Actually…Not All Subplots Should be in Books

Screen Shot 2019-04-26 at 9.43.10 AMI’ve discovered over the years that not all ideas that seemed brilliant at 10pm ought to be in one’s novel. In fact, even if they feature adorable puppies and fried noodles, they sometimes have to be resisted…

Thanks so much to Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine for featuring this article! Click to read here.


Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine’s Book Club pick for April

54513304_352831948662396_2998508224877685178_nI’m not quite sure how I’m typing because I’m feeling pretty incoherent, but THE NIGHT TIGER has been chosen as Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine’s Book Club!

When the news broke, I was so overcome that I felt like bursting into tears. And eating large quantities of peanut butter and chocolate. It felt pretty unbelievable and overwhelmingly emotional. It’s a funny feeling wanting to turn somersaults and also wanting to have a good cry (in the best possible way). And yet, at the same time I was somehow managing to fold laundry and wash dishes like a hamster on some kind of crazy autopilot.

My thoughts careened from: 

“Wow… just wow… I must be dreaming. Yes, definitely dreaming. When I wake up I promise I’ll never eat so much cheese again.”

to “Ahhhhhhh!!!” (incoherent mind screaming)

and “Perhaps this was all a mistake? And soon somebody will call me and say oh dear, we’re terribly sorry, but we really meant to call Margaret Atwood instead.” 

The only thing that actually came out of my mouth was telling my kids:

“Pizza for dinner!”Continue reading “Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine’s Book Club pick for April”

What’s it like to be interviewed on NPR?

Earlier this week I went to KQED to do an interview with Scott Simon for NPR’s Weekend Edition, to air Feb 9. I am a huge NPR fan and didn’t sleep much the night before (visions of listeners all over the country looking at each other and saying “who is this fool on the radio?”) 😅

Continue reading “What’s it like to be interviewed on NPR?”

THE NIGHT TIGER: A Starred Review from Kirkus!

I woke up to a wonderful surprise the other morning.

Mornings are often rushed, anxious affairs in our house, with one kid waking up late after having sworn the night before (while assembling Boba Fett armor out of cardboard and hot glue) that he had absolutely, positively, finished all his homework (not), and another child remarking plaintively that today was the PTA breakfast and where are the muffins for my class? All with chickens to be fed, lunches packed, and unwashed PE uniforms discovered in backpacks.

But the other morning was the best morning I’ve had, perhaps all year. It began with an email from my publisher, deftly and wonderfully titled: “Starred Kirkus review!!”Continue reading “THE NIGHT TIGER: A Starred Review from Kirkus!”

THE NIGHT TIGER – a chocolate-fueled update!

IMG-1100.JPGIt’s been a long time coming, but my second book is finally done and we have an official announcement! Hooray!!

For those kind and long-suffering readers and friends who’ve been on this journey with me, you’ll know that a few years ago I started saying things like “Oh ya, this book is almost done!” and stopping for mini-chocolate breaks. I was feeling optimistic because the plot included some of my favorite subjects: ghost stories, dead twins, Chinese dancehalls from the 1930s. And tigers. Lots and lots of tigers.

Many absorbing hours were spent in the National Archives of Singapore reading old newspapers on microfiche and trying to figure what the bounty was on man-eating tigers, and what kind of parties people were going to. In the meantime, my book got longer and longer and I started to feel very worried…Continue reading “THE NIGHT TIGER – a chocolate-fueled update!”

Late Night Coping Mechanisms

There’s been a long silence on this blog, not because I haven’t been eating and reading books, but because I’m almost done writing my second novel. I say this with some trepidation because to be honest, I’ve been claiming I’m “almost done” for a while. And all the time, my book keeps getting longer and longer and longer.Continue reading “Late Night Coping Mechanisms”

How to Poach Eggs in Their Shells

A few days ago, we had some friends over for brunch and I decided to serve poached eggs on rice. “Is this going to be raw?” they asked in surprise, as I blithely started to crack eggs over the cooked rice in their bowls.Continue reading “How to Poach Eggs in Their Shells”

My Ill-Fated Elephant Detective Novel

Everyone has a mistake or two hidden in their closet. Mine just happens to be elephant-sized.

A number of people have very kindly (and probably untruthfully) expressed an interest in seeing my ill-fated elephant detective novel. This was the first book that I attempted to write, and it was a disaster.Continue reading “My Ill-Fated Elephant Detective Novel”