A little about me: I was born in California and raised near Washington, DC.  I’m a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Before becoming a full-time author, I practiced corporate and media law in New York City for over fifteen years.

Many people ask whether my book is autobiographical. Well, I’m Chinese-American, and I’m a lawyer. My first job after law school was at a big corporate law firm in Manhattan. While my book is decidedly fiction, it was very important to me to write as realistic, authentic, and unvarnished a portrayal of corporate life — as experienced by a young woman of color — as possible.

Unlike Ingrid, the protagonist of my novel, I left the big corporate firm after about a year to join a media and entertainment law firm, and later became Associate General Counsel at a large media and entertainment company.

Obviously, having any full-time career while trying to write, revise, and land an agent and publisher for a first novel can be daunting. I wrote this book in fits and starts: in bits of stolen time, at odd hours, on the rare weekend off. I hoarded my precious weeks of vacation and spent them holed up away from the city, phone off, churning out chapters. I wrote this novel in big, infrequent bursts of late-night or early-morning activity, unshowered, my hair in a messy ponytail, empty Diet Coke cans scattered everywhere.

So with my day job, family obligations, and all the life stuff that gets in the way, a lot of time went by when I wasn’t working on my book at all. Then one night, I attended an event (hosted by my old law firm) where the wonderful journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen was speaking. She sagely pointed out the distinction between people who want to write, and those who merely want to have written.

I realized she was describing my predicament. In order to be someone who had written, I needed to actually write! Enough excuses about having a stressful day job, family obligations, being too tired when I got home from work, being too scared to embark on a novel, etc.

I signed up for an “Intro to Fiction Writing” class. Like a lot of busy people juggling too many balls in the air, I work best under deadline. If I owed 12 random strangers 20 pages for class Tuesday night, you can bet I got those pages done! The homework pages I wrote for that class became the seed for my novel.

I’m thrilled that my first book is out in the world, and I’m very grateful to do what I love for a living. I don’t take a single moment for granted. Truly, this is a labor of love.