Welcome to the Author Interview series at The Writing Life blog.
Each Tuesday, I am excited to share my talented author friends with readers. We have a a great line up of fabulous authors scheduled until June 2017. Please do check back in and meet a new author next week.
Today, I am very pleased to welcome Jennifer J. Chow, a multi award winning author, who writes multicultural fiction with intergenerational drama.
Jennifer’s short fiction has most recently appeared in Hyphen Magazine and Yay! LA Magazine. Her Asian-American novels include Dragonfly Dreams, The 228 Legacy, and Seniors Sleuth. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles, California. Visit her author website: www.jenniferjchow.com
Welcome to The Writing Life, Jennifer.
What is your book’s genre/category?
Young adult paranormal
Please describe what Dragonfly Dreams is about.
It’s 1880 in Fresno, California when 17-year-old Topaz Woo dies after giving birth. She can get an extension in a non-physical body—if she uses The Ten Commandments to influence her newborn. Over the course of ten years, she finds herself stymied in parenting by intergenerational drama and spiritual battle. Will she adjust to an otherworldly existence and give her daughter a solid foundation? Or will she become mired in family disputes and forfeit her soul to evil?
Very interesting and unique synopsis. How did you come up with the title?
There’s a myth that dragonflies live only 24 hours. Dragonfly Dreams signifies pursuing your dreams to the utmost in a short amount of time—as Topaz does.
What inspired you to write Dragonfly Dreams?
I wanted to couple a love letter to my hometown with a classic good-versus-evil spiritual battle.
Does your main character resemble you? If so, in what ways?
I’m also a mom like Topaz, so I have a deep maternal love. Unlike her, though, I’m not so uncertain about my identity.
Jennifer, what is your favorite part of writing?
Creating new worlds, having stories arise from the blank page.
What do you find is the most challenging aspect of writing?
Making my vision shine on the page. A billion thoughts float around in my head, but pinning them down and conveying them clearly to the reader is still difficult.
What was the last book you read? What did you think of it?
The Rose Society by Marie Lu. I really like the concept behind the making of a villain, the bond of sisterhood, and the imaginative setting. At the same time, though, the book is a bit unsettling and gets quite dark.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Jean Kwok: for down-to-earth Asian American characters you can root for, whether in the confines of a sweatshop or the expanse of a ballroom.
Markus Zusak: I think he’s got a great way of spinning words together and helping young people find meaning in their lives. Plus, he’s a genuinely nice guy.
What authors or person(s) have influenced you as a writer and why?
Mrs. Okada, my sixth-grade teacher, really nourished my love of writing by first exposing me to different types of poetry (haiku, tanka, diamante, etc.). She also poured out encouragement to me.
Do you have a favorite place to write? To read?
As a mom, I love writing in those squeezed-in times while waiting for a class to end, so that I have a hard deadline to motivate me.
For reading, I have this couch placed in a sunny spot in my home. It gets a lot of light (and bird songs in the morning), and it makes me happy to relax there.
Tell us something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I used to be part of the drama club in high school. Even though I’m an introvert by nature (as many writers are), I actually liked the excitement of acting.
Did the writing process uncover surprises or learning experiences for you? What about the publishing process?
Authors form an amazing tribe. Even though we write in solitude, the network of writers is strong, and people in the field are very supportive of one another.
The publishing process requires a lot of patience. When you think you’ve waited long enough, wait some more.
What do you hope readers will gain from Dragonfly Dreams?
Deeper insight into a spiritual realm that exists beyond the surface, and the idea that one person in a family can really influence the bond between relatives.
Those ideas appeal to me as a writer and as a reader. Looking back, Jennifer, what did you do right that helped you write and market Dragonfly Dreams?
It was great having a solid team behind me (editor, cover designer, book manager, etc.).
What didn’t work as well with this book?
Being able to locate my niche audience, to connect with them so they know about the book.
Any advice or tips for writers looking to get published?
First, write. Then research ways to get your work published. There are so many options to getting your foot in the door nowadays: literary magazines, e-zines, self-pubbing, independent presses, literary agents, and The Big Five. Choose the path that fits your personality—or pursue a blend.
Great advice. Website and social media links?
Where can we find Dragonfly Dreams?
What’s next for you, Jennifer?
I’m submitting another YA novel (but it’s set in the future instead of the past) while editing a multicultural, intergenerational contemporary mystery set near Los Angeles.
Thank you for a wonderful interview, Jennifer. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better. I wish you the best with your books and your writing life!
About Eleanor Parker Sapia
Eleanor Parker Sapia is the Puerto Rican-born author of the award-winning historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN, published by Scarlet River Press. Her debut novel, which garnered an Honorable Mention in Historical Fiction, English at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now, was Book of the Month with Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club in 2015. Eleanor is proud to be featured in the award-winning anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. Eleanor is a writer, artist, and photographer, who is never without a pen and a notebook, her passport and a camera. Her awesome adult children are out in the world doing amazing things. Eleanor currently lives and writes in Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Eleanor’s book, A DECENT WOMAN: http://amzn.to/1X0qFvK
Please visit Eleanor at her website: http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com