Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marie Lu Writes Things Her Way

Photo / LA Weekly / Dianne Garcia
Marie Lu is kind of awesome. She just published a dystopian future novel for young adults which was influenced by Les Miserables and Orson Scott Card’s Ender's Game,plus she’s a fan of Firefly. Triple win in my book.

Marie and I also share two important features. We’re both Asian-American and we don’t want to write about being Asian-American. Go us!

I discovered Marie Lu from this Entertainment Weekly interview about publishing her first novel. “An Asian-American writer?” I thought. “Let’s see what she has to say.”

Turns out I loved everything out of her mouth, including the description of her book. Legendis about a future where the United States is torn by a civil war between the eastern and western states and a pair of teenagers who get caught in a cat and mouse game across the border. It’s the first in a trilogy of books. The rights have already been bought by CBS Films, so don’t be surprised if the film adaptation of Legend hits the theaters before the third Hunger Games film is even done.

I love dystopian fiction (Thank you, Mrs. Ridley) and I love that this book isn’t about race. Not that I object to that – kudos to Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston – but I’m excited to find an Asian-American author role model that did what I want to do – write a novel that’s not about being Asian-American.

Among the work I’ve done in Relax & Write, I’ve written a handful of essays about growing up with my strict Asian parents and my colleagues have often encouraged me to expand them into a memoir or use them as inspiration for fiction. But I’m so over thinking of myself as Asian-American that the subject doesn’t interest me at all. I’d much rather write about troll detectives or abused girls from the South or sisters at a crossroad.

So I draw inspiration from Marie Lu. She wrote four manuscripts before writing Legend. I’m still working on my first manuscript – a mother/daughter story set in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I’ve only written about 100 pages, so I have a long way to go. But if Marie can do it, so can I.

Check out another interview with Marie Lu on Mediabistro

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