I grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. I currently live in Vancouver with my husband and two kids, where I write to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time).
You're stuck on a desert island, and you have your choice of one type of food, one music album, and one book. What do you choose for each?
For food, it would be sushi (though chocolate runs a close second!). For music, one album is tough because I’m more of a singles person, so I’m going to cheat: Snow Patrol’s "Final Straw", Eminem’s "Recovery", or KOL’s "Only By the Night." For a book, incredibly hard to pick just one, but Watership Down by Richard Adams.
What are some of your oddest writing habits?
I find it really hard to write with someone else in the room. I have to drown them out with music and just try to forget they’re there.
What advice would you give to another writer?
Read, read, read. Then read some more. Not just with a reader’s eye, but a writer’s eye. You’ll begin to mentally take note of things like pacing, tone, mood, all which help you develop your own voice and sense of style. Finding reliable beta readers and critique partners is also a good idea, though I admit I’ve never used either. And don’t be scared of rejection, whether it’s from an agent or an editor; instead, think of it as being brave enough to take a risk.If you could have any supernatural power, what would it be?
I wish I never had to sleep! I don’t get very much as it is, but even that seems like wasted time.
Do you think there needs to be more diversity in young adult fiction?
Yes—not just from a racial standpoint, but how about more niche cultures, or gender bending characters?What is your favorite Asian dish?
Sushi! If I could, I’d eat it every day. Dim sum is pretty awesome, too.Do you enjoy anime or manga?
I don’t watch much anime anymore, but I don’t think I could ever not love manga. Some of my favourite series are Mars, Basara, GTO, 20th Century Boys, Fruits Basket, Immortal Rain, Kare Kano. Now that I’m writing, it’s hard to keep up with all the new series being released, so I’m still working my way through a whole bunch: Vampire Knight, Nana, Bakuman. My kids read tons of manga now, which I think is great. My husband reads it, too; between the four of us, we’ve amassed a pretty extensive library.Do you feel like your Asian heritage influenced your writing at all?
Absolutely, because it goes hand in hand with childhood. What we go through growing up makes a huge impact on who we end up becoming—not just as writers but as people. Dealing with racism and just not feeling right in my own skin on a regular basis was really, really difficult. But if I could go back and change any of it, I wouldn’t.
Thank you so much for sharing, Elsie! To learn more about Elsie and Dualed, stalk her on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.
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