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Second Wave makes waves

My book of oral histories, Voices of the Second Wave: Chinese Americans in Seattle, is starting to attract attention in the press.

Doug Chin, widely recognized as the "unofficial historian" of Seattle's Chinatown/International District, recently wrote a thoughtful review in The International Examiner, a well-respected Asian-American community newspaper. The current issue of The Examiner is chock-full of book reviews, and Doug "applauds" the publication of this book and said it "deserves a lot of credit" for telling untold stories of the ever-increasing Mandarin-speaking immigrant population.

Gabrielle Nomura, a rising star at The Bellevue Reporter who covers the arts, wrote a long article in The Scene, which is a monthly magazine for readers of several "Reporter" newspapers across the Eastside. She interviewed not only me but also Dr. Peter Ku, retired chancellor of Seattle's three community colleges, and she quotes Bellevue Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee and Maria L. Koh, who envisioned and commissioned this book.

Northwest Asian Weekly also ran an article announcing the publication of Voices of the Second Wave.

The book is now available at the University of Washington Libraries and at Seattle Public Library and has been ordered by King County Library System.  It is also for sale at the museum stores of Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, in Marketplace @ The Wing. It will also soon be available at Island Books, Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books, and the bookstores of Seattle's community colleges.

I'd love to hear your comments about this book.

New interview published on Wen's blog

Recently, journalist and writer Wen Liu interviewed me for her blog.  She asked about my childhood influences, my career as a foreign correspondent, and my views on U.S.-China relations.  Here is the transcript of that interview.

Wen has interviewed many interesting people in the Seattle area, and her blog is well worth reading!

New book available!

voices cover

After more than two years of hard work, I am delighted to announce the publication of my newest book: Voices of the Second Wave, Chinese Americans in Seattle. For me, this book is a project of the heart, reflecting interviews with 35 wonderful people who immigrated from China, mostly in the 1950s and 1960s.

Unlike the "first wave" of Chinese immigrants, who came as laborers, spoke Cantonese, and built Chinatowns, this "second wave" of immigrants from China mostly came as students, spoke Mandarin, and were cut off from their homeland by war and revolution. Although most earned advanced degrees and got professional jobs, their experiences were bittersweet: hampered by language difficulties, they were never able to fully integrate into American life and they received no news for decades of relatives left behind.

Until now, their stories have been largely ignored. This book gives them a voice, and they tell their life stories with their own words. I wrote an introduction and compiled these oral histories into this book. Most stories have two pictures of the person: one "young" and another "recent." The book also has a time line of Chinese history and a map of China showing their birthplaces.

Because the stories are arranged alphabetically, the last one is that of my husband, Paul Yang. His tale is one of the most fascinating!

The book is available now in paperback through

Historical Novel Society conference

Historical Novel Society conference - and other great news in June

Margaret George, Susan Vreeland, Diana Gabaldon, Cecelia Holland, C.C. Humphreys, William Dietrich -- I met and hobnobbed with some great historical fiction writers this past weekend, June 17 - 19, in San Diego.  I also enjoyed meeting dozens of less famous writers and debut novelists, all of us enamoured of historical fiction.  I was thrilled! - and learned a lot about the craft.

On Friday night, I was one of five writers who participated in  "fight night," reading an excerpt from the Battle of Vochan in Daughter of Xanadu.  Early Saturday morning, I was on a panel discussing the differences between young adult and regular historical fiction - very well attended. Saturday afternoon, the conference hosted booksignings for close to 100 attendees with published books.

Costume pageant

Friday afternoon, four of us who write for young adults had a booksigning at The Yellow Book Road, a local children's bookstore in San Diego.

For me, the highlight was the costume pageant, after dinner on Saturday night. I was one of about 20 writers who appeared dressed in costume as one of the characters of our books.  I wore a brilliant blue silk Mongolian robe (a del) with an orange silk sash and a Mongolian lady's hat, with dangling pearls.

Register to

On the Road with Emmajin

On the Road with Emmajin

The latest big news: the sequel is finished!  What happens to Emmajin and Marco after the end of Daughter of Xanadu?  My lips are sealed.  But after a year of hard work, I have completed a full manuscript of the sequel and sent it off to the editor for review. It's been quite an adventure on the Silk Road, with some harrowing scenes and high-stakAnn and mees choices. If you think you know what ha ppens, you'll probably be surprised!

I've also just returned from a ten-day trip to the East Coast: Annap olis, Washington, D.C., and Princeton. In Washington, I spoke to high school students at Maret School, including three classes: Chinese 2, Chinese 3, and Children's Literature. The Head of Maret School is my high school classmate, Marjo Talbott. That same day, I met with friends at Kramerbooks and Afterwords DC 1Cafe--a  delightful gathering (see photos). Do you recognize any of these smiling faces? One of them was "quite famous in the last century."




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