Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Lucia Chen

Today we continue our Dancing With The Pen blog tour with an interview with young writer Lucia Chen, whose story "Take My Hand" is featured in the book. Order your copy of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's youth writing on Amazon here.

What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction?

My name is Lucia (pronounced Lu-See-Ah…the Spanish way, not the Italian way!) and I’m a 17-year-old girl from Beijing. Now I live in the suburbs of Detroit, where I run cross country, watch soccer matches religiously, and read way too many historical romances. (They’re my guilty pleasure!)

Describe your story that were published in Dancing With The Pen. How did you get your idea for the piece? Take us through your writing process.

More often than not, I write what I read. When I wrote my short story Take My Hand, I had been going through a medieval phase, devouring novels about knights and battles and grisly conflicts between the English and the Scots. One day I asked myself, “What if an Englishman and a Scotman became friends…and then were pitted against each other?” The idea just lodged in my brain and refused to leave until it became a full-fledged story.

Have you been writing for a long time? What do you like about writing?

My writing career “officially” began with a memorable 6th grade assignment – a pourquoi story about how the pig got its curly tail. Since then, my pencil (and now, keyboard) has been an extension of my hand. What I love most about writing is that wonderful moment after you sit and stare at a awkward sentence for ages, and then – from out of the blue – you find a word that fits perfectly.

What does it mean to you to have your piece included in this book?

I am ecstatic! Deliriously happy! Eternally grateful! It just means so much to me that people across the nation – perhaps even across the world – are reading and enjoying what I wrote.

Do you have any advice for other writers, or for other young people going after their dreams?

To steal the words of Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” A writer’s life may be rife with rejection and disappointment, but it is also bursting with satisfaction and success. And if you truly enjoy the act of putting pen to paper, then that is a victory in itself.

Can you share a few of your favorite books or authors?

An absolute favorite of mine (as in, I reread it every few months or so) is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine…which says something, because I’m not even a fantasy fan. Just a snapshot of my other favorites: The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper, The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy!!! Enough said) by the incomparable Jane Austen.

What inspires you?

The World Cup. No, seriously! As K’naan sang in the 2010 World Cup anthem, it’s a time when “every nation is around us,” when souls from every corner of the world “sing forever young…sing songs underneath the sun.” When you think about it, every one of those souls has his or her own story to tell. A world of stories coming together under one sun…there is nothing more inspiring to me than that.

What are you working on now? What’s next for you?

Other than really bad poetry and cheesy stories? My first novel, actually! To put it concisely, it’s a time-travel romance set in Napoleonic Europe…complete with villainous French agents and hot British spies. ☺ The manuscript is complete and in the editing stages, and I hope to one day publish it.

Anything else you’d like to add?

How about two truths and a lie?
1. I am an excellent seamstress.
2. When I was little, I was allergic to sand.
3. I have a passionate hatred of cheese.

(Just for the record, I can’t sew to save my life).

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