I’m so happy to interview Maurene Goo, who will be at The Ontario Teen Book Fest. If you are in the Southern California area, please stop by and say hi! I know I’ll be going!
When: Saturday March 21st from 9am to 5pm
Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
The event is sponsored by the lovely Once Upon A Time bookstore in Montrose, CA.
One of the lovely authors you will get to meet is Maurene Goo!
Interview with Maurene Goo author of Since You Asked
What inspired you to become a writer?
I think that for many writers, a love of reading and writing come hand in hand. I always loved to read and that naturally manifested in me writing my own stories when I was younger. Growing up, my teachers always encouraged me to write and in college it was something I really enjoyed doing for both school and for fun. After I graduated, I wrote a lot of personal essay type things (very much inspired by David Sedaris). For some reason, I didn’t think to write fiction until prompted to do so for applying to a creative writing program. SINCE YOU ASKED was my first complete fictional work!
What was the last book you read?
I just finished a graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE, written by Cory Doctorow and illustrated by my friend Jen Wang. It was SO good—such a sweet, empowering story that touches on some topical matters. And BEAUTIFULLY illustrated!
What sparked the idea for Since You Asked?
I was taking one of those Facebook surveys everyone used to pass around—like “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” and I thought, “What if someone filled out one of these really obnoxiously and everyone got mad at them?” So I started to do it for fun, and the voice that came out of it was eventually Holly’s. I knew who that character was right away and the rest of the book came after.
Holly is a unique character, grappling with being who she is expected to be and who she really wants to be. How did you find balance being sensitive to both sides?
I think now that I’m older, I am much more sympathetic to Holly’s parents, aka my parents and immigrant parents everywhere. I can see now where they were coming from, why some of the stuff that drove me nuts about them came from a place of caring, uncertainty, and a lot of cultural misunderstanding. So with that mindset, it was easy to be sensitive to both sides. The side of Holly wanting to be who she wanted—that was teen me, 100%, all of her frustrations and identity issues. But then, unlike teen me, I tried to give her a bit more sensitivity and understanding with her parents—to show some growth that probably took me much longer.
What was the most challenging thing about writing Since You Asked?
Overall, because SYA was so weirdly organic, it was such a pleasure and joy to write. Not to say that it was easy, but everything I’ve written after has been MUCH harder! That said, the couple of fight scenes between Holly and her mom were rough. I had to relive the trauma of fighting with my own mom and it was a really emotional process that surprised me. But hopefully that experience makes the scenes authentic and resonates with readers who are dealing with/have dealt with similar battles.
How do you like your potato?
I love potatoes in all forms: baked, fried, mashed—you name it. I just discovered this potato recipe, in fact, and can’t wait to try it: http://food52.com/recipes/33049-hasselback-potato-skillet-bake
Who are some of your favorite writers or inspirations?
Oh my—so many, and they’re all over the place. But I will blurt out a few, in no particular order (and you can probably consider all of them great inspirations to me): Ann M. Martin, David Sedaris, E.M. Forster, Zadie Smith, Beverly Clearly, Jhumpa Lahiri, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Meg Cabot, Ellen Emerson White, Vladimir Nabakov, Aimee Bender, Mindy Kaling, Jane Austen, John Krakauer, Richard Yates, Dave Eggers, Nicole Krauss, Junot Diaz, L.M. Montgomery, Roald Dahl, Alice Munro, etc.!!!
Do you buy a book based on its cover?
I’m also a designer so YES, very guilty of doing this. In my opinion, YA book design is getting so much better as we speak! More graphic, illustrated stuff out there—definitely my jam.
What are you working on/writing right now?
I’m working on several things—but gotta’ keep quiet for now! I will say that one is another YA contemporary featuring a Korean American girl, and another is treading middle grade waters. We shall see!
You will also get to meet these authors!
Be sure to check out the other awesome blogs that are participating in this blog tour!
Official Blog Tour Schedule
February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie
March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says
March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions
March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later
March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later
March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA
March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape
March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books
March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives
March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy
March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote
March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books
March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says
March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader
March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages
March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews
March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie
March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books
March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels
March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader