Caster by Elsie Chapman: Lit CelebrAsian Author Interview

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Welcome to our interview with Elsie Chapman to celebrate the release of her new book, Caster! Pitched as a Chinese-inspired Fight Club with magic, it centres on sixteen-year-old Aza Wu, who enters an illegal underground magic casting tournament to save her family legacy and avenge her sister, and is filled with action, magic and twists.

Co-hosts Shenwei and Wendy both loved the book, and below are five reasons they think you should read Caster. For more detail, you can also check out their full reviews — a big thank you to Elsie Chapman and to Scholastic for the ARCs.

Review from Shenwei @ Reading Asian America

Review from Wendy @ Written in Wonder

Reasons to read CASTER:
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Interview: Marivi Soliven – Author of The Mango Bride

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Marivi has authored 17 books. Her debut novel The Mango Bride (Penguin, 2013) won Grand Prize at the Palanca Awards, the Philippine counterpart of the Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into Spanish and Tagalog. The film adaptation is in production and will premiere in 2020. She is a fierce advocate and organizes literary fundraisers for immigrant survivors of domestic violence, and these efforts have helped, nine immigrant women gain legal residency and escape their abusive marriages. She continues to advocate for immigrant rights and concerns in her day job as a phone interpreter.

What was your favourite part of the writing process behind exploring different perspectives in the Filipino diaspora in The Mango Bride? Are there any other parts of the diaspora experience you’d like to explore in future?

My favourite part of the process was reconstructing the Manila of my childhood – the food, the homes, the women who smoked like chimneys while looking impossibly chic.  I’m still intrigued by the many aspects of the Filipino diaspora and am working on a second novel that portrays the first diasporic wave of Filipino farmworkers in the 20s and 30s.

Did you work as an interpreter impact or change the way you write?Read More »

#1KBE – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Author Interview with E.C. Myers

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Welcome to our interview series with writers from A Thousand Beginnings and Endings! Learn more about the anthology inspired #IKBE reading challenge created by Aentee of Read at Midnight here.

Bio: E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and the public library in Yonkers, New York. He is the author of numerous short stories and four young adult books: the Andre Norton Award–winning Fair Coin, Quantum Coin, The Silence of Six, and Against All Silence. His next YA novel, RWBY: After the Fall, will be published by Scholastic in summer 2019. E.C. currently lives with his wife, son, and three doofy pets in Pennsylvania. You can find traces of him all over the internet, but especially at and on Twitter: @ecmyers.

What sparked the inspiration behind the anthology’s short story – The Land of The Morning Calm – and its mixture of MMO video gaming and Korean culture?Read More »

Meet Yasmin Book Tour! In conversation: Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly


Meet Yasmin! (Capstone, Aug 2018) is an early reader series (grades K-2) featuring a South Asian American character Yasmin Ahmad and her multigenerational family. To celebrate the launch of Meet Yasmin! author Saadia Faruqi and illustrator Hatem Aly interview each other here. They talk about their writing journeys, their immigrant lives, and of course, the character they both created, Yasmin:

H.A: So Saadia, what made you write Yasmin? Why not something more mainstream, more “American?”Read More »

#1KBE – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Author Interview with Cindy Pon

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Welcome to our interview series with writers from A Thousand Beginnings and Endings! Learn more about the anthology inspired #IKBE reading challenge created by Aentee of Read at Midnight here.

Cindy Pon is the author of young fantasy books Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix, Serpentine and Sacrifice. She is also the author of Want, a near-future sci fi thriller set in Taipei. Cindy is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and part of the We Need Diverse Books advisory board.

Please share with our readers the synopsis of your story in this anthology.Read More »

#1KBE – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Author Interview with Elsie Chapman

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Welcome to our interview series with writers from A Thousand Beginnings and Endings! Learn more about the anthology inspired #IKBE reading challenge created by Aentee of Read at Midnight here.

Elsie Chapman is the author of Dualed, Divided, and Along the Indigo. Originally from Prince George, Canada, she currently resides in Tokyo, Japan.

What sparked the inspiration behind your retelling of the Chinese tale, the Butterfly Lovers?Read More »

#1KBE – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Author Interview with Shveta Thakrar

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Welcome to our interview series with writers from A Thousand Beginnings and Endings! For more on the inspired #IKBE reading challenge here.

Shveta Thakrar is a writer of South Asian–flavored fantasy, part-time nagini, and full-time believer in magic. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, Interfictions Online, Mythic Delirium, Uncanny, Faerie, Strange Horizons, Mothership Zeta, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Clockwork Phoenix 5, Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, and Toil & Trouble. When not spinning stories about spider silk and shadows, magic and marauders, and courageous girls illuminated by dancing rainbow flames, Shveta crafts, devours books, daydreams, travels, bakes, and occasionally even plays her harp.

What sparked the inspiration for your retelling of two tales from the Mahabharata for this anthology? Read More »

Character Interview: Amal (from Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed)

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Amal is a character in Aisha Saeed’s novel, Amal Unbound.

Aisha Saeed is a New York Times bestselling author. She wrote WRITTEN IN THE STARS (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015) which was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books and a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers. She is also the author of the middle grade novel AMAL UNBOUND (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018) a Summer 2018 Indie Next Pick, An Amazon Best Book of the Month, has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and is a Global Read Aloud for 2018. She also has a forthcoming picture book BILAL COOKS DAAL (Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads, 2019). Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.

Aisha is represented by Taylor Martindale at Full Circle Literary Agency and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three sons.

Hi Amal! I’ve been looking forward to talking to you. What have you been up to? How are you?

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Interview: Julie C. Dao – Author of Forest of A Thousand Lanterns and Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix

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*Kate is one of our new Lit CelebrAsian team members. She introduces Julie C. Dao’s work below:

One of my favorite books (and debuts!) of 2017 was FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao. If you haven’t heard or read it yet, first, read it. Secondly, the book is a fabulous reimagining of the Evil Queen from Snow White and her origin story. The sequel KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX is slated to be released November 6, 2018 with all new branding and I am chomping at the bits for it.

Julie is active on social media and one of my favorite authors to follow because of her commentary and honest thoughts on being an Asian American. When searching my mind for an author to interview, I knew I had to reach out to Julie.

What does it mean to you to not only see more Asian protagonists in books, but Asians on the cover?Read More »