Interview with Gloria Ng

Who are your favorite authors?
Let me answer this question first by telling you about Career Week.

My third grade teacher held a week-long exploration into careers, what it meant to work. The week culminated with a report-back to the whole class about what we wanted to be when we grew up. At the beginning of the week, I felt lost and intimidated that my peers just knew what they wanted to be--doctors, dentists, etc.

Imagine my delight when by the end of the week I realized what I wanted to be: an author, someone who could create a livelihood just by writing stories. I dashed home to tell my mother, too, but she just frowned and asked if I had met other people who were actually authors.

The person that came to my mind immediately was the creator of the Boxcar Children Series, Gertrude Chandler Warner (April 16, 1890 - August 30, 1979). She was a primary school teacher during the academic year and a story writer during the summer. I thought that writing was such a cool occupation, and I told my mom I could do just that -- teach during the academic year and writing during the summers.

So my favorite author is Gertrude Chandler Warner, for being who she was and gifting her magic in the Boxcar Children Series. Without her as a model, I never would have come into my own as an author.
What do you read for pleasure now?
I love reading about spirituality, particularly about Nichiren Buddhism and any publications that are recommended by the Soka Gakkai International. Having become a practitioner within the U.S. branch, I shed so many layers and years of crud that shielded me from my true first love of creative writing that I am forever grateful to have found this Buddhist practice!

It took me until the fifth year of Buddhist practice to realize several truths:
2009 was the year I realized I wanted to take up the pen again after a long hiatus.
Truth: You can't run from yourself, who you are, and what you love.

2010 was an endless struggle to strategize how to get there, without actually writing anything.
Truth: You can't call yourself a writer if you don't write at all.

2011 was the run-around brainstorming, when I still felt scared about what to really write about. So I dabbled in the children's book genre and ended up in the Amazon Bestseller Top 3. I also got to contribute to an anthology that sparked me to generate an anthology of my own.
Truth: You must write what excites you. If you have several works you finished or did not quite finish and the weight of revising or revisiting them only holds you down, then you should just move on to the next project and stick to it toward completion. No excuses.

2012 was a kick-in-the-butt, no-excuses-now release of the "New Moms, New Families" anthology I edited.
Truth: Only passion and prayer kept me going. The three-month roller coaster from ideation to manifestation of fifteen authors coming together to birth the work was worth the ride!

2013 was the year I came out with two fiction books and realized I did not want to give up writing non-fiction either. So I'm looking forward to bringing you my latest work, "Well Water Woman."
Truth: Creativity is a winding road. Follow your muse, but don't mistake your muse as the end product. Use the muse as a means to manifest your mission, the mission that is only unique to you and that you alone can accomplish.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in San Francisco but grew in identity consciousness at Davis. A saying that came out of the feminist movement is "The personal is political." I truly believe that the personal lives, as voiced by women, have a quiet beauty and power to cause ripples of transformation and sea changes across society and nationhood.

Another saying from my mentor in faith, Daisaku Ikeda, goes: "A great human revolution in just a single individual ... will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind." So I believe the power of the pen, especially in personal narratives and nonfiction, to create this change.

The world needs our honesty, whole and complete spiritual truths that affirm the dignity and sanctity of all life. I hope to hear more voices in the coming years, from all kinds of women, from all walks of life, from all mixes of cultures.

Looking at my own published works, traditional and self-published, I would say that all of my work is somehow alternative supplements to the mainstream voice. So if you ever want to know or read something other than what is often marketed in the mainstream channels, then perhaps you can check out my work.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
From my earliest memory, I remember handwriting a story on hole-punched legal pad paper with a paper clip binding the holes together to form my first "book."

In my primary school mind at the time, a book was always bound. A story needed to be long enough to be a book that could be bound.

Much later, in middle school, I recall a story I wrote about the death of a friend. The story was pure fiction in that neither I nor my friends have had any friends pass away. Yet, I remember that story because my middle school English teacher wanted me to read the story aloud in class. After I read it aloud, I got to pick a book from the teacher's closet. I was so happy to "win" a book!

I no longer have a copy of the story. Again, another reason why I use computers to write and purchased some external hard drives...
What are you working on next?
I was updating my sad GoodReads profile, which had no author bio until I added it on Christmas Eve 2013. As I was updating the profile and adding my latest author pic, I reflected about my 2013 advance as an author. Although I dabbled in a fiction genre (genre and pen name to remain undisclosed), part of me was not ready to just remain in the world of fiction and give up non-fiction entirely. I felt sad I had nothing to show for this year yet in the nonfiction arena.

Thus, I came up with my own personal writer's challenge: create an ebook by 11:59 P.M., Tuesday, December 31, 2013. That way, I can celebrate an accomplishment by New Year's Day 2014 in style!

So my forthcoming work is a short memoir I plan to dedicate to my paternal grandmother. I am very excited about this work, because it has definitely been many years in the making!

The blurb goes like this: A Chinese American female explores and reconstructs her journey from girlhood to womanhood, spawning two generations of memories in an attempt to piece information about the life of a third generation predecessor— a grandmother whom she has never personally met.

Each drop of dialogue, spoken and unspoken, contribute to the living legacy of this female ancestor through the present form or existence of the granddaughter.

This short memoir explores the inner workings of spirit through the cycle of birth, life, death, and eternity.
How do you approach cover design?
I look for images that speak to me. Then I apply the graphic design skills I acquired during college when I rescued an independent student newspaper from falling into extinction over summer break, never to resurface again thereafter. That was my longest summer, the summer I worked the hardest to accomplish something I desperately believed in: the freedom of speech, the voice of the underdog, the often overlooked and unheard perspectives of minority communities.

That summer, I learned every software that transferred words from mind to screen to printed paper. Then, I learned about how to transfer the printed paper to desktop publishing so that the end product could be delivered to the printers--the office of a local daily newspaper--for an initial run of one thousand. Not only that, I learned about fund-raising, grant-writing, outreach, staff recruitment and retention, training and advising, managing and supervising, editing and proofreading, etc.

Although my desktop publishing software skills are now outdated, I am a quick learner and can find anything I need to get done the DIY way via the internet search engines. So although I work with graphic design software that did not exist at the time during my college years, I easily transferred the skills I had before to the software I now use.
Describe your desk.
I wish I could just show you a picture, because the only space I have on my writing desk is space for my laptop.

Sometimes, I take my laptop to the kitchen. Other times, I just sit on the bed and write.

I guess if I had a desktop computer, I would have more reason to keep my desk tidy, neat and available for writing.

Since I have a laptop, though, I'd rather leave you with this image: imagine an indoor contained hurricane. What you just pictured is my desk.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Words inspire me to get out of bed. If I ignore them, they badger me until I get up and turn on my computer to record them.

I used to carry an idea book, a blank book to fill with words. I used to journal and write diary entries, too. I also had a dream journal, an emotion journal, a bucket list journal and so many more! I have quite an assortment of partially and minimally filled-out pages of journals occupying space in storage.

I realize now that I love typing and seeing my words in print, more than seeing them written down by my own hand and getting lost or misplaced in my mess of a desk. Somehow, printed words look more permanent and give me more of a sense that I am "official" and am officially an author.

So words get me out of bed each day (or night, actually, since I write on Owl time). :-)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I like to indulge in a long hot shower. Clean warm running water is such a blessing. The infrastructure that brings water directly to my home is the best set of inventions ever created!

My ebook "Well Water Woman" explores the multiple drops of water that form the cycle of birth, life, death and eternity in three generations. I'm looking forward to the release date! "Well Water Woman" will be my first self-published book on Smashwords, although I have traditionally published before in anthologies and have also self-published through Amazon.

Besides water, I also love using essential oils and making "recipes." My favorite is lavender essential oil, because it is so multi-purpose and therefore cost-effective. Therapeutically, you can use lavender as an antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary. I like diffusing it in the air as well to rid microbes, especially during cold and flu season.

I also love cooking and experimenting with new ingredients and new recipes. What can I say, I'm a home body. If I can earn a livelihood from home, writing books that readers enjoy, that is the Ultimate Home Body Experience (UHBE)!

UHBE = hot showers, essential oils, cooking and creative writing! :-)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Being an indie author means that I can push the edge of what traditional publishers would most likely reject. Instead of submitting and re-submitting my work for a delayed probable rejection, self-publishing allows me to get my alternative work out there in the least amount of time -- to the people who really matter: my readers.

My readers and fans mean a lot to me. If not for you, I would not exist. I would not be motivated to write at all. An author has a special mission. Because we each have such unique perspectives and life experiences, when we "speak" up through our writing and contribute to the collective consciousness of all humanity, we contribute to a sea change -- however little and insignificant it can seem at the time of the book release. I write, not in a vacuum, but for you. Feel free to connect with me via social media. I LOVE hearing from you!

The sea change I mentioned above some folks have actually achieved via blogging. One thing I found out multiple times in the past decade in starting to blog was that I lacked the consistency and spirit to keep a blog going. Blogs seemed to put me in a cage, a prison in which I needed to stay focused on the theme or topic of the blog. With books, I can jump from one topic or theme to the next without causing an identity clash or crisis on a blog.

Bloggers, I love you, too, though. So if you or any reviewer--especially reputable or recommended by colleagues--wants to review my work, I would be happy to provide a complimentary advanced review copy (ARC) for you. Just contact me via my website.
Published 2013-12-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Cloth Diapering Made Easy
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,190. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » Parenting » Pregnancy and Child Birth
This book chapter on cloth diapering appears in "New Moms, New Families: Priceless Gifts of Wisdom and Practical Advice from Mama Experts for the Fourth Trimester and First Year Postpartum." Includes: Elimination Communication (a form of diaper-free potty-training) Easy cloth diaper laundering. Day, night, and travel diaper systems Creative reuse **More ebooks** Sign up: http://eepurl.com/fSDd
Well Water Woman
By
Series: Grandmothers, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,190. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Social Science » Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
Well Water Woman is a personal narrative of a Chinese American female who explores and reconstructs her journey from girlhood to womanhood, piecing information from two generations of memories to weave the life and legacy of the paternal grandmother whom she has never personally met. This short memoir explores the inner workings of spirit through the cycle of birth, life, death, and eternity.