Thus, there are many names of dishes and desserts. I pondered until I found the one I was looking for- a type of dessert made from mung bean paste. Shape them by hand into cute shapes like fruits or flowers, then brightly paint them before coating them with gelatin. This dessert has a delicious sweet taste and soft texture. Its name is “Lookchoub”. I really love this dessert and thought that it would be the perfect choice. Finally, I settled on this name for the character without a doubt.

4) How did you feel watching the audience’s reaction to “La Cuisine”? Were actors Pop Pataraphol and Mick Monthon able to recreate the characters as you imagined them?

I was very surprised by the reaction of both Thai and international audiences. I didn’t dare to think that it will be so well received. Because as you know, this is my first novel. In addition, the global entertainment industry has BL series from many countries to choose from. But when I saw the reaction from the audiences, I was very happy because the audience was emotionally attached to the characters and the series. Above all, it is a great pride and appreciation when I see international fans of the series trying to make Thai desserts as depicted in the series. For me, this is a soft power that can convey Thai culture to the world. And as the novelist, this is a great achievement.

As for the two actors, Pop and Mick, this series is their first work in the entertainment industry. So when the casting results were announced that these two had been cast as the lead roles, Ram and Lookchoub; both of them were preparing hard. They took acting classes from an acting coach and joined groups to build up closeness with other actors, in order to depict the friendship roles in the series more realistically. For Mick, who plays a culinary student, he went to a real chef to learn how to pose his body, hands, and how to handle kitchen utensils in a realistic manner. Through the efforts of the two, both Pop and Mick gave life to Ram and Lookchoub in the appropriate direction and in harmony with the novel. I am so grateful and honored that both of them have been cast in this role.

5) Were you involved in the casting process? What vision you had in your mind for the actors portraying Ram and Lupchuk?

I received an invitation from the producers to join the cast with the director and screenwriter. It was such a great honor for me. In my opinion, Ram and Lookchoub in the novel and in the series are quite different. The difference is that when I write a novel; I was able to design their characters, create their personalities, appearances, other things and stories in the novel to my imagination’s content. But when a novel is remade into a series, many things in the novel have to be adapted to suit the filming, not just the characters. On the casting day, numerous people attended the casting. We let them showcase their talents. The production team, which is the director, scriptwriter and acting coach, try to match those who seem to have good chemistry and tried to get them to play the roles. Throughout the casting process, the producer and screenwriter would always turn to ask for my opinions. We meticulously selected the person to play the protagonist Ram and Lookchoub. We had a lot of discussion until we unanimously decided that Pop would play Ram and Mick would play Lookchuob.

6) Could you tell us how negotiated for “La Cuisine” to become a drama series? How did you come into contact with the respective production house?

I signed the novel “La cuisine เมนูลับฉบับแก้มยุ้ย” with Hermit Publishing in August 2019. The novel was first released in December at the Winter Book Fest. 2020. The following year, in early February, I was contacted by an editor saying that a producer had contacted the publisher expressed interest in adapting La Cuisine into a series. Therefore, the publisher has to ask me for my opinion if I want the novel remade into a series or not. I pondered and thought this was a great opportunity of a lifetime and certainly an important step in the novelist’s journey as well. So I gave permission through the editors. After that, the publisher represented me in negotiating and considering the contract terms. After negotiating and getting a satisfactory result, I signed a contract to allow the novel La cuisine เมนูลับฉบับแก้มยุ้ย to be made into a series in March of the same year. In 2022, the La Cuisine series was released in Thailand and abroad.

7) I’m very intrigued with the premise of your novel “Please Doctor”? Talk to us about the storyline and characters? Will it be adapted into a drama series?

The novel ‘Please, doctor คุณหมอครับรับรักผมหน่อย’ is published with the same publisher as the novel La Cuisine. This novel is about love and the trust between couples who go hand in hand to overcome obstacles and solve problems in life. Although it sounds like a novel full of drama; but in fact, it is a novel that is happy with only a few plot twists. In this novel, the protagonist named Phat is a fifth-year medical student who studies well, is very talented and is the pride of his teachers. But because he devotes all his time to studying, Phat has never been in love and never had a relationship with anyone before. The other protagonist is KimHan, a 3rd year student in the Faculty of Engineering. He is the president of the students’ club of the Faculty of Engineering. He is famous at the university and has many friends. In summary, this novel is a combination of a love story and a university life that includes studying, activities and relationships between friends. For turning this novel into a series, if any producer or director is interested, I would be happy to negotiate and accept the opportunity. I’m certain that if this novel is remade into a series, it will bring happiness to the audience.

8) What do you think about the current status of LGBTQ representation in BL novels? Do you feel that the BL genre is adequately representing them?

In my opinion, the LGBTQ community depicted in the BL novels is just another form of love. When we talk about love; to me, love is a beautiful thing that is felt in the heart. Therefore, love should not be limited by gender. Love should be something that one can feel freely and without any barriers, unless it’s the wrong kind of love, like taking someone else’s lover, having an affair, or destroying someone else’s love or family. Nowadays, there are many BL novels, almost in all genres and many universes; as much as the writers could have imagined. In my opinion, the representation of LGBTQ stories through BL novels is still limited to the circle of people with a BL taste and preference. In today’s society that is more open and accepting of LGBTQ people, therefore, BL novels are becoming more diverse. So, as a novelist, I expect that the presentation of LGBTQ stories through novels is endless.

9) What is your opinion about Thailand’s same-sex civil partnership law?

In my opinion, I wholeheartedly support this law. Because we are all human beings. We are all taxed as citizens and not as genders. Therefore, the law should protect and give us our rights as citizens, as human beings, regardless of our gender. All human beings deserve equal rights.

10) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future BL novels?

I just signed a contract for the third novel with my publisher. This third novel is named ผีเสื้อซ่อนปีก – The butterfly hiding (its) wings. The publisher doesn’t have a release date yet, but hopefully it will be published soon. Currently, I am in the process of writing the 4th novel. For the future, I will keep writing, keep practicing and improving my skills. So please support me as a novelist and follow me on my twitter and Facebook fan page. With love and best wishes.

The BL Xpress would like to thank GrandPine for taking the time from her busy schedule to answer our questions!

Krishna’s Sidenote-

☆ We have some good news for avid fans of the “La Cuisine Series”. GrandPine’s editor has approved the publication of a spin-off story featuring the side couple, Sky & PhaiTong. Here’s hoping that we get an adaptation as well, because Aarch Tachit (Sky) & Boom Panathon (PhaiTong) definitely have oodles of chemistry!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s