Real name: Zhu Hong Zhi (朱洪志)
Flagship work: Coiling Dragon
Born in 1987
Born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China
I Eat Tomatoes was originally a math major in Soochow University when he began writing. After two years, he published his first 6 million character long web novel. In his third year, he quit school to become a full-time author. At that time, he had already published more than 20 million characters worth of novels. On November 26, 2012, he ranked 2nd on China’s Rich Internet Authors Ranking with an annual income of 21 million yuan in royalties, which drew the attention of everyone.
Since childhood, IET has been fond of wuxia novels. He was deeply fascinated with the works and wuxia type worlds of Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Wo Long. The first wuxia novel he read was Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber by Jin Yong. He had spent a whole day and night reading it, as if possessed by a devil.
In high school, IET used Li Xunhuan, his favorite character from Gu Long’s wuxia novel, Xiaoli Feidao, as a model for his own novel, The Legend of Xingfeng. Xiao Li Flying Dagger never missed its target. When it flew, demons would be scared! How imposing was this?
After entering university, he had a lot more free time, and his dreams of wuxia were unceasingly expanding. He felt as if he was on the verge of erupting. Thus, with Xiaoli Feidao as his theme, Inch of Radiance was born. Afterward, Stellar Transformations, Coiling Dragon, The Nine Cauldrons, Swallowed Star, and Desolate Era were written.
Numerous people read them, and he is one of the few authors who was at the top of the Qidian rankings from the very beginning. His name could be found at the very top of the rankings numerous times. Moreover, once he had finished Stellar Transformations and Coiling Dragon, countless sequel fanfictions emerged. Due to these countless fanfictions, a great number of lawsuits were also filed. The netizens began to spread a phrase “Don’t read Stellar Transformations, it is to call on bookworms in vain.”1 He truly embodies the title of “Net Culture King” and is unshakeable in his position. He was nicknamed “Tomato” by his readers and began addressing himself as “Tomato” too.
Zhu Hong Zhi’s second novel, Inch of Radiance, reached the top of Baidu’s novel rankings that year and was the most popular novel in its year. Moreover, he has already written six novels that have climbed their way to the top of Baidu’s novel rankings. He is the internet author with the most works in the top rankings of Baidu’s novel rankings.
IET has already finished writing Desolate Era. On June 15th, 2015, he started his newest novel, Lord Xue Ying!
On May 1st, 2011, he married fellow internet author, Jiu Sui He (九穗禾), who is most known for her novel, Married to a Vampire. They have one boy.
Tomato has developed his own writing style. The heros of his stories are all very similar, which can be seen as a cornerstone of his. In addition to his fame as a web author, his novels are also infused with his own distinguishing characteristics. In comparison to Tang Jia San Shao, his portrayal of people, especially females, cannot be considered delicate. He is, however, an expert in the ‘fast food’ style of writing.
Although he might not meet the reader’s expectations all the time, he is still exceptionally professional. Tomato’s novels develop very quickly, making his readers both love and hate him. They love him because they can see the hero grow strong quickly, but they hate him because he overlooks much of the plot’s details. Tomato can also be considered a very fast author, having already written eight novels.
On November 26th, 2012, he ranked second on China’s Rich Internet Authors Ranking with an annual royalty income of 21 million yuan.
“I have been fond of wuxia novels since I was a child, and I also loved writing, but I never would have thought that I would be able to support my family as an internet author.”
Zhu Hong Zhi’s words rushed into the world of internet literature, unleashing a wave of cultural industry. He had dropped out of university to become an internet author.
In 2008, Stellar Transformations was adapted into an online game which has already closed.
In 2009, Coiling Dragon was adapted into an online game which has already ended.
The rights to adapt Stellar Transformations and Coiling Dragon were bought by Shanda Games for 1 million yuan and 3.1 million yuan respectively.
Stellar Transformations was the first web novel to enter the top ten of Baidu’s top fifty searched list. Coiling Dragon was the first web novel to reach the top spot of Baidu’s top fifty searched list.
On July 28th, 2009, I Eat Tomatoes uploaded his new novel, The Nine Cauldrons. At that time, Qidian advertised it as “Net Literature of a King”.
November 12th, 2009, was the eve of the Stellar Transformations movie announcement.
On May 24th, 2010, Shanda Literature announced that The Nine Cauldrons was being adapted into a web game.
On July 28th, 2010, the sci-fi novel, Swallowed Star, was released on Qidian.
On September 29th, 2011, the manhua for The Nine Cauldrons was officially printed as a volume.
On December 16th, 2012, Desolate Era was released on Qidian.
On June 15th, 2015, the qihuan (western fantasy) novel, Lord Xue Ying, began its serialization on Qidian.
