Tong Hua

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Tong Hua

Tong Hua (Chinese: 桐华) is a popular contemporary author who has been dubbed one of the “four young queens of Chinese romance novels.” She is best known for her time-travel novel, “Startling by Each Step,” (Chinese: 步步惊心), which was adapted into a TV drama that received high ratings.

Born in 1982, Tong developed a strong enthusiasm for literature. She read whatever she could get, from the works of kung fu writer Gu Long to romance novelist Xi Juan and from Chinese classics “Dream of the Red Chamber” to Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

After graduating from Peking University, Tong became a financial analyst for the Bank of China in Shenzhen. She then moved to California for a master’s degree in finance and economy in 2005.

the Still of "Startling by Each Step"

A year later, she rose to prominence when her first novel, “Startled by Each Step I,” was published in China. The story focuses on a white-collar worker, Zhang Xiaowen, who accidentally travels back in time to the early Qing Dynasty when she fell while changing a light bulb. There, as a Manchurian princess, she becomes caught up in a power struggle among a number of competing sons of theEmperor Kangxi. Knowing how history played out, Zhang tries to change outcomes for the better but ultimately fails.

Her other works include “The Ballad for Desert,” “The Song in the Wind,” “Secrets Hidden by Time,” “The Time Never Back” and “Used to Promise.” Her romance novels have received positive reviews from female editors and columnists. “The protagonists created by Tong are always in pursuit of independence in career and equality in love. Their values cater for the psychological demand of women living in today’s society,” said Zhang Jing, senior editor of fashion magazine Ray Li.

Tong now lives in New York.