To inspire and enlighten the many young writers in our Write-Minded Community, we invited the teen author of One Point in Time: To All East Asian Youth - Sara Guo - to an interview where she talked about her writing + publishing journey.
INFO ABOUT SARA'S BOOK:
Highest Rank on Amazon: #25 in Asian Literature
Description: One Point in Time was created amidst the global pandemic of 2020, which saw a rise in xenophobia and discrimination towards the East Asian population. Hence, this book features a compilation of free-verse poems depicting the shared experiences of East Asian youth growing up in a Westernized country. From dumplings to the model minority myth, this book is the perfect read for East Asian youth who may be feeling disconnected with their roots.
Q: What inspired you to write these poems and create this compilation?
A: I was inspired to created this anecdotal poetry book because of the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020, which saw an increase in xenophobia and discrimination towards the East Asian population. East Asians, especially those of Chinese descent were scapegoated, threatened, and some endured physical attacks. Fortunately, none of my family had to experience any of this but my father told me stories of these instances. I never thought I would be teaching my parents English words to defend themselves if someone were to say something racist or commit an act of violence towards them. With my time at home, I was able to connect and appreciate my culture more, therefore, I wanted to create a collection of free-verse poems inspired by my personal and shared experiences as an East Asian girl in a Westernized country.
Q: What is the overarching message you hope to convey to your readers?
A: The overarching message I hope to convey to my readers, especially those of East Asian descent is that their background/culture is not something they should be afraid or ashamed about. This book aims to hone in on the relatability factor and show how diverse and rich East Asian culture is, especially during these unprecedented times where connectivity seems so hard to achieve.
Q: What was your independent publishing process like?
A: I did an extensive amount of research on what kind of publishing was best for my book and I decided to go with independent publishing because it required less time compared to traditional publishing. I published through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, also known as Amazon KDP and it was a smooth process overall but, it had its ups and downs. There were a lot of requirements I had to watch out for such as margins, font size and front and back cover requirements. But, it was rewarding to be able to hold a physical copy of something that I created from scratch.
Q: Have there been any leading inspirations for your writing style?
A: Yes, of course! The biggest inspiration for my writing style would be the poet Pablo Neruda. Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet-diplomat famous for creating romantic pieces and for his passionate poetic imagery that depicted the negative effects of the Spanish Civil War. I studied some of his works last year in English class and I was immediately intrigued by the way he used free-verse poetry to tell a story and a reality. Before him, I didn’t know there was free-verse poetry. Free verse poetry is basically poetry that doesn’t have a regular rhythm or beat. This way, the poet is free to shape their poem however they declare. Neruda’s work had a certain “rawness’ to it as he wrote about the blood, the corruption and the beautiful lands in Spain being taken away. I wanted to emulate his articulate use of imagery and free-verse in my book so he was for sure the biggest inspiration.
Q: WHow did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
A: After publishing my first book I realized how easy it was to write and publish a book. I never considered myself a “writer” and always thought that certain people had that “talent” to write literature. However, this changed with One Point in Time because I realized that anybody can write and that publishing isn’t as daunting as it seems.
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