Featured Author: Jennifer Chow

author headshot

I love discovering new authors, especially debut authors. There’s something so wonderfully exciting about a new voice with a fresh or fascinating story to tell.

I’m very happy to have debut author, Jennifer Chow as my guest today.  Jennifer’s new book, The 228 Legacy was inspired from photos of a two-million-person human chain commemorating 228.  Her dedication for research and love for culture shines brightly in this novel.  I really enjoyed the rich depiction of life as a Chinese-American and her distinctive flair for creative storytelling and know you will enjoy getting to know her, too.   Please help me welcome my lovely guest, Jennifer Chow!

Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

My early love of childhood reading, spurred on by weekly library visits, inspired me to become a writer.

Tell us what your current release is about, in 2 or 3 sentences.

Three generations in an all-female Taiwanese family living near Los Angeles in 1980 are each guarding personal secrets. Grandmother Silk finds out that she has breast cancer, as daughter Lisa loses her job, while pre-teen granddaughter Abbey struggles with a school bully. When Silk’s mysterious past comes out—revealing a shocking historical event that left her widowed—the truth forces the family to reconnect emotionally and battle their problems together.

Some writers like to let plot ideas percolate and grow for a while before they start writing the story.  Would you say this applies to you as well?

I have a basic idea in mind. While I conduct research, I let the idea simmer. After that, I actually start writing the story, but the characters may take me to a different place than I had first planned.

What’s your typical day like when you’re between writing projects?

I spend my time revising finished stories and connecting with readers. Also, I chase after my two young daughters.

The 228 Legacy front cover(1)

What’s your favorite time of the day and place to write? 

I like to write in solitude. For me right now, that means after the kids are asleep in bed at night. One day, I’m looking forward to starting in the early morning when my mind is fresh.

Three things you know now that you wish you’d known before publishing your first book?

1. Publishing is a very slow business.

2. Write and rewrite (emphasis on the latter).

3. Fiction tastes are subjective. There will be someone who understands what you’re trying to do.

Your favorite desert or snack?

Egg tart (dan tat): a dim sum treat, featuring creamy egg custard inside a flaky, pie-like crust.

Rock or country music?

Both. I grew up in Fresno, which has a large country fan base, and I enjoy listening to the heart-felt songs. I’m also influenced by rock, particularly early rock-n-roll.

Sunset or sunrise?

Sunrise. There’s something breathtaking about the promise of a new day.

Favorite conference memory?
Last year, I met Jamie Ford, author of The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Despite being a NYT bestselling author, he was very down-to-earth. He answered all my questions and encouraged my writing efforts.

 

Jennifer J. Chow, a Chinese-American, married into the Taiwanese culture. The 228 Legacy was inspired by the family stories she heard after viewing photos of a two-million-person human chain commemorating 228. She has traveled multiple times to Taiwan and visited places dedicated to the incident. Her experience with the elderly comes from a gerontology specialization at Cornell University and her geriatric social work experience. You can visit her online at www.jenniferjchow.com.

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Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jennifer!  Readers, another wonderful author to try!  Do stop by Jennifer’s website to learn more about her.  To help her celebrate, I’m giving away a $15.00 Barnes & Noble gift card, a $5 Starbucks drink card, a stack of great summer reads, all tucked into a JP tote bag with lots of  reader goodies for one lucky winner!  For a chance to enter this contest, leave a comment and tell me what you like to discover most about other cultures – food, tradition, language etc.  Contest runs through Friday night and I’ll announce winners on Saturday.  Happy reading!

 

106 Comments

  1. I love trying new foods from other cultures. Being Filipino, I try not to judge food by appearance. I can say that some of the food that my culture makes may not look pretty, but it tastes amazing!

    Jennifer’s book sounds amazing!

  2. I love the clothing from other cultures. American clothes can be so drab and vanilla. I love flowing, colorful clothes that are predominant outside of the US>

  3. I love trying food from other cultures. It is also fascinating to learn about their traditions. When I spent summers in Washington, D.C. as a college student, it was my mission to hit as many different types of food as possible (Greek, Afghani, Ethiopian, etc.)

  4. I love learning the traditions of other cultures… I would love to say food but I am a wimp when it comes to new things!

  5. I love to discover new food.
    We had an international dinner group a while back and I just loved to try out new food. I had a blast and learned to make a super easy tomato sauce.

  6. I love trying food from other cultures. I used to not be very adventurous, but since opening up my kind, I have discovered many new foods that I love.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new author.

  7. I like learning about another culture’s tradition, seeing if there is any similarity to some of ours. Food..depends…don’t think I’d hesitate with a dessert but entrée, depends!

