Curious about choosing the best editor for your story? Ways to carve out writing time amidst a busy schedule? Or how about crafting strong characters? We talk about it all and more with Abigail Hing Wen.
Abigail is the author of her debut novel Loveboat, Taipei. She holds a BA from Harvard and a JD from Columbia. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Abigail and I kick off the conversation talking about how she discovered her love for storytelling at such a young age and how it inspired her career path working in law, business, and being an author. She shares her experience showing her family her writing for the first time and how her vulnerability strengthened her craft. We then dive into her debut novel, Loveboat, Taipei, and chat about the inspiration behind the story and how she crafted her characters by drawing from personal experience. She reflects on getting her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spills her top three takeaways from the program that helped boost confidence in her writing. And later, we talk about her adventurous research process, how to pick the best editor for your story, and tips on finding time to write with an insanely busy schedule.
Books and resources:
- Abigail’s Lit Hub article Confessions of an Undercover Novelist
- The Ugly Duckling and The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stephen King
- President and Literary Agent Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media (listen to Joanna’s 88 Cups of Tea episode right here!)
- Fresh of the Boat written by Eddie Huang
- Love Boat: Taiwan documentary created by Valerie Soe
- Author Shelley Tanaka
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway
- Abigail’s reaction to trying Teaspoon’s Passion Attraction drink they created for Loveboat, Taipei’s book launch!
- Mulan directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft
- Author R.L. Stine
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Curious about those incredible glamour shots we couldn’t stop talking about in abigail’s episode? Take a look!
Check out the highlights from our discussion:
- Abigail shares how she was captivated with storytelling at a young age (3:55)
- She gives us a peek into her career path working in law and business all while becoming an author (5:39)
- Her experience sharing her writing with her family for the first time (14:42)
- All about the exciting program that inspired her novel Loveboat, Taipei (17:50)
- How Abigail crafted her characters in Loveboat, Taipei by drawing from her experiences of rebellion and self-discovery (25:22)
- She reflects on her experience growing up as a minority in America (30:12)
- Why she chose Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) to get her MFA and how it helped boost her confidence in her craft (35:50)
- Find out what Abigail’s adventurous research process looked like for her novel (38:15)
- How she overcame crafting the most challenging scene in her book (44:30)
- How to choose the best editor for your story (45:00)
- Tips on carving out time for your craft when you have a busy schedule (46:05)
“Every day we’re learning, and we’re growing new skills, and I think that’s the writer part of me who loves to find new ideas and new experiences.”Abigail Hing Wen
“I was healed in the ways that I needed to be healed in terms of embracing my own culture, and so I’m not coming to the table as half a person, I’m coming to the table with my whole self because I understand the coolness of being Asian American and the cool parts of being of Chinese culture as well as American culture.”Abigail Hing Wen
“You need to be willing to disrupt the status quo and to fight against authorities if things need to be changed, and I think that’s what Love Boat did for us.”Abigail Hing Wen
“You don’t write a scene straight through; you actually need to write the same scene from multiple points of view from the characters that are in that scene so that every character is coming to the scene with a goal and they’re driving something forward, and that really impacts the way the entire scene plays out.”Abigail Hing Wen
Say “Hi” to Abigail Hing Wen:
Learn More about Loveboat, Taipei:
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.
But not every student is quite what they seem:
Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.
Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.
When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.” And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.
Learn more about Abigail Hing Wen:
Abigail Hing Wen holds a BA from Harvard and a JD from Columbia. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Like Ever, she is obsessed with musicals. When she’s not writing stories or listening to her favorite score, she is busy working as an attorney in venture capital and artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Loveboat, Taipei is her first novel.