Jade Chang looked at the economic crash of 2008 and saw a novel.
This is just one of the many miraculous things about her. While the rest of us were running around like maniacs and freaking out, Jade started to see an idea come into form. What if a family lost everything in that crash? What would that look like? What if this character she had in her head was a self-made man who was crushed under the weight of what happened at that time? The answers to these and many other questions became The Wangs vs. The World, out in paperback this week and one of the most noteworthy books of last year.
I knew I had to speak to Jade after reading the book and laughing, feeling touched, amused, and heartbroken throughout reading it. It is a very special book for certain. So when I was lucky enough to meet her at a book event she led the q+a for, I grabbed the chance to invite her. I know I say all the episodes of the show are my favorite, but this one is absolutely my favorite as I share it with you. I had been dreaming about a discussion on character, and this one got so deeply into all of the aspects of character I find fascinating. I hope you all love Jade as much as I did. She’s a wonder.
Discussed in Episode 53 with Jade Chang:
- What people want to find in a book
- What it’s like getting reviews on your book
- From the inner world of Goodreads
- How to avoid the inner critic when writing
- Why it’s best to write for nobody
- How writing is both fun and miserable
- The strange difficulty of summarizing your book
- Finding the voice of the characters
- Writing a different kind of immigrant novel
- How journalism prepared Jade to write fiction
- Starting from an idea and an emotion
- The outlining process
- Why plot was not a big topic of conversation ever
- The importance of Google maps
- The beauty of writing about family dynamics
- How your intentions change throughout a writing project
- What authors ask of their readers
- How to write in crazy times
- Setting books in moments of crisis
- The importance of flaws in characters
- Showing characters as both amazing and vulnerable
- Dreaming up the next book.
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author photo: Teresa Flowers