Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Interview with Vivien Chien

Enter the MapYourMystery giveaway.

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My most recent book is called Death by Dumpling. It’s the first in my new Noodle Shop mystery series AND my very first published book.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
The idea for Lana Lee as a character came to me as an alternate version of life. When I was little, my mother owned a gift shop, and I spent a lot of time there as a child. As I got older, I often wondered what my life would have been like had the store stayed in our family. Would I have to work there and take over the family business, or could I have still gone my own route? I’ll never know the answer to that question, but fortunately for me, I can tinker with Lana’s life.

Picking the location was an easy choice. Cleveland is home, and I wanted to showcase it in my series. Of course, I took some liberties, but for the most part, the city is still intact.

The series has a central location, which is Asia Village, an Asian shopping plaza that resides in Fairview Park. The plaza itself is fictional, but it was loosely inspired by an actual Asian shopping plaza located on the east side of Cleveland.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
No one day is the same, I can tell you that. Some days you are glued to the computer completely focused and writing like a maniac. Other times, you’re wasting away the day trying to figure out which filter on Instagram would make your book cover pop the best.

I have a full-time job as well, so I write on evenings after work and on the weekends. Weekdays I try to write 1000-2000 words a night, and on weekends I have writing marathons where I set my goal at 5000-10,000 words. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it helps keep me focused.

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
Yes, I belong to Sisters in Crime both nationally and locally. I think it’s important to join a writers group of some type. SinC is a great organization and it has helped tremendously with my writing. Not only have I learned a lot about the craft through different events and programs they offer, but I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. A big perk of joining a writers group is not necessarily just for feedback on your writing, but about being a part of a cluster of people that actually understand what you’re going through. The support you get from other writers is so amazing. I think a lot of times they are the ones reassuring me that I haven’t completely lost my mind.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know? 
Not really. All of my characters are a hodge-podge of life or things that piqued my interest at one point or another. Occasionally I’ll meet a passerby and think to myself… “They would make a great character.” I have a few of those types sprinkled in the series.

Who is your favorite author? 
Now that is a tough question! To pick just one seems impossible. In the mystery genre, it is definitely Sue Grafton. But, if you let me write you a numbered list, we may be here awhile.

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
I keep a detailed profile for each of my characters (even the little guys). Since beginning the Noodle Shop series, I also try to have a timeline of events to help remind me of specific happenings in their lives. If all else fails, the previous book is always a good reminder!

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career? 
If I could do anything I wanted, I would be a bookshop owner. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by books all day. And coffee. There would be lots and lots of coffee.

 Vivien's next book,  Dim Sum of All Fears will be out August 28.

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