I Eat Tomatoes’ second novel, Inch of Radiance, broke the subscription record of the time. Afterward, Stellar Transformations rose up and broke the collection, hits, and subscription records of the time. Moreover, the most important record, the subscription record, had been broken with total numbers approaching 40,000. When Coiling Dragon came along, it broke the records set by Stellar Transformations and surpassed 40,000 subscriptions. The Nine Cauldrons once again broke some of Coiling Dragon’s records. Right as everyone thought that I Eat Tomatoes would slow down, Swallowed Star debuted, breaking four important records—an unprecedented feat.
The first part is finished, and the second part is starting. Two worlds of immortals, demons, and the boundless universe. This decides the tone of the second part!
In the second part, winds rise, storms surge, enormous might, Immortal Cores, Spiritual Beasts, Holy Land of Cultivation, a realm of despair in the world… everything is possible there! Immortal Emperors, Demonic Gods… There are countless experts!
A flying dagger arrives, an inch of radiance appears; the Overlord has passed on a successor to the people of modern times! Flying dagger! A new type of cultivation path through flying daggers!
The story revolves around a uniquely skilled “Xiao Li Flying Dagger” youth. Because his meridians were ordinary, he could not achieve greatness through internal cultivation.
Later, however, he was able to obtain a Dan medicine; a refined pellet that enables a person to shed one’s mortal body and exchange one’s bones—“Essence Cleansing Dan!”
In a galaxy far away, there is a kid without the innate ability to practice internal techniques.
So, in order to gain the respect of his father, he resolutely chooses to follow the more difficult and painful path of practicing external techniques.
As the years go by, he grows up, but what really changes his life is a mysterious meteoric crystal stone—the Meteoric Tear. This stone fuses with the young man’s body unnoticed, and he undergoes drastic transformations as a result.
After that, everything changes. Eventually, his father knows that the son for whom he hasn’t really shown a lot of consideration possesses astonishing abilities. And there’s still a lot more to come.
Empires rise and fall on the Yulan Continent. Saints, immortal beings of unimaginable power, battle using spells and swords, leaving swathes of destruction in their wake. Magical beasts rule the mountains where the brave – or the foolish – go to test their strength. Even the mighty can fall, feasted on by those stronger. The strong live like royalty; the weak strive to survive another day.
This is the world into which Linley is born. Raised in the small town of Wushan, Linley is a scion of the Baruch clan, the clan of the once-legendary Dragonblood Warriors. Their fame had shook the world, but the clan is now so decrepit that even the heirlooms of the clan have been sold off. Tasked with reclaiming the lost glory of his clan, Linley will go through countless trials and tribulations, making powerful friends but also deadly enemies.
Come witness a new legend in the making. The legend of Linley Baruch.
Emperor Zi Yu used 5 strikes of his axe to split mountains and unify everyone under the heavens. He partitioned the land into 9 areas, thus establishing the Nine Cauldrons which would eventually become known as the 9 prefectures.
When Emperor Zi Yu died, disputes unceasingly arose.
One thousand years later, a once in a generation genius, Celestial Emperor Qing Ling was born. Able to split a one hundred meter river, equipped with peerless martial prowess, he finally united the lands under the heavens. However, once Celestial Emperor Qing Ling died, chaos once again shrouded the land. Another one thousand years have passed, and no one was able to consolidate the nation.
From contemporary society, great Chinese Martial Artist Teng Qingshan unexpectedly arrives into this world.
Year 2056, in a city in the Yuan Jiang Su Jin area.
On top of a ruined, shattered, six story residential apartment sits a teenager wearing a combat vest, militaristic trousers, and alloyed battle boots. On his back is a hexagonal shield, and he is equipped with a blood-shadow battle knife.
He sits there, silently, on the edge of the roof. At this time, the sparkling sky shines, and there is a refreshing breath within the air that blows toward him. Yet, there is only silence within the ruined, deserted city, with an occasional howl that makes your heart skip a beat.
Fate had never been kind to Ji Ning. Wracked by illnesses and an infirm his entire life on Earth, Ning knew early on that he would die as a teenager. What he didn’t know was that there really was such a thing as life after death, and that the universe was a far larger place than he thought. A lucky twist of fate (one of the few in Ning’s life) meant that Ning was reborn into a world of Immortals and monsters, of Ki Refiners and powerful Fiendgods, a world where Dynasties lasted for millions of years.
A world which is both greater, yet also smaller than he ever could imagine.
He would have the opportunity to join them. In this life, Ning swore to himself that he would never let himself be weak again! The Era he was born into was a Desolate one, but Ning would make it his era.
In the Tranquil Sun province of the empire, there exists an unremarkable lordship known as Xue Ying Territory! This is the home of the Dong Bo clan, the clan of our hero, Xue Ying!