  8. The 228 Legacy sounds so interesting! I’m putting that book on my to-read list.

    The interesting things to learn about other cultures: FOOD, romance, architecture, family tradition… I could go on and on. I look forward to traveling more when retired, but reading about other cultures fills in that void.

  9. The food is amazing. I remember first arriving in Germany and ordering a salad which turned out to be kraut and beans! I love that my favorite food, spaghetti, is popular in so many different cultures.

  10. What I like about other cultures is learning more about their traditions, sampling their foods, and the different meanings of gestures and expectations for behavior.

  11. Hi everyone,
    A huge thanks to Jane Porter for supporting me! Thank you all your interest. It sounds like a lot of you are food lovers. There is some description of different dishes in my book, too, so I hope you enjoy it.

  12. Being an adopted Korean who was raised in a white family, I would love to learn about my culture, its history and traditions. Not so much on the food just from what I have heard : )

    Its on my bucket list to go visit. Maybe even get the courage to find my birth parents/family???

  13. Thanks so much for featuring Jennifer Chow. I had not heard of her before and I will absolutely be getting her book. I love to hear and read about other cultures…and I think the more we know about others the better!

  14. Other cultures are fascinating and extremely worthwhile to learn about. I enjoy their food, traditions and then I try to learn their language. Being interested in other cultures is meaningful and important. thank you for your introduction to this new author.

  15. The food. Definitely the food. You can really learn a lot about the history of a culture based on the types of ingredients that go into their meals.

  16. I love to learn about traditions of other cultures as well as the food! In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, I found the secret language of the women fascinating.

  17. I’ve been a lot of places. So trying new foods is always fun and I like trying to at least get some basics of the language but I’m a huge fan of learning the history of places

  18. Definitely the food of other cultures! My sons (in their 20s) have really picked this up too! Always finding new restaurants to go to when we visit!

  19. I’m a very picky eater, so the food is scary to me! But I like to hear how different cultures celebrate holidays.

    Take care,

    Amy P

  20. Food is always fun, and I love learning/reading the literature of other cultures. Naturally, few experiences can surpass having the chance to actually visit and live in another place, but the tastes and words can sometimes be pretty exciting too!

    Jennifer, I’m thrilled to be introduced to you and your writing–as a Chinese American (also married to a Taiwanese hubby), I do love finding authors who share some of that background and enjoying how that percolates into their writing and informs their views.

    Looking forward to picking up The 228 Legacy! Best wishes to you and your family!

  21. Congratulations Jennifer! This sounds like a very interesting book. I love learning about different cultures and learning their traditions.

  22. I love to discover the history and traditions of different cultures most of all – I find them so interesting!

  23. For me: It’s all 3! I love to discover new things about a place and wonder what it was like years ago.. Love it

  24. Food’s always good.
    What I appreciate most about learning about other cultures is their norms. I love to listen to the language, watch the body language and social interactions. While we may not understand what words we say, there is so much in common in our goals, our roles and the things that make us happy.
    Oh yeah, Desserts work, too 🙂

  25. This new author sounds amazing and I have yet to be disappointed with any of your recommendations Jane! I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

    1. It didn’t post the rest of my comment! Lol I love to ask people from other cultures what they are passionate about from their own lives And what is their favorite thing to do that is not a tradition in my culture. 🙂

  26. I love to learn about the desserts from different cultures; and i love it if they have a meaning or reason for making them.

  27. I love trying new types of food. Recently we went to an Indian restaurant and it was wonderful. The owner even gave us a tour of the kitchen and showed us how they make their “bread”.

  28. I have a wall of pictures of my husband and I in many different countries and there is always food or wine in the pictures!!

  29. Hi! Thanks for introducing me to another new author, love to read her book! I love trying new foods. One of my son’s friends taught me how to make sushi and egg rolls, while he wanted to learn how to make spaghetti sauce and meatballs. I’ve been learning from a good friend who’s native American how to use natural herbs for soap and perfumes, its been fun! I’m a Italian so they want to know how I was brought up and of course the food! I love to cook and bake!

  30. Jane,Thanks for introducing us to Jennifer. Jenniefer, wishing you much success. Your book has defintely peeked my interest.

    I love learning about different cultures and traditions. I am always a little scared to try new foods, but if the ingredients don’t scare me, then I will usually try.

  31. I love the history and architecture of different places, as well as the different ways people dress. Will put “The 228 Legacy” on my “to read” list!

  32. I love learning about the traditions of other culture and how they came about. Having many food allergies, I am often hesitant to try new things unless I know what ingredients were used.

  33. I enjoy the food and culture, but mostly the family traditions. This sounds interesting. It reminds me a bit of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, which I thought was a wonderful book (and movie). I will definitely add this to my “to read” list.

