An Interview with Jessica Yeh, author of Bend for Me
What is your favourite Dragon in literature?
Falkor from “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende was the first literary dragon to really make an impression.
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
Though I just published “Bend For Me,” my first novel, “Something Tragic,” will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a labor of love and my first experience with the professional writing and publishing world.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
Oh god, no! The first story I tried to seriously write was when I was back in sixth grade and I based everything on my life and my first crush. It was full of angsty teenage problems likes having to take pictures on Picture Day with braces and getting pimples on my face. It was horrible and I hope it never sees the light of day.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I think I would have to say my ability to portray emotions more poetically through metaphors and the character’s actions rather than having to write out the emotions literally on the page or having to rely on dialogue to get the point across.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
I really admire authors who are able to write so quickly. I tend to write out chunks of dialogue and a bullet list of plot structure for ideas that I have, but actually putting everything together can take me the better part of a year or more.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
Luckily, the place I usually get inspired doesn’t really have a physical place. It’s more related to an action. I get a lot of spurts of inspiration when I’m taking a shower. The only inconvenience is that I have to jump out and grab a paper and pencil to jot down the idea or quickly find my phone and send an email to myself.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
I do have a few friends who are willing to read my work ahead of time. But my publisher has built a pretty good network and has been kind enough to provide us with an editor.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I do enjoy the smell of books and I really like the feeling of having a physical copy of a book in my hands. The problem is, I also write in and underline the books that I really enjoy. But at the same time, I hate bending and damaging the spine, so I will sometimes read and mark one up first and if I feel that it was a good enough read, I will purchase a second copy to collect. in terms of digital works, they are very convenient for taking on the road, so I do see the benefit. I also know that there are some great self-published authors and fanfic authors that are only able distribute their work digitally, so using an e-reader becomes the default when it comes to reading their works.
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and have your tastes changed over time?
As a child, I loved reading mysteries, but as I’ve grown, I’ve turned into a real mushball and I love reading happily ever after romances.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
I have not. But I definitely struggle to find the time to answer them as thoroughly as I want to.