Name: Mina Li
Asian background: Taiwanese (waishengren)
What is it about your experience and upbringing that inspired you the most to write?
Growing up in the 80s/90s, there weren’t a lot of stories featuring Asian girls like me, unless they were immigrant narratives. Those are obviously very important, but I loved fantasy and fairy tales, and there were hardly any books like that out there that I knew of at the time, although I will say that I fondly remember Laurence Yep’s Dragon series. Now that I’m an adult, I want to help expand the genre for Asian diaspora so they can see themselves. I also find it really fun and fulfilling to share stories with people and see how excited they get–one time, I told a friend about this idea I had for a xianxia story, and she wrote back immediately telling me she wanted to know more. It’s such a great feeling.
Name 3 authors and 3 books
Rebecca Makkai, The Borrower
Seanan McGuire, Middlegame
Paul Krueger, Steel Crow Saga
What do you think is the best quality a writer can have?
Believing in yourself and your stories. If you’re enamored with them, chances are others will be excited to read them, too. And while you need to keep your expectations realistic (see: the higher likelihood of rejection vs. acceptance), it’s also important not to self-reject. Let the editors decide.
Any last words? (Fun facts, comments, something you’d like to share with the world, etc.)
If you’re looking for TV shows to momentarily distract yourself from the pandemic hellscape we’re all in, What We Do in the Shadows is a scream. Everything about that show is hilarious, and bless Taika Waititi for taking it to the small screen.
Challenge: Write a one-sentence story!
Her heart thumped in her chest as she realized, after years of grueling practice, that not only did she not need a sword, she had become the sword.