Today I’m joining in the celebrations as fellow Legend Press author, PP Wong, releases her debut novel entitled The Life Of A Banana. And she is joining us on the blog to tell us a little more about it!
Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?
A British Chinese orphan faces racial bullying while dealing with her dysfunctional family as she questions what it means to be an ethnic minority in London.
Who is your favourite character and why?
I love the main character Xing Li. But I have a special fondness for her best friend Jay. I like his straight talking and self-assured way. There is an innocence and simplicity in the way he sees the world as black and white, rather than grey. I also love how, despite the difficulties he has faced as being mixed race (Jamaican and Chinese), he is still confident in who he is. He is the best friend I wish I had.
Which authors have been your main inspirations?
The authors that I admire are George Orwell, Kazuo Ishiguro and Dr Seuss.
I like the way that George Orwell writes about ills in society in the most entertaining and humorous manner. I enjoy both his fiction and non-fiction. He doesn’t waste words – every word for him is as precious as a nugget of gold.
Kazuo Ishiguro has the most amazing characters in his novels. For me, the characters of novels are the most important aspect of a novel. I like characters that feel real, have many layers to them and show little ticks or quirks that intrigue me.
As for Dr Seuss, well, I like his crazy imagination and sense of fun. Also, I love how he wrote to his own drum beat and no one else’s. When I visited New York I was really excited when I got to see THE hat of the cat. It looked exactly like the stripy red and white hat that I admired as a child. Apparently, Dr Seus had a secret stash of hidden hats that were only discovered after he died. What a fascinating man!
How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere or calm and ordered?
I take a long time to get my thoughts down onto paper. Perhaps, it is the finality of typing out the words that scares me – as though once they are on the computer there is no turning back. Usually I spend months thinking and imagining the plot and characters. Sometimes I write quick notes of my observations of the world or quirks that I think my characters should have. Then when I am finally ready, I will write out a chapter plan. I try and stick to the chapter plan but it always gets changed as the story evolves.
What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee…)
My favourite guilty pleasure is probably BBQ flavoured Pringles. I’ve been known to finish a whole tube in one sitting. I won’t say no to the prawn cocktail and salt and vinegar ones too.
Xing Li is what some Chinese people call a banana – yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although born and raised in London, she never feels like she fits in. When her mother dies, she moves with her older brother to live with venomous Grandma, strange Uncle Ho and Hollywood actress Auntie Mei. Her only friend is Jay – a mixed raced Jamaican boy with a passion for classical music.
Then Xing Li’s life takes an even harsher turn: the school bullying escalates and her uncle requests she assist him in an unthinkable favour. Her happy childhood becomes a distant memory as her new life is infiltrated with the harsh reality of being an ethnic minority.
Consumed by secrets, violence and confusing family relations, Xing Li tries to find hope wherever she can. In order to find her own identity, she must first discover what it means to be both Chinese and British.
Sounds fascinating! I look forward to reading this one. Thanks so much for finding time in your busy schedule to share with us.
You can reach PP Wong here:
Events coming up: I would love to meet people at my events.
Her book is available NOW from Amazon UK and all good bookstores!