Did you always know you wanted to write?
Yes, even as an elementary kid banging away on my father’s typewriter. Throughout school, I found ways to polish my craft as an editor. I also witnessed my mother caring day and night for my sick grandmother during that time; she needed more help, but there was a lack of qualified professionals. Though I continued writing, I felt a desire to make a difference with this under-served population and pursued geriatric social work. My life experiences inspired me, helping me create and shape the stories of my heart.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Jamie Ford: He wrote a beautiful love story in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet featuring a Japanese girl and a Chinese boy set in the WWII era. The cultural clash he portrayed planted a seedling for The 228 Legacy in showing Chinese-Taiwanese tensions. Besides which, he’s an all-around nice guy in person.
Kazuo Ishiguro: Everything the man writes is so profound. He can switch from a book about English butlers to one about human clones while remaining lyrical.
Jean Kwok: I’m inspired by her personal story of working in the garment industry as a sweatshop laborer and then transforming her experience into a captivating story.
Lisa See: A friend recommended Snow Flower and the Secret Fan to me. The amount of sweeping research that Lisa See undertakes with all her books continues to awe and challenge me.
Amy Tan: What list would be complete without this role model? She paved the way for Asian-American writers and helped me understand my heritage at the same time.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Jennifer Weiner once gave me sage advice: Be prepared for criticism. To that I say, persevere and revise. Keep on writing and submitting even when you don’t see results because someone will understand your voice.
What are you working on now?
I am continuing with my cozy mystery series and working on another crossgenerational Asian American story.
Where can I find some of your shorter stories?
“Gratitude” and “Hey, Beautiful,” Hyphen Magazine, July 2015
“The Delicate Lotus,” Yay! LA Magazine, March 2015
“The Red Book,” Mouse Tales Press, April 2013
“Look Again,” Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, March 2013; also selected for print anthology of the best submissions from 2012-2013
“All That Glitters,” IdeaGems Magazine, December 2012