Maybe it’s because my family recently celebrated Lunar New Year or maybe it’s because the older I get, the more nostalgic I am, but I recently got to thinking about what it means to me to be an Asian romance author. But first, a little background about me. My parents and I immigrated from Taiwan to America when I was five. Although I didn’t speak English in the beginning, I picked it up quickly and became more fluent in it than in Mandarin. While I consider myself pretty Americanized, my Chinese culture plays a big part in my life and also influences my writing. So, what does being an Asian romance author mean to me?
- It means standing out in a crowd. Being the sensitive introvert that I am, I hate attention. But being an Asian romance author is like being the pink elephant in a room, and not in a room with regular elephants but with lions. Lol. Among my family and friends (who are mostly Asian), I’m often times the only person who doesn’t work in the medical field or in the corporate world. And among my author friends, I’m usually the only Asian face in the room. It’s pretty exciting when I meet another Asian author (waving hi to Jan Thompson!) because it’s such a rare occurrence.
- It means being able to share about my culture. I don’t profess to be an expert on the Chinese culture (just typing this sentence makes me laugh because it’s so far from the truth!), but I enjoy sharing what I do know through the stories I write. Whether it’s about Chinese food or family traditions, readers have told me how much they appreciate learning about my culture from reading my books that feature Chinese characters.
- It means filling a void. I get to write books with characters and storylines that aren’t as commonly available, ones that I myself and other Asian readers wished there were more of in bookstores. It’s especially meaningful to me when I hear from readers who tell me they can relate to my Asian characters because they are Asian or are married to an Asian spouse. I still remember when a reader mentioned that her kids eat potstickers (skin first, filling second) just like the characters in my book Tropical Kiss and Tell do.
- It means wondering if people like my stories for my writing or for my background. I’ll be honest here, there have been times when I’ve wondered if I was granted an opportunity because I’m an Asian author and not necessarily because of my writing. But at the end of the day, I choose to take every chance that God brings me and use the abilities and passion He’s given me for His glory.
- It means being grateful. Above all, I am grateful to the Lord for how He made me. I may not be a stereotypical Asian who’s good with numbers, but I have a knack for finding the right words to convey a message. I may not have grown up in a touchy-feely family where we express our love through words, but I can write about those kinds of families in my books, even the ones with Asian characters! There may not be the letters PhD after my name, but I like to think of myself as a love doctor who specializes in romance. Lol. Just like every author here at InspyRomance, I have my own unique background and life experiences that God has given me as a source of inspiration for my books. I’m able to write the stories that I write because of who I am.
How does your cultural background and heritage play a role in your life and/or career? I look forward to reading your comments!
Giveaway: I’d like to give away a $5 Amazon gift card. One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments below. The giveaway will remain open until midnight on Sunday, March 6th.
And if you’d like to read a book featuring Asian leads (and their oh-so hilarious moms!), I hope you’ll check out my new release, Joined at the Hip! This story, which was originally part of the Save the Date box set last year, has been expanded to include 4 brand new chapters for your reading pleasure.