20 Questions with the Author

1. What is your morning routine?

Terrible habit, but usually the first thing I do is reach for my phone and check my notifications. I then spend some time meditating. This really helps reset me and calms and focuses me for the day ahead.

2. What was your most embarrassing moment?

My wedding day. I booked a yacht for the event with my now ex-husband. There was a beautiful pair of cascading stairs that went from the top deck to the main dining area. I thought it would be the perfect place to make our entrance as husband and wife to our guests; he would go down one set, I’d go down the other. While waiting to be announced, I looked down at the stairs and realized how steep they were. I had this ridiculously billowy gown on and I couldn’t see my feet. I had four-inch heels on, too. I already have difficulty walking on flat surfaces in heels and descending a set of steep stairs didn’t seem like a good idea anymore but there was no turning back. The DJ announced us and I took a deep breath and made my way down to the cheering crowd of 140 of our closest friends and family. I made it almost all the way down and then missed the last step and came tumbling forward. I hit the ground hard, my partner helped me up and I turned bright red from utter humiliation and tried to laugh it off. The crowd was pretty gracious and pretended not to notice, however, except for my brother-in-law. He sat near the back with my sister and was the only one laughing.

3. What’s your biggest fear?

I can’t decide which is scarier, falling off a high cliff with nothing to protect me or drowning in the ocean. So both of those things.

4. What’s your most favorite thing that you own?

My aunt gave me a beautiful sapphire ring, the stone is about the size of my thumb so it’s a pretty impressive thing to look at. I’m drawn to blue and I just Iove sapphire’s deep blue color.

5. What’s your favorite memory?

The first time I saw my son move in a sonogram. Up till that point, he just looked like a blob on the screen since he was so small. At about 12 weeks, I could see tiny arms and tiny legs wriggling around upside down in my uterus. Even though the image was grainy, it made me well up. I fell in love with him then and there.

6. What does your most perfect day look like?

A perfect day would start with breakfast in bed, followed by scenic hike up a mountain range, then back down for a massage on the beach. Lunch served on the balcony overlooking the ocean. After a little rest, some physical sport like swimming or tennis. The evening ends with a candlelit dinner on the beach and cocktails and dancing on the beach as a 7-piece bands serenades me.

7. What do you envision for yourself in the next ten years?

In the next ten years my vision is to be an established, best-selling author with at least eight published novels under my belt. As well, I have a passion for acting so I would like to be successful there and working steadily in the industry.

8. Who inspires you to write?

The beloved authors that forged my path into writing. As a child, it was Victor Hugo when I read Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Animal Inn series by Victoria Vail. As I got a little older, Danielle Steele’s writing captured my attention (and is most likely why I became a romance author), then Dickens’ Great Expectations, Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked among so many more authors and treasured reads.

I enjoyed non-fiction reading, too, though fiction is my first love. Frank McCourt’s three-book autobiography collection, beginning with Angela’s Ashes, about growing up poor in Limerick, Ireland was funny and heart-wrenching. I loved the series so much, I read his brother, Malachy McCourt’s A Monk Swimming.

This list is varied but the common thread among all of them is the ability to immerse the reader into their world. All of these books saw me staying up late at night turning page after page.

9. When have you felt the most challenged?

Almost five years ago, I left a difficult marriage. This was difficult enough but I did it with my 22-month old son in tow. I couch surfed, stayed in seedy motels, and stayed with my parents. I was on unemployment and food stamps. I felt like I had let my son down, I felt that I had failed. My former conservative background had me believe that divorce was unacceptable in the eyes of God.

I finally landed a job and found a nice one bedroom for my son and me. It wasn’t how I had imagined my life in my mid-30s but I felt peace. Leaving the marriage helped me realize just how toxic it was and when I started going to therapy and attending support groups, I knew that I had made the right decision. Today I am still happily single, and maybe one day the time will be right for love, but till then I’m enjoying the present and pursuing my professional goals.

10. Do you have any regrets? If you do, what are they?

I know the saying is to have no regrets, and while I love my life, a part of me does wish I had continued pursuing my acting career when I was in my early twenties and finishing my degree on time. Instead, it took the divorce plus 18 more years to realize I needed to chase my passions; acting and writing. I wish I had known when I was 19 how difficult holding down a full-time job, being a 24/7 single mom, and going to school full-time would be. But this was my journey. I know with hard work and a positive mindset, I can accomplish my goals.

