When Cara Lopez Lee asked me to participate in the “My Writing Process” blog tour, I didn’t think twice about it. Cara is one of the reasons social networking has changed my life. I got to know her some years back from an online group for authors of Asian novels. Cara’s memoir, They Only Eat Their Husbands (Ghost Road Press, 2010) is one of my favorites and showed me how to open up more when I was writing Good Chinese Wife.
For this blog tour, Cara sent along the following four questions:
1. What am I working on?
Before I finished my edits for Good Chinese Wife, I started a new memoir about discovering that I had a relative who was a Jewish refugee in Shanghai during the WWII. This book is a love letter to Shanghai, as it weaves my trips there in the 1980s and 90s with my recent discovery of this relative and my search to learn more about my family’s ties to Shanghai during the war. And for fans of Good Chinese Wife, I provide a little continuation of that story, all of which ties into the Shanghai theme. I’m still trying to come up with a title, so if anyone has an idea, I’m all ears!
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
There are quite a few Shanghai memoirs, mostly fabulous first hand accounts. Mine is different because it gives the reader a sense of what Shanghai was like after China reintegrated with the world in the 1980s and what’s become of the Jewish landmarks from the 1930s and 40s.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write about my experience in China and Hong Kong for myself because I want to remember that important part of my life. I write about it for others because I like to share stories of a time that has quickly slipped away. Even Hong Kong of the 1990s is a bygone era now.
4. How does your writing process work?
With Good Chinese Wife, I started by writing fifty pages and then tried to perfect those. I worked with a handful of independent editors and slowly built up my confidence as a writer. With this Shanghai memoir, I’ve started it with the support of my agent, Carrie Pestritto (she’s the one who came up with the idea!). I sent her the prologue first, followed by a few more chapters. So I’m definitely not the type of writer who gets out a first draft without showing it to anyone along the way. I feel like I still need reassurance that I’m on the right track.
Since this is a blog hop, I’m excited to announce that Janet Brown has agreed to blog about her writing process next week on Monday, May 12th! Janet is another writer whose stories have inspired me and whose support has encouraged me to no end. She’s the author of several memoirs, including Tone Deaf in Bangkok (And Other Places) (ThingsAsian Press, 2011) and Almost Home: The Asian Search of a Geographic Trollop (ThingsAsian Press, 2013).