- What type of books do you write? If your novel involves the Hero discovering who committed a crime, then it's a mystery. If your Hero is a police officer and he/she is trying to figure out who committed a crime, then it's a Police Procedural Mystery. If your Hero fears that a crime is about to happen, a building will be blown up, a plague will be released, the President will be assassinated and the Hero is trying to stop that crime before it occurs, then it is a Thriller. Another kind of Thriller is the race-chase type of story where the Hero and the Villain are both trying to be the first recover some object -- a gem, a secret formula, an incriminating piece of evidence, etc.
- What is your latest or upcoming book about?
- What inspired you to write it?
- How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? Answering the second question, first, learn to write less. Just because you can visualize an entire scene does not mean that you should include every detail of that scene in your book. You may know that the waiter who delivered lunch to your Hero is wearing a red and blue striped tie but that doesn't mean that your readers want to know that. In point of fact, they don't and they will not appreciate your wasting their time telling them.
- Where do you see book publishing heading? The good thing about pre-ebook publishing was that there were editors and copy editors who filtered out people who just didn't have the craft, who didn't really know how to write fiction well. The bad thing was that the tyranny of limited shelf space and the old-boy network and the narrow tastes of entrenched editors kept many good, or potentially good, writers and books out of the market.
1. What type of books do you write? I am at my best when I write about Jersey dirtbags, Chinese and Taiwanese people, and dirtbag Chinese and Taiwanese people. So as you can see, I have a rather wide palette to work with! 'Waylaid' is a book about a kid growing up at a crappy Jersey short hotel who is trying to get laid in order to become a man. 'This Is a Bust,' 'Snakes Can't Run' and the new book out in May, 'One Red Bastard,' are mysteries set in 1976 in Manhattan's Chinatown and feature Robert Chow, a chump Chinese American cop who is transitioning into becoming a winner.
2. What is your latest or upcoming book about? 'One Red Bastard' finds Chow in the uncomfortable position of finding out who killed an envoy from the People's Republic of China. Right now
his reporter girlfriend Lonnie is the main suspect. Chow is even thinking of setting someone up to take the rap.
3. What inspired you to write it? The year 1976 is very interesting to me because there is a world-wide transition in the Chinese diaspora throughout the world. The men who led both sides of the Chinese civil war are dead and dying (Mao, Zhou Enlai, Chiang Kai-Shek) and there's an air of uncertainty in terms of who will lead going forward. The envoy in 'One Red Bastard' was
seeking asylum on behalf of Mao's daughter, who has become a bit of a pariah in the wake of Mao's death and her mother's arrest as a part of the Gang of Four. I know, I know, it sounds pretty heavy on the political front, but this book is rooted in the grubbiness of a New York City on the brink of bankruptcy and it is darkly funny in a Bukowski kinda way.
4. What did you do before you became an author? I still work full-time. I have been in financial journalism for almost two decades now. They say that everything an author experiences is future material for art and that's definitely true. For me, working and writing are the right and left sides of my brain and necessary for me to function.
5. How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? It's feels awesome and horrible! It's great to see your book in print, but seeing a one-star review on Goodreads makes you cringe. I'm not complaining. I want to feel it all. Like Homer Simpson says, "The highs, the lows and the creamy middles." My advice is, everybody says to read widely but you should also live widely. Do things that scare you. Take an improv class. Do open mikes. Ask out that man/woman you've admired from afar. The reactions you get may surprise you in a way that you can convert and delight your readers.
6. Where do you see book publishing heading? I see something happening along the lines of the music industry. There will be ereaders vs. print books in the same way as digital music vs.
vinyl. Some people say print books have no future, but look at how vinyl LPs are hanging tough! As humans, we need to have something tangible. And what else would I sign at bookstores?
- What type of books do you write? I work mainly as an illustrator of children's books. I've illustrated more than 80 books during the last 15 years. The first books I wrote were maze and puzzle books, I've also written junior novels and picture books.
- What is your latest or upcoming book about? 'Oliver' is a picture book, about a little boy who builds a submarine and goes down the drain of his bathtub on an adventure, where he meets a cruise ship full of penguins on vacation. They have jetpacks and fly around for fun. It's going to be published by Harper Collins in May 2012.
- What inspired you to write it? I was looking around for a strong character when I was visiting with my brother. My nephew was about 3 at the time, and I found him very entertaining. He was the inspiration for the character of Oliver.
- What did you do before you became an author? I studied science, and worked in the textile industry for a number of years. Then I became an illustrator, which led me into writing.
- How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? I love to see my books sitting in a book store. My books have been translated into more than ten languages, and I love to imagine kids all around the world reading them. My advice for struggling writers is read, read, read, write, write, write. I teach people who want to write for children, and I tell them that to be published you need three things: talent, determination and luck, and I think that determination is probably the most important one. Don't give up. Don't stop trying to make your work better.
- Where do you see book publishing heading? Things seem to be at a crossroads at the moment. It is sad to see so many book stores closing. I don't know where publishing is heading, but I think people will always want stories. So there will always be a need for writers. (I hope!)