11. Which historical figure would you most like to meet?

Easy. Leonardo da Vinci. He is known for being a painter and a sculptor but he was also an engineer, musician, scientist, writer, and inventor. I read that there are seven intelligences and da Vinci is one of the rare ones to have inhabited all seven levels of genius. I went to the da Vinci museum in Milan years ago and was in awe of everything he had accomplished. He designed the first flying machine with large, bird-like wings and a bicycle looking contraption. He never followed through with building it, but seeing the sketches in the museum showed what a brilliant mind he was.

12. What’s a conspiracy theory you hold?

I wouldn’t say I adamantly hold any conspiracy as truth but there are some that I am open to accepting as truth. One is that our smart devices are always listening to us and using our conversations to market ads to us. There have been much too many coincidences I’ve had to suggest this is true. One was when I killed a cockroach and told my son to step back. I said cockroach at least a few times during that time and a couple of hours later as I was looking at my phone I see an ad that said “Tough moms use raid” with a cartoon image of an overturned roach.

A more outlandish theory I believe could have truth is parallel or alternate universes. The universe wide and expansive, we don’t the technology yet to measure it’s vastness so why would we be so elitist to believe that of all the planets out there, we are the only ones that have intelligent life.

13. What’s in your bag?

Wallet, keys, phone, Advil, hand sanitizer, packet of tissues, a couple of cough drops, a few feminine items, and a rose quartz and clear quartz crystal for summoning love vibes.

14. What is something people would never guess about you?

I went to Afghanistan a year after 9/11. I used to be Christian, but now consider myself spiritual, but in 2002 I sojourned with another young woman and three men to Kunduz, Afghanistan via Tajikistan. We rode a stripped down van with no seatbelts or seats through the 100 degree plus desert for six hours. One we arrived, dirt was plastered all over our clothes and skin and lodged into any uncovered opening – like eyes, noses, and ears. It was a rough journey to say the least, but I am fortunate enough to have experienced an area that not many have seen. We were part of an aid group that delivered medical supplies and medicine to Afghanis in need. Some had never seen anyone that wasn’t a native, and being Chinese American, I look pretty different from them. Children would gather around us and touch our faces, our clothing in what I assume was wonderment.

15. Where would you like travel next?

I would love to go to the Pushkar Camel Fair, in Pushkar, India. It’s in the desert but you can book luxury tents which includes a full service wait staff. The fair used to be a place to trade camels but now its a novelty/tourist destination. They hold camel races, camel beauty contests where they adorn them with beautiful ribbons and silvery necklaces. I think you even get a chance to ride a camel.

16. What is your favorite book and why?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I tried three different times to read this book; once at 15, again around 18, and then at 22. Once I got through the first 20 pages there was no stopping. Bronte was ahead of her time with feminist ideals and rather controversial plot points. I won’t give it away. It’s such a fantastic read. Read it, you won’t be disappointed.

17. Do you have a strange talent?

My elbows joints have a wider radius than most. When I lean my hands on a table, it looks odd to others, it doesn’t hurt though.

18. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be?

Well, I’m a kid of the 80s and 90s so Aladdin was on constant rotation in my house. The last and third wish would be reserved to free the genie, no exceptions. For my first wish, I’d wish for massive success in my chosen careers (writing & acting) so from that success I’d make lots of $$$. My second wish would be, and don’t roll your eyes, world peace. No more killing, raping, stealing, kidnapping, trafficking – an end to all that shit once and for all.

19. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is the toughest one to answer so far! I’m sure any song, as much as I love it, would get old real fast. But if I had to choose…it would be “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters. I chose this because it has some catchy riffs, meaningful lyrics, and Dave Grohl’s amazing voice!

20. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

If you has asked me this a few years ago I would have said America in the 1950s or 1920s because of the fashion, hair, music, and awesome cars. However, I think I’d choose the Tang Dynasty. I would really love to see how my ancestors lived and worked. The dynasty’s greatest inventions were created during this time like woodblock printing, air conditioning, and gunpowder. Though I’m no fan of guns, the admire the process of invention. Plus it would give me a good chance to brush up on my Mandarin, uh, did they speak Mandarin back then?

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