I consider my genre contemporary literary fiction. Why I chose this genre? Because it provides a flexible platform for me to write about the time we are living in. The events and changes that are happening in the world, how those events affect our lives and what we do to adapt to the changes we don’t seem to be able to control. I believe the reason why the works of literary giants like Thomas Hardy, Scott Fitzgerald, and Somerset Maugham were considered master pieces is they all reflect the times the authors lived in, like Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, an illustration of the impact of industrial revolution on farmers and British society, Scott Fitzgerald’s portrayal of an era of glittering Jazz and bootleg, and Somerset Maugham’s depiction of the devastating effect of the 1929 Stock market crash in The Razor’s Edge. Personally, contemporary literary fiction provides me the most effective guiding frame for a book that could potentially be entertaining, relatable, thought-provoking, and educational to readers who are interested in this particular genre. At the same time, a writer is not limited to write everything contemporary. Historical throw-back to the past can always be woven in to show the cause and effect of past and present, how choices we humans make shape our character and determine our destiny. For Two Tales of the Moon, the genre allows me to tell a story of how globalization is affecting our lives today. It also offers glimpses of China’s past and a by-gone era of America, both lead to answers why the characters behave the way they do and how the choices they make will shape a future of their own making.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Sure as writers we all experience occasional writers’ block, when we tell ourselves that it’s time to take a break, and wait for the next wave of inspiration to hit us. As much as I want to believe that, I came to realize that the challenge is not how to break writers’ block, it’s the enforcement of discipline – that is to show up for work every day. To me it’s 90 percent hard work and 10 percent inspiration.
When and where do you do your writing?
I use my living room as my office. My writing desk is tucked nicely in a large bay window, looking out to a huge garden surrounded by Japanese maples trees, ever greens, azalea bushes, and rhododendrons. I give my husband full credit for taking care of the garden and keeping it beautiful year around. Most of the time, when I sit down in front of the desk to write, my cat Paung (it means chubby in Chinese) will come to sit on the right side of the desk, and my dog Nova, the Doberman Pinscher lies at my feet. On the left side of my desk, is often a mug of hot water with lemon. During week days, I usually get up at 4:30AM. I drink a small cup of coffee and begin to write around 5:00AM. I stop writing at 7:00AM. I do 30 minutes yoga and then go out for a run for 45 minutes. While I am running, I go over what I wrote early in the morning or what I am going to write next. It never fails – running always unclogs my mind and makes my prose flow more easily. After I get back from running, I spend 30 minutes to an hour to edit what I’ve written early morning and then I’m done writing for the day.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
CHALLENGING. More difficult and challenging then writing the book. I spent over 25 years of my life in business and fully understand the importance of marketing. But I’ve learned that marketing one’s book in today’s world of publishing turmoil, especially for self-published first time authors, faces additional hurdles as traditional promotional channels like bookstore signings are reserved for big name writers, though virtual book tour sites like Sage’s Book Tour has offered valuable services to authors like me, and will help me to achieve success in the long run.
Perseverance and determination do count for a good book to be discovered, and my intuition tells me that in the end, a good, compelling story with flawed writing will find more readers than a perfectly written bad story.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I wish I could say I am proud because I made some best sellers’ list (chuckle, chuckle). I am proud that I finished my first novel and have given it to the world. As a business woman turned literary fiction writer, I am proud that I found fiction writing both therapeutic, rewarding, and will keep on writing, though at the same time, I am full aware of the financial and opportunity cost “risks” I am taking.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Hands down Thomas Hardy. I’d like to talk about his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, the life and death of a man of character. What inspired him to write this particular novel? Was there a particular person in his life who influenced him to create the character of Michael Henchard, the protagonist? I want to ask him if he’d agree with me that as human beings we all have inherent character flaws, but what separates a good human being from a bad one is the good one, whether he/she succeeds or fails, never stops struggling and striving to be a better person?
About the Author
Jennifer Sun has a MBA from George Washington University and a B.A. in English Literature from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She has held several executive financial management positions at Fortune 500 companies in telecommunication and web technology industries. She currently writes full time and lives with her husband in Vienna, Virginia. She is also an avid reader, a runner and a foodie.
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ns0irQ