This Week’s Featured Author Interview
is with Eugenia Chu!
Hi, Eugenia Chu, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Hi! My name is Eugenia Chu and I am a first-generation Chinese-American citizen. I was born in New Jersey and moved around a lot as a kid, but grew up mostly outside of Boston, Massachusetts and then St. Petersburg, Florida. I have also lived and attended school in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Taipei and Shanghai (summer study abroad). I met my husband in law school and we currently live in Miami with our son, Brandon, and fish, Sharky. I practiced law for 15 years and then became a full-time stay-at-home mom after Brandon was born. I love being a mom! I also enjoy traveling, reading, wine, skiing, and yoga!
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing a few years after Brandon was born but didn’t become serious about writing or sharing my work until the past year or so. When Brandon was very little, I would read a bedtime story (or 2, or 3!) every night to him and then at lights out, we would discuss his day and all the events that occurred. We would take turns adding information and make up little stories based on the happenings of the day before going to sleep. We actually still do this, except that we discuss our days first and then instead of me reading to him, we snuggle up and read our own books separately. This is great because now I have time to read grown-up books every night!
Anyway, back when Brandon was younger, I was always searching for children’s storybooks to read to him at bedtime which touched upon Chinese culture and which included some Chinese (Mandarin) words to teach and/or reinforce his Chinese vocabulary but had trouble finding them. Most of the books I found were either straight translation or ABC/123 type books with no storyline. So, I started writing my own based on events in Brandon’s life and the little stories we told at bedtime. Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is the first “Brandon” story I’ve written.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is my favorite because it is my first, and so far, only, published book! This book is dear to my heart because it is based on my son and my mom. Whenever my parents come to visit, my mom and Brandon always make jiao zi, or Chinese dumplings! It’s their favorite thing to do together and has become a tradition for our family!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title is descriptive of what the story is about and is reflective of how Brandon speaks – “I want to make jiao zi, I want to make jiao zi!” Chinglish – Ha ha! Also, I like having a little Chinese in the title to let people know that there is actually some Chinese in the book.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
My sister, Helena Chu Ho, designed the cover and illustrated the book. She’s awesome and I’m so lucky she offered to do it! We are very close, so she knew what I wanted for the book without me having to give her any instruction. I basically just took what she drew and added them to the book without question or comment!
What are some of the themes of your story?
The most important theme of my story is family and multigenerational bonding. Also, diversity. The story illustrates how families can overcome generations, distance, and language to stay close and connected by engaging in activities and traditions that are enjoyed by all – like cooking and eating!
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process, and do you have a system?
I don’t really have a set process or system. I just write when I have time and am inspired. I think a lot about storylines while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, waiting in lines, doing menial tasks, etc. Sometimes I just sit in front of the computer and just start typing.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
A few years ago, I started writing a story called, Brandon Goes to Chinese School. I actually put a draft of it up on my website eugeniachu.com. Feel free to check it out! Brandon goes to Chinese school every Saturday and I know there are thousands of kids who attend hundreds of these Saturday Chinese schools all over the country. In fact, I even went to Saturday Chinese school growing up in Massachusetts! I hate to say this, but in general, no one like attending Saturday Chinese school! I thought I would write a cute and somewhat funny book about Brandon complaining about Saturday Chinese school and how it’s really kind of fun! I wanted to make the book realistic so included some true whining and complaining! I figured every Saturday Chinese school parent (and student) would be able to relate. Unfortunately, Brandon does NOT like this story! When I asked him what I should change to make it better, he responded, “the topic”! Such the critic!
I’m also working on a new book entitled, Brandon Goes to Beijing (北京), based on our trip to Beijing last fall! We travel a lot so I’m planning on writing more stories about Brandon’s trips to near and far away lands!
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
Any super powers, huh? I would like them all! But specifically, I would like to be able to fly, to turn invisible, to travel through time and space, to make people happy and to convince people to buy my book – ha ha!
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
The Galapagos Islands before it turns commercial!
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview, Eugenia Chu! Take a minute and check Eugenia Chu out on the links below. Eugenia Chu’s book, Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子): Chinese American Children’s Book, is available now on Amazon!
Eugenia Chu Goodreads Author Page
Eugenia Chu Author Website
Eugenia Chu Author Blog
Eugenia Chu Amazon Author Page