  34. I’m editing a book I wrote which takes place in Hong Kong. I loved doing the research on Hong Kong and Chinese culture! It really made me want to visit China someday.
    The 228 Legacy sounds very interesting!

  35. Thanks for offering these great contests! I think it’s so awesome that you’re willing to continue to support and give to your readers through more than just your books. I like to learn about different cultures religious backgrounds and cultural belief system.

  36. I find all aspects of other cultures interesting. How they dress, what they eat, how they live, education, marriage ceremonies, raising children, and so on. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  37. Love to learn about different cultures and try the food and of course read stories. In February at Bellevue Square the Taiwanese community had a Chinese New Years festival with samples of food, the dragon run, dancing and theatre presentations – it was great. I display the Taiwan calendar I got there at my desk at work and imagine being where the photos were taken; such a mysterious and exotic location across a big ocean from me.

  38. My family loves experimenting with different foods from all kinds of cultures. We also love traditions and holidays and like to learn about other countries.

  39. The easiest is trying the food from other cultures. Going to festivals is another way to learn about a different culture.

  40. I like to learn all I can about other cultures. The customs particularly though.

    Thank you for introducing a new author to me.

  41. I like to discover the different foods/recipes of other cultures.
    I’m old enough that I remember when we were first introduced to pizza!

    I would love to be entered in the contest for books and goodies.

  42. Thanks for introducing up to Jennifer. I wish her all the best in her writing career, no doubt she will be successful.I just love these author interviews!

  43. I love to discover other cultures sense of style- decorations, clothing, practices. I find style so beautiful and fascinating

  44. I love exploring new types of food and I enjoy finding out what kinds of crafts and hobbies people have in other countries and cultures.

  45. The food of course! I love trying foods from different cultures.

    I also like trying chocolate that is made in different countries. I have a friend who when she travels overseas brings me back the chocolate from that country.

  46. I love the food of other cultures and also the history particularly of China and Japan that I studied many many many years ago in college. Asian anthropology was also interesting. There is so very much to learn!

  47. I enjoy trying new foods. I went on a group trip to New York with elder hostel and we traveled to different areas of the city and tried a variety of different ethnic foods. It was fabulous. I would love to do that in other countries.

  48. Congrats to Jennifer!

    For some time I cleaned a funeral home. It was very interesting to see the differences between cultures as to how they honored the death of a loved one.

  49. What I love most about other cultures is the history, the artifacts, the traditions, the people and the stories they can share.
    The 228 legacy sounds like a very interesting book, especially the historical facts behind it.

  50. I want to learn about the history of “everyday people” and how life was and is for them. How did/do customs and the lay of the land affect them? Why were their stories not told before?

  51. I love visiting grocery stores in other countries. I always find something new and different, especially in the chocolate and chip aisles. Each culture always has its own unique seasonings and pairings.

      1. I am so glad that you mentioned that. I remember my father yelling at me as a child about how he didn’t spend all this money taking me to Europe to eat McDonald’s. Today, I make a point of eating at a McDonald’s at least once while someplace new. The cultural differences are small, but everyone can recognize them. This, for me, makes it a better cultural indicator than eating in a fancy restaurant.

  52. The food and the traditions. It’s exciting to read about the History of these cultures and to try their foods.I’m so glad I found Jennifer Chow here on your blog. I’ve got her book on my TRL for the library. I’m looking forward to reading The 228 Legacy. I really enjoy these type of stories. Thanks for the chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  53. I love to see and architecture from other cultures. Joseph Campbell said that you can tell what’s most important about a culture by it’s highest buildings…I know the highest buildings will be different in cities and some rural areas…i.e., in a city, the tallest buildings will be offices and in a rural area you may still find a church steeple higher than every other building. And art offers a glimpse into beauty. 228 sounds like a great book and I hope everyone’s August rocks!

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  55. Hi everyone,
    I’m down to my last day in Hawaii and we’ll be heading back to San Clemente tomorrow. It’s tough staying indoors when there so much fun to be had outside! But I wanted to pop in and announce the winner for this blog contest:

    #43 Brenda Crider

    Congrats, Brenda! Drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get the prize in the mail!
    Thanks everyone else for commenting. I’ll check in with you all from CA soon!
    Jane xoxo

  56. U like to hear how people celebrate special occasions, like birthdays and Christmas. I also am curious to know peoples lifestyle. A friend of mine from Poland told about her mom who still lives there. Mom had to have her leg amputated and lived on the third floor of an appartment building WITH NO ELEVATOR but refused to move because she had always lived there and her neighbors and been there for 30 years and they were all close knit. In America people move in and out of apartments all the time without much thought about the neighbors.

  57. I love tasting foods from other cultures! I guess that’s why I can’t lose weight! I love my food! Thanks for the giveaway!

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