Category Archives: Interviews

Fun and Terrifying to Imagine

C.C. Berke
C.C. Berke Author Interview

Man, Kind follows two women on a headlong and perilous journey that may decide the fate of humanity. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always been fascinated with post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. It’s both fun and terrifying to imagine a demolished world where there are little resources left and even fewer people to share them with. However, the genre as a whole was beginning to feel a little stale for me. The question always is, “How do I get rid of most of the people on Earth?” and the answer has almost always been nuclear war, global pandemics, or zombie outbreaks. But why not the real, much more imminent threat of climate change? And why must a mysterious, indestructible male savior always lead the way in these tales? I knew there had to be a more interesting, compelling, and grounded way to approach the apocalypse, and that’s what I set out to do when writing “Man, Kind”.

