Hey y’all! We’ve got Jax Cassidy carrying the APAHM banner today! 🙂 I hope you’ll read on!
Hi, I’m contemporary author Jax Cassidy and I’m SO excited that Limecello asked me to participate this month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). It’s such an important month because it’s about celebrating Asian culture and heritage. I’m also equally stoked to be able to share with you some things I’ve been researching, on and off, for about a decade now.
Long before I was a romance author, I worked in all aspects of the movie industry, including writing screenplays. You’d think I would be sick of long days and reading stacks of other writer’s movie scripts…I wasn’t. In fact, I envisioned writing my own epic historical feature film someday. I’m embarrassed to admit that I never finished the screenplay. Recently, I stumbled upon the unfinished script while I was archiving old files. I re-read what I’d written and I was inspired again.
Just. Like. That.
I started plotting and researching—which only led me to do more research and falling in love with all the rich historical details and yumminess all over again. Okay, whether I turn my notes and outlines into a novel or a screenplay, this is something that’s on my bucket list. This is something I will eventually finish.
Being a total research geek, the more I learned, the prouder I was to be Vietnamese-American. It’s only natural for me to want to write about my own country’s historical figures… particularly kickass women warriors from Vietnam like the Trung Sisters, legendary Co-Empresses.
Research is a lot of fun, yet it can also be frustrating. There’s too much information available on the internet these days, so there’s definitely a lot of conflicting details as well. We all know how Hollywood loves embellishing their screenplays—which is a good thing for me—so after plenty of sleepless nights, I ended up gathering similar facts and incorporating them into my screenplay. My focus was on two sisters, Trung Trac & Trung Nhi during their reign in 40AD. Without them, Vietnam probably wouldn’t have existed.
The legend describes the two sisters as daughters of a respectable scholar who served an ailing young King. He was well loved by everyone in the kingdom due to his reputation as a fair and kind official. Since he didn’t have sons, he allowed them an education that was normally meant for heirs. This included strategy, politics, and martial arts. Around 39AD, the Chinese Han Dynasty tightened their oppression on what would be considered Northern Vietnam.
Trung Trac, the older sibling, fell in love and married a man named Thi Sach. Their union was short lived when Thi Sach was opposed to the high taxes and rebelled. To regain control over the Vietnamese, the Chinese commander murdered Thi Sach and raped Trung Trac to incite fear among the people. This plan backfired. This only infuriated the sisters and motivated them to take action to avenge Thi Sach’s death and oppose the Han Dynasty’s oppressive rule.
The Trung sisters rallied and raised an army of 80,000 soldiers—mostly women. 36 were appointed generals, including their mother. The women rode into battle on elephants and after several months, they managed to overpower and seize control of approximately 65 citadels under Chinese control. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were crowned the first Co-Empresses.
During their three year reign, the sister’s abolished the Chinese taxes and Vietnam’s traditional values were restored in the Kingdom while the Han Dynasty regrouped. When their forces were strong enough, they attacked in 43AD. The women were outnumbered and surrounded by Han soldiers. Rather than accept defeat, instead of being captured and executed, the Trung Sisters committed suicide by riding their horses off the cliff to retain their honor.
The sister’s deaths, by sacrificing their lives, were just the fuel that inspired the people to retaliate, fight back to regain their country. To this day, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi are revered as heroes. Temples and statues were created, and annual festivities are organized in their honor. These women are still remembered as honorable and courageous warriors, dedicated in preserving the Vietnamese culture.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings. She writes contemporary romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, an award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent. She is represented by Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.
Website. Facebook. Twitter: @jaxcassidy, Instagram: jaxcassidy
*Just a few websites dedicated to the historical figures mentioned in this article. Images used are also credited below.
Badass Female Warriors
The Trung sisters: Source 1, Source 2, Source 3
Wasn’t that interesting? Did you know about this aspect of Vietnamese history before this post? Let us know, and one lucky individual will win an ebook copy of Wanderlove as well as a $5 gift card to either Amazon or B&N!