Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Ed Lin

Ed Lin is a journalist by training and an all-around stand-up kinda guy. He’s the author of the Taipei Night Market series: Ghost Month, Incensed, and 99 Ways to Die; his literary debut, Waylaid; and the Robert Chow crime series set in 1970s Manhattan Chinatown: This Is a Bust, Snakes Can’t Run, and One Red Bastard. Lin, who is of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards. He lives in New York with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.

Lin's new Taipei Night Market novel is Death Doesn't Forget.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Not too much, I hope! I tried to make it somewhat seamless, that readers are introduced to a flawed character they can relate to despite his shortcomings. I think once you can understand characters, you can empathize with them. Anything else that happens after, readers are invested in, and follow along.

What's in a name?

Not a super-lot, but a name sorta has to sound like a character, either fittingly or ironically. One guy in Death Doesn't Forget is named "Boxer," which is odd since he doesn't seem to be able to fight back against anything in his life.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

I think the only thing my younger self would be surprised by is that a reputable publisher put it out! He wouldn't be surprised that I wrote a crime book, nor that it was set in Taiwan. I've wanted to write ever since I learned how to write, so no surprise that I stuck with it. Even if it come down to printing out pages, and getting them bound at Kinko's.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I don't have challenges with either...it's just the middle part that a little tricky. Y'know, the beginnings and endings rarely change for me. The paths between the two are often rearranged, mowed over, zoning changes, etc.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

There's a little bit of me in every character. I relate to each of them. Despite their flaws, they are all struggling for something better, some more effectively than others. I wouldn't even say they are a world apart. They're all with me, and I'm always thinking about them, at least passively.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

Silent film, I love how expressive it is, the faces, the body language, the humor. Non-vocal music such as hard-bop jazz and surf music. It's great to listen to while writing because it's upbeat without being intrusive.
Visit Ed Lin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Snakes Can't Run.

The Page 69 Test: One Red Bastard.

My Book, The Movie: Ghost Month.

--Marshal Zeringue