My debut novel is coming out… really bloody soon and I’m getting pretty nervous. Not in a bad way, but nervous nonetheless.
As the release date draws nearer, a question that’s come up a few times is whether or not Black and Blue is autobiographical.
And the answer to that is: yes and no. I took the “write what you know” adage and twisted it into something I hope people will connect with.
As a Chinese Australian kid, I felt a lot of confusion about my cultural identity growing up. I think that’s a pretty common thing for migrant kids — the feeling of being stuck between two cultures and not quite fitting in anywhere — and I revisited those feelings in Black and Blue.
Like my main character, Jade, I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression, which I try to be honest about — though she and I deal with it in different ways. Writing this book was actually one of the ways I tried to deal with it, so there’s a certain finality to seeing it released.
I also didn’t know if I was ever going to write another book — and to be fair, I still don’t, but I intend to — so I kind of wanted an excuse to pay tribute to some of the things that spark joy in my life. Which is why Jade is into Star Trek and Bon Jovi. But she hates coffee whereas I’m quite fond of a good mocha and will still drink a bad one. 😉
Another character in the book, Alex, has my aversion to germs and is something of a hand sanitiser enthusiast. Which has been me since long before COVID… I think I’ve been gunning for a hand sanitiser sponsorship for at least 10 years (no luck yet!).
In summary, I guess you could say Black and Blue is semi-autobiographical, but it is a work of fiction, not my premature memoir. Still, I do feel quite exposed thinking about people reading my book and… peering into my soul? So much so that I was considering never letting this book see the light of day. I mean, you can’t really fail if you never try and no one knows you write. But I also realised I’d never be satisfied with myself if I didn’t at least try.
So here I am — trying, potentially failing, but being okay. More or less. 🙂