His father, a commoner turned noble; his mother, a noble who abandoned her clan for love; and his brother, an innocent toddler.
But peace cannot last forever, and Xue Ying’s peaceful life is shattered. The only way to reclaim it is through power!
Personal Recommendation: Lord Xue Ying
Having read most of IET’s novels, I have to say that Lord Xue Ying is definitely my favorite.
The main character, Xue Ying, does not have any cheat items or skills like the main characters of IET’s other novels. Instead, he simply loves the spear and cultivates in order to bring it to perfection. He has a good personality that I think many will like. He’s logical and hard working; he doesn’t hold unreasonable grudges and isn’t looking to become strong, but to perfect his spear. And did I mention, he’s way cooler cause he uses a spear instead of the generic sword?
IET has also used many familiar patterns from his previous novels in Lord Xue Ying, but just when you think it’s going to go the same way as before, he’ll throw in a twist and blow your mind away. Seriously, the plot is amazing. IET has also done something that I have never seen in other novels before, and damn, it was very exciting.
In conclusion, Lord Xue Ying has many familiar elements from IET’s previous novels that we are fans of, but he takes it another step further in this novel with many exciting twists and new ideas.
Lord Xue Ying has been adapted into a web ARPG with I Eat Tomatoes’ authorization. Today, we are fortunate enough to have been able to invite the author of Lord Xue Ying, I Eat Tomatoes, to do an interview. He is here to chat with us about his newest story, Lord Xue Ying.
Author of Lord Xue Ying: I Eat Tomatoes
Interviewer: How did you become an internet author? Do you have any advice to give to new internet authors?
I Eat Tomatoes: I have liked novels since I was a child. Even in elementary school, I would carry around a thick wuxia novel. Whenever I read a novel, it was as if time had stopped. After a while, I began to feel that these novels were lacking in some way, and I began to feel the urge to write my own novel. Yet I never had the spare time to write it until I was in university. In my first year, I began writing my first novel, Legend of Xing Feng. Afterwards, I continued to write Inch of Radiance, Stellar Transformations, Coiling Dragon, The Nine Cauldrons, Swallowed Star, Desolate Era, and now, Lord Xue Ying…
My only advice for new authors is to start writing early. This is because the competition in the internet author industry is very intense, and if they do manage to write a big hit, then there is a chance to go full-time.
Interviewer: How do you remain inspired while writing? What sorts of things have you come to learn and appreciate?
I Eat Tomatoes: Haha. I just relax my mind and imagine the world of the novel. I am free to do what I want in the novel’s world, and I can imagine whatever sort of plot I want. After imagining it, I carefully go over it and check the logic behind it. This is how I form my plot.
Interviewer: Which work are you the most satisfied with? Which character are you the most pleased with?
I Eat Tomatoes: That’s a really hard question to answer. This is because every single novel represents a different dream that I was infatuated with. As for the character, many of them have brought me to tears, like Lord Xue Ying’s Dong Bo Xue Ying, Desolate Era’s Ji Ning, or Swallowed Star’s Luo Feng… There’s also Teng Qing Shan, Linley, Qin Yu, Li Yang, and Zhang Xing Feng. They all came from the depths of my heart, and I can’t help but like them. It really is hard to rank them.
About Lord Xue Ying
Interviewer: Can you tell us a little bit about what’s coming up next in the story of Lord Xue Ying?
I Eat Tomatoes: Lord Xue Ying’s plot is going to become more and more wonderful. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a spoiler and can only tell everyone to keep supporting it. Hehe. Actually, if you examine the story closely, there is already some hidden foreshadowing.
Omitted: Questions about Lord Xue Ying game development.
Interviewer: What sort of plan do you have for you future works?
I Eat Tomatoes: Right now I plan on focusing all of my energy on writing Lord Xue Ying. The world of Lord Xue Ying is incredibly vast, and I want to gradually reveal more and more of it.
Interviewer: Lord Xue Ying is a well known novel IP; do you have any plans to follow up with this IP?
I Eat Tomatoes: I am still exploring the IP strategy for Lord Xue Ying. It already has a game and manhua. Maybe in the future, there will be a drama or film. I hope everyone will stay-tuned and see what happens later on.
Interviewer: Do you think that those born after 95 or 00 will become the main audience of this work? With the new generation, do you also have new targets and ways of thinking?
I Eat Tomatoes: I believe that as time goes on, both those after 95 and 00 will become a major part of the readership. In any case, writing a novel is a very personal matter, so I will use my heart to write a wonderful novel. If it caters too much to the reader, then the effect would be opposite of what I desire. After all, when describing the world in one’s heart, one must be sincere.
Disclaimer: The majority of the info was from third party sources and may not be entirely accurate.
- Unconfirmed. ↩