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Indie Author Spotlight Interview: Tao Wong

Hello my Bookish Gremlins it's Wednesday and that means it's time to get to know another amazing Indie author! This week's author is Tao Wong, author of several successful series all in various subgenres of fantasy. So let's dig into the mind of Tao Wong.

Let us get to know you:

1. Where are you from? Does that have any impact on your writing?

I grew up in Malaysia and am of Chinese descent, so definitely! It impacts my worldview a lot, from

everything from the areas of history and culture I grow interested in, the aspects of colonization and

racism and othering as well as the diaspora experience and, of course, food! Can’t help but become a

foodie in Malaysia.

2. How old were you when you first started writing your own stories?

I truthfully can’t remember. I am sure I wrote a few stories as a kid, just little things put into a notebook here and there. So at a guess, at least by 8 if not 9.

3. What do you do to relax?

Exercise, take long baths, read and watch tvs and movies. Sometimes, just walking around

neighborhoods or hiking.

4. Was there any one moment in your life that made you want to become an author?

I’ve always told myself stories. It’s just something I did. Actually writing a story, I’ve done a few over the years including work in my teens and early twenties. I’m not sure there was ever a moment, it just felt like something I wanted to do, to tell the stories.

5. How many unfinished novel ideas do you have lying around?

Hahahahaha! So. Many. So, so many. I can’t count, but I have a giant file list of plot bunnies. Some are shorts, others full novels. I don’t count. I’ll never get it all done.

6. While I love to rep all Indie Authors I like to spotlight those that are part of marginalized

communities, would you say you are a part of such a demographic? How do you think this

influences your writing?

Growing up in Malaysia, I saw the effects of colonization a lot more closely and differently than those in North America. I saw the diaspora and how it changed (and didn’t) aspects of culture, how being third generation makes for a weird balance. Then, of course, moving to North America; I get to see it all with fresh eyes, and living in Europe and traveling there, I get to see how different cultures react to my culture and me.

I guess all of this is brought in, from the need for family (found families), for individuals making their way through strange worlds and situations, relying on themselves and still needing a community, a view on colonization and speceism and racism that is reflected in my works that are paralleled there too.

A bit about your writing:

1. How do you go about writing? Are you a planner or do you just write?

I’m a plantser. I know my beginning, I know my end of both the book and the series. And then I just

write, with various staging points and events that I know I have to hit in my head. Those drift and change

a little as I write, but they’re relatively firm.

2. Do you have a preferred writing environment? Such as a Cafe, home office, or just anywhere?

Just anywhere. If I can focus, I can write wherever I want to.

3. Are you a full-time or a part-time writer? How do you think that affects your writing?

I’m full-time. And it doesn’t affect it much, I’m limited by other aspects so I don’t write much more than I did when I was part-time.

4. What do you find to be the most difficult part about writing? The easiest?

Editing is the worst. The easiest is the writing, the first draft when you’re getting down the story. That’s the fun part.

5. What comes first, plot or characters?

The plot. The characters all derail my plots anyway, but I need to know what the plot is before I can

write, so it is always more important. Once I start though, the characters take over.

6. Is there any writing advice you would like to give to a writer working on their first novel?

Make sure to finish it. That boggy middle? That’s common, everyone feels it, just push through. You are too close to judge how good or bad it is right now, so finish it and then review.

7. Why did you choose to publish as an Indie Author?

I neither had the time nor patience to do the traditional route.

8. Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?

Not really. They’re all loved for different reasons, though my favorite work recently has to be the

Nameless Restaurant because I got to write about food. It was a book almost entirely written for me,

with no expectation of sales.

9. You put your efforts into writing, and then managed to publish several book series. How do you

feel now that your work is out in the world?

Great. I love it, and while I sometimes wish some of the older work was more polished – I did the best I could at the time with the skills I had then.

10. And lastly, what are you currently working on? Can we expect to see more books from you in

2024? Possibly more full length novels or novellas?

Yes, so many. I have a sequel to the Nameless Restaurant coming out called Chaotic Apertifs, two novels for A Thousand Li and the second book for Climbing the Ranks. It’s a busy year, as always!

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