Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of her debut novel “The Astonishing Color of After”. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi, and she received her MFA in fiction from the NYU Creative Writing Program where she was a Goldwater Fellow.
“The Astonishing Color of After” received five starred reviews and is a Wall Street Journal’s top 12 picks of the season. Entertainment Weekly described her first novel as “accessible and compelling.” and was also recommended by other popular media outlets like Buzzfeed, Book Riot, PopSugar and more.
In today’s episode, we get deep into discussion about Emily’s career paths and why and how she made the shift from business to writing.
We dive into the details about “The Astonishing Color of After”, from the family story that inspired her to write the novel, to discovering the voice in her story, and to her editing process. Emily also shares what it was like to re-discover Taiwan as an adult for the research phase of her book.
Further into our conversation, we talk about the importance of trusting your instincts when sharing your work with your peers, the role that negative space serves in crafting short stories, and tips on organically marketing your novel.
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“I want to have that community. I want to be immersed and surrounded by people who are reading novels and who are talking creatively and talking about the things that they’re creating and the characters they’re making and the stories they’re trying to tell.”
“It’s really crucial to be able to take away and let the negative space speak for itself.”
“I kind of just wanted to create in this cave with just myself which at times is very lonely but I also feel like I sort of needed it for this book. I needed to develop the confidence to trust in my own words and in my own voice again.”
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- Emily’s shift in career paths and the success and happiness she found in her dream career
- Emily’s family story that inspired her to write “The Astonishing Color of After”
- How to overcome feeling overwhelmed during your research process
- The importance of writing your story in the voice you know best
- The role negative space serves in crafting short stories
- A look into Emily’s editing process to rework the world of “The Astonishing Color of After”
- Tips on organically marketing your novel
- The importance of trusting your instincts when sharing your work with your peers
Learn More About “The Astonishing Color of After”
“Emily X.R. Pan’s brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book.”–John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
Learn More About Emily X.R. Pan
Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After, which Entertainment Weekly called “accessible and compelling.” Emily currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA in fiction from the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. The Astonishing Color of After is her first novel.
Books & Resources Mentioned in Emily’s Episode:
Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Chuck Wachtel – NYU Professor