Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan

I was so very good yesterday. I got a lot of revision work done (up through chapter 14, but I've since come up with another idea for something earlier -- yay! Ideas are good!) and I even took a walk. There may be less progress today because I have class and some errands, but I feel like I'm in the swing of things again.

While I'm off being productive and efficient, I'll leave you with the latest Girlfriends Cyber Circuit visit. My guests are Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan, authors of the new novel China Dolls, which has been called The Joy Luck Club meets Sex and the City. China Dolls explores how culture can affect one’s personal and professional lives. As if dating isn’t hard enough in New York City, Asian-American women have to balance the expectations of family and exceed expectations in the workplace, all while looking for Mr. Right.

Blossom answered my interview questions:
What inspired you to write this book?
Michelle and I both love chick lit, but we felt that we could add something to the genre. Instead of just focusing on the more traditional chick lit topics - dating, fashion, etc. - we wanted to really focus on the career issues that young women deal with, especially what it's like to be a young woman trying to make it in a white man's world.

Describe your creative process.
We are very much seat of our pants. While we have a general idea as to what we want to write about and the themes we want to explore, we don't outline or plot out every line of the book. We basically sit down at the computer and start writing.

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I am very much a write-at-midnight-until-I-fall-asleep type of girl. Michelle is more of an early bird and likes to write in the morning.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroines?
We have a lot in common with our heroines. Like our heroines, we've had to deal with a lot of stereotypes and prejudices that people have had about us the minute they laid eyes on us - and despite those stereotypes, we've had to persevere and prove our detractors wrong.

How much did you draw on your personal cultural experiences in writing this book?
We drew on a lot of our personal cultural experiences. Another big theme in our book is the role of family. Our heroines have to deal with family expectations about who they should date, what jobs they should have, what kind of lives they should lead - at the same time, they have to deal with the reality of living in modern-day America.

What do you think the biggest difference is for young Asian women, compared to what's generally presented as the "mainstream" in chick lit type books?
I think the biggest difference for young Asian women is having to deal with being stereotyped as either the docile, submissive "geisha" or as the "dragon lady." At some point in their lives, every young Asian woman will encounter these stereotypes, and it adds a new layer to their personal and professional lives - as if life in the city isn't hard enough already.

Chocolate: dark or milk?
Milk (this is going to sound sacrilegious, but we're actually more salt people than sweet people)

What are you working on now?
We're under contract for our next 2 books (Book #2 will feature the sister of the Lin character who dreams about becoming a soap opera actress), so the minute we get back from tour, it's back to the computer!

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
The process was not an easy one. It took a lot of hard work, and there were definitely times when we wanted to throw in the towel. But we kept going at it, and our book is finally in bookstores now! So to all the aspiring writers out there, just remember: no matter how much things might seem to suck, keep at it!

For more info, visit the China Dolls web site.

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