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3/22/11

20 QUESTIONS WITH: Cara Chow, author of Bitter Melon


CARA CHOW and 20 Questions

 About the Author

Cara Chow was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the Richmond district of San Francisco, where Bitter Melon is set.  She attended an all girls' Catholic high school, competed in speech, and had an encouraging speech coach, which served in part as the inspiration for her novel.  She was a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow in 2001. In addition to writing, Cara also teaches Pilates. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and son. Bitter Melon is her first novel.

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I would like to thank Cara for stopping by my blog today!  I adored this book and it is should be a must read for everyone.
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1.      Bookmarks or dog ears?

Neither.  I use Post It tabs.  They work so much better.

2.      Dust jacket on or off when reading a hard back?

On.  I like pictures, so if I’m not reading a picture book, then the cover art is the only picture I get to look at.  Besides, if I lose my Post It, I can always use the jacket flap as a bookmark.

3.      Favorite author?

I don’t have a favorite author.  I love many authors.  Instead, I’ll list some favorite novels not mentioned elsewhere in this interview: Tenderness and Heroes by Robert Cormier, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

4.      Favorite genre?

In the fiction category, I tend to like literary fiction, but it has to have a good plot and good pacing.  For non-fiction, my taste is very eclectic: geography, anthropology, neuroscience, sociology, linguistics, history, cookbooks, and gardening books.

5.      What is the best book you have read in the last year?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  Especially fun to read as I tended my own garden, composted, and ate the food I grew.  As I read about her challenges living off the land in Appalachia, I learned to appreciate how lucky I am to live in Southern California!

6.      What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

Bitter Melon!  Not now, but maybe a few years down the line.

7.      E books:  Friend or foe?

Hey, if it gets more people to read, why not?

8.      Was there a book that inspired you to write?

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. 
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

9.      What are you reading right now?

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff, which, like Bitter Melon, was published by Egmont USA.  I just attended Allen’s book launch party, and now I am enjoying my own autographed copy.

10.     What is the last book you bought just for the cover?

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.  And the book lived up to the gorgeousness of the cover.

11.     What is the last book you received in the mail?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  Since everyone’s been comparing my book to Chua’s because both feature Tiger Moms, I figured I ought to read her book and compare it to her WSJ article, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.”

12.     What is the number of books you own?

I honestly don’t know.  In addition to the books crammed into my shelf, which takes up a whole wall, I have numerous other books stuffed in boxes in my garage because I don’t have enough room in my little house.

13.     What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?

I don’t really remember, but it was probably Snow White and Rose Red.  We borrowed it from the local library. 

14.     Do you have a favorite place to read?

On my Ekornes recliner in my home office, which is next to the desk where I write. 

15.     What is next for you, publishing-wise?

A second YA novel with the same publisher.  As for what the novel will be about . . . that’s a secret, so big a secret that even I don’t yet know!

16.     Do you have a favorite place to write?

The desk referred to in question #14.  It faces my backyard, so I can watch the pond, plants, birds, and squirrels when I need to take a break.

17.     Do you have any pets ?

We have five giant koi fish and several goldfish in our backyard pond.  But they don’t feel like pets.  They don’t let you pet them, and they don’t run up to you and lick your face when you call their names.  To compensate for this, I take long walks in my neighborhood and along the beach and pet other people’s dogs.

18.    How does your garden grow?

Quite abundantly.  It may have more to do with our climate (warm and sunny all year round) and soil (clay teeming with earthworms) than our gardening skill.  We get roses every spring; tomatoes, strawberries, and basil every summer; carrots every winter; and lettuce all year round.

 19.  The last thing you Googled?

Loma Prieta earthquake.  I was fact checking for another blog post.

20.     What makes you cringe?
        N/A


Product Description

Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school.  But is being a doctor what she wants?  It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent.  Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her?  Set in the 1980s.

Be sure to stop by Cara Chow's site HERE

2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the Q&A with Cara. Glad to see she has such an abundant CA garden! I will have to check out Bitter Melon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed that Q&A. It was fun and interesting. I wish I lived somewhere warm and sunny year round.

    ReplyDelete

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