Name: Benebell Wen
Asian background: Taiwanese/Hakka
What is it about your experience and upbringing that inspired you the most to write?
I think it’s just reading. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I spent a lot of time at the public library. The only thing I ever wanted to spend my allowance money on was books. My mom called me her little bookworm, because my nose was always stuck in a book. The reason my eyesight is so bad now is because at night after everyone went to sleep, I’d read with a flashlight under my blankets. I think when you read that much, it’s only a matter of time before you decide you also want to write.
Name 3 authors and 3 books
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
Yellow by Don Lee
Toxicology by Jessica Hagedorn
What do you think is the best quality a writer can have?
Not being afraid of or resistant to a major overhaul and revision of your novel after you’ve already completed what you believe to be a good draft. I don’t doubt that your first completed draft of that novel is decent, but no matter how good it is, you can make it worlds better after diligent revision, and I don’t mean a light line-edit here or there, I mean cutting out whole scenes, writing new ones, deleting characters out of the novel, adding characters, changing the ending, changing the beginning, big stuff.
Any last words? (Fun facts, comments, something you’d like to share with the world, etc.)
I started a novel writing vlog. This one I’m linking has some ramblings in it about being raised by traditional Asian parents and wanting to be a writer. =) Link: https://youtu.be/lltxtGuzBk0
Challenge: Write a one-sentence story!
Heaven’s council condemns a self-absorbed apsara (celestial maiden), punishing her to reincarnate as a human, and while at first, faced with earthly suffering, she desperately tries to return home by deceiving humans and nature spirits alike, the apsara then falls in love with a human, and sacrifices herself to save his parents, demonstrating to the council she’s learned her lesson, but when the council gives her passage back to heaven, she renounces her divinity to stay on earth with her love and her newfound parents.