Interview with Sophia Mah

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. Maybe it was a SoCal thing - people got the gist of your meaning from facial expressions or intonation or I hung out with a bunch of mind readers, but according to my ex-husband I didn't speak in full sentences. He gave me grief about it and I got rid of both that habit of clipped conversation and him. My half-sentence background might explain some of my choppy sentence structure - I think of it as my retro-Valley Girl style.
When did you first start writing?
I was first introduced to creative writing in fourth grade. Mr. Sheldon Tilles was a huge fan of creative writing, and he had this idea that precocious 9 year-old kids could flex their minds and hone their writing skills with weekly short story assignments. I hated those writing assignments at the time, mostly because I hated penmanship and my hand cramped after ten minutes. Now, in the computer age, look what I love to do! Bless your prophetic heart, Mr. Tilles, wherever you are :)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The lack of agents banging on my door and demanding the privilege of representing me. Definitely a major factor.

I appreciate the forum provided by Smashwords to get my short stories out to readers. Getting stories out to people (and watching the number of downloads increase) is very gratifying.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a novel that features Lily and her sisters (including a half-sister who, in the first chapter, brains her husband with a cast iron skillet by accident). Other stories that originate from the novel may appear in Smashwords in the future.
Who are your favorite authors?
So many great authors: Richard Russo (subtle humor), Carrie Vaughn (laugh out loud entertaining), Wally Lamb (delicate touch with scarred psyches), Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite novel), F. Scott Fitzgerald (general brilliance) - the list goes on...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Getting the kids to school, Monday through Friday. On the weekend, it's breakfast.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading great books and thinking, "Fabulous!" or "I am not worthy..." or "That just made my day!"
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
"My Life as a Donut" - a Mr. Tilles writing assignment. No idea where the original story is now - I would love to see it. And rewrite it.
What is your writing process?
Sit at computer and open current chapter file; read what's there and edit; write a few lines; cross out over half of them; stare out the window; walk the dog; sit at the computer again; write a few more lines; wonder what I'm going to cook for dinner; clean/pay bills/run errands; sit at computer and stare out the window; write a few words/sentences/paragraphs/pages; pick up kids from school and do family stuff till everyone else (including the dog) goes to bed; read what's on the computer screen and either edit/write some more/delete madly; go to bed.

Repeat for several months.

Then have a diva meltdown moment and demand of my husband, "How am I supposed to get any writing done??" Take very patient and supportive husband's advice and book a few days in a hotel somewhere and get several chapters written. Start over at the top.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design ideas usually hit me, complete, when I'm not really thinking about them. My husband is the photographer and Photo Shop magician. I tell him what I want and he makes it happen.
Published 2015-07-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Sobriety Test
Price: Free! Words: 2,930. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Doris Tsang is the "most successful" of the three Tsang sisters. She's the superior court judge married to a respected medical research scientist for over thirty years. Her three sons are graduate students in medicine and law school. She's always kept to the straight and narrow path - but her hunky new law clerk has her thinking about a detour...
Price: Free! Words: 4,400. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Nineteen year-old college tennis star Gina Tsang dropped out of school to marry her sweetheart, baseball star Jonathan Lee, who was recently drafted into the professional league. Five years, multiple affairs by John and a black eye later, she returns to her love of tennis to recover a measure her of self-worth.
A Perfect Storm
Price: Free! Words: 4,400. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Lily Tsang met her husband-to-be Kyle when they were both struggling artists. Eight years later, they are both famous in their fields, but now Kyle struggles with what might be fleeting success. He's bringing the problems with his stress and ego into their marriage. Lily's response is to retreat into her art - for now.
Time Will Reveal
Price: Free! Words: 4,540. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
1985: Jessica Chou is at the biggest dance of the season and she's got the attention of two men: the cute pre-med gymnast with the hot, flexible bod and the sweet nerd with surprising dance moves. Her choice will have repercussions felt a decade later. Short story prequel to the novel CHOPSTYX.