Interview with Joyce Chng


Dün Türkçe’sini yayınladığım söyleşinin bugün İngilizcesini yayınlıyorum.

I’ve read Joyce Chng’s book Of Oysters, Pearls And Magic and like it very much. When I saw Chng on Twitter asked for an interview. She was kind to accept and we talked about life, gender and wolves. I translated and posted the interview in Turkish yesterday. Now for English speakers the interview is below. Also you can find my review can be found on Smashwords.

The Interview

  • Of Oysters, Pearl and Magic describes a Chinese and East Asian culture. You are from Singapore and your culture plays an important role in Oysters, Pearl and Magic. For whom did you write these books? If it was for international audience, were you afraid of the reaction, or whether they’ll get it or not?

Joyce Chng: At first, I thought that I was writing for an international audience. But as I progressed and wrote more, I realized I was writing for myself, in some way. I am always curious so to where I came from and how my identity as a Chinese is formed/created.

JC: I wasn’t afraid of the reaction per se. Hesitant, perhaps, because the format of the story wasn’t typical. I was also concerned as to how they would get it or not. I added many Singaporean vernacular words, especially Malay and Chinese dialects. But I felt that languages evolve and in a science fiction setting, especially so.

  • Your characters don’t follow the western norm even for their sexuality. Your female characters are stronger than males. Their strenght is purely female, you deftly avoided the man with boobs characters that some writers create. Do you think we should have more strong female protoganists? (That’s not a criticism by the way, I think there should be more female role models for woman that are strong.)

JC: Definitely! We should have more strong female protagonists. Not the “man with boobs” – but women with real issues, with their own strengths. You do not need to wield a sword to prove that you are strong. Likewise, you can be strong, because you have female strengths.

  •  In Of Oysters, Pearl and Magic, you blend Science Fiction and Fantasy, your Wolf novels are Urban Fantasy. Which genre you feel comfortable, Science Fiction or Fantasy?

JC: I think I am comfortable with both.

  • Your novella was serialized on web. What was the reaction? Is it harder to write serialized novella?

JC: I am not sure about the reaction actually. I think there were people reading and there was a small group of readers and supporters who gave me support and feedback. I was disappointed, initially, because of the lack of response from the lurkers (who read but do not comment or provide feedback). To me, it is definitely harder to write a serialized novella, especially if you have a small reader base.

  • Women in SF debate and your post in WorldSF was very interesting. I bought your book after those. In Turkey we are unaware of Asian writers. There are translations of American and English writers and some old Soviet writers. How can a reader reach to Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy writers? Are there any meetings or a web site for editors and/or readers.

JC: Thank you. I wrote the post as a response how women SFF writers are perceived and how non-United States/United Kingdom women SFF writers end up lingering at the fringes.

JC: I can’t speak for all Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. Malaysia has SFF writers. Singapore’s scene is still very young. Thailand has S. P. Somtow. India’s scene is growing. Japan has its own SFF traditions and cultures. Unfortunately, there is no website for editors and readers. However, the World SF Blog (http://worldsf.wordpress.com) does occasionally feature Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. Expanded Horizons is open to Asian SFF writers: http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine  – and there are great stories by Asian writers here (Zen Cho (Malaysian) and Mint Kang (Singaporean) for example. At the same time, check out The Apex Book of World SF Vol 1 (a link can be found on the World SF blog). Volume 2 is out soon.

  • I liked your book and want to read more from you and Asian writers. Who do you advise?

JC: I would recommend people to visit the World SF Blog and keep an eye out for Asian writers as we do have interviews with SFF writers, both women and men.

  • The life in West and East are very different. Do you think of yourself as an ambassador, or should a writer be an ambassador?

JC: In a way, I do see myself as an ambassador. I see myself as a bridge or go-between. Again, I do not speak for all writers, but yes, a writer should be an ambassador, simply because he or she is a bridge between worlds and conveying messages/words/thoughts from these worlds.

  • If you were wolf and you’re alone in the woods, away from your pack, what would yo do? Can a lone wolf survive without a pack?

JC: I will be terrified. I don’t think a lone wolf can survive without a pack, unless the other pack accepts it. But there are cases where lone wolves form packs with other lone wolves.

  • You’re a mother of two daughters. What do you want them to say, think about you when you pass away, what will be your legacy.

JC: Wow. Good question. I often wonder about this too. I want them to remember me as a writer, a speaker of words, a lover of nature. I am not only their mother, but a part of a long chain of men and women. I want them to remember their heritage, of who they are.

  • What are your web sites? How can we buy your books or ebooks in Turkey?

JC: I maintain my writery blog at A Wolf’s Tale: http://awolfstale.wordpress.com, where I put updates and links to my current and future projects.

JC: My Smashwords website: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jolantru (Winged is a free download here – the print version is at Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/winged-a-novella-of-two-girls/15057038).

JC: You can also check out my urban fantasy novels at Lyrical Press, under my pen-name J. Damask.

You can find Joyce Chng on twitter @jolantru.

 

Hope you like the interview. I’m always on the look for new Science Fiction and Fantasy books. Please send me your recommendations. I’m @kisalar on twitter.

 

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