Sally Suen Interview Published on: 15, May 2020

Born in the beautiful Nine Gorge World Heritage site in Sichuan, China, which is your favorite childhood memory?

I remember crossing a suspension bridge going to the other side of a river with a whole bunch of older kids. there was a big swirl there and the big kids liked to challenge each other who could stand nearest the swirl and still without moving. It was such a stupid idea judging from an adult. But I remember for us all smaller kids, that was an exciting time, like watching heroes. 

How long did it take you to adjust o a flashy world where streets wer illuminated by the neon lights that blanketed both sides?

I don't remember how long it actually took me to adjust the new world. I was so little. Small children adjust everything so fast. In my memory, it feels like it's just next day that I learned the new language. But I'm sure there was very stressful time not understanding what everyone was saying and not understanding teachers and was laughed at when I didn't know what to say or said the wrong things. But those memories didn't register for long. 

How did an imaginary world with fairy tales and love stories became an escape for you?

This may sound very silly to you and others. The very first story I read and the very first movie I watched was "Cinderella". I immediately imagined myself as Cinderella. We did share some aspects in our lives. I had a stepmother who wasn't nice to me, I had to do all house chores, and I had a step sister who dumped all her chores to me while she sat around being lazy. So Cinderella spoke to me immediately and I imagined a prince coming to take me away. You could say either I was desperately romantic in nature, or I was desperately foolish in believing there would be a prince. But don't we all have some sort of fantasy when we were young. I just took that imagination more seriously and wrote it into a book. Nevertheless, I don't necessarily think it's a good idea to read fairy tales of such to our children in this era. They only imagine having a magic wand that would bring them iphones. 

Have you found your love under the beautiful oat tree, or by the beach?

Again, this question is about me being desperately romantic or desperately foolish in nature, you're welcome to judge. I did sit under a beautiful oak tree and imagined a prince like boy walking by and the sight of seeing a nice girl reading a nice book sitting in a nice way captured his heart. The truth is that I found out sitting on a giant tree root on the ground actually cut and hurt my buttocks and my facial muscle couldn't help twitch to form a wry look constantly (meaning I wasn't looking pretty at all). The dropping of acorns hurt like hell. The wind churned up dust and leaves that I had to constantly wipe them off my book. As you can imagine, I couldn't maintain even sitting still (forget elegance). As a result, I failed to capture any soul. Same as beach, the wind is always stronger there and plenty more of sand dust so go figure.  I've learned since then reality always disappoints. It is our duty in this life to find hope and enlightenment to bring us out of that disappointment so we can move on. I've learned to keep my imagination in my story telling. 

What inspired you to write Crystal Cove?

The real state beach of Crystal Cove is in Southern California. It is a beach, to me, that offers power, strength, spirit of perseverance, adventure, magic and life. I was deeply drawn by it at first sight and I told myself “there has to be a love story that happens here”.

In what ways do you help people achieve their goals of wellness?

I am also a registered dietitian practicing for more than 20 years. I see a group of people with diabetes and other life style diseases. I help them make goals and walk with them to achieve the goals.

What are some of the things you have learned from your favourite authors?

One, show but not tell.

Two, details and details and details.

Who inspired the character of Lili in "Crystal Cove"?

All who have loved and shared their love stories with me. And there is certainly some shadow of myself there.

How much do you research while writing Historical Romance books?

For this particular book, I didn’t have to much research. I lived that time.

What are your top 5 writing and marketing tips?

That, I’m still struggling to find out. I am never shy when given a platform, but how to find and build that platform in this area is new to me. Will appreciate your input.

What is one weird writing trick you do that helps you?

I talk to myself constantly to a point that I could be identified as schizophrenic if you run to me at that precise point, except that I’m fully aware of it and I know I have freaked out my son before. It helps me assume the character and feel what they feel (or what I want them to feel) as the voice brings them alive.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself as an author in 10 years' time?

My goal is two adult fictions, two children’s books, one wellness non fiction book. I have two children’s stories written that I’m in the process of editing and looking for an agent. That’s plenty for the next 10 years to come.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

Currently, I’m working on my second book. It is a story about a girl adopted by an old English couple in Hong Kong when her native family in China is too poor to raise her. There is also a love story of course, that is a promise.

How has your experience of being associated with AllAuthor been?

Book cover contest was fun. Crystal Cove landed top #23. But other than that, nothing else has happened. If you have any idea how it can better marketed. I appreciate if you can chime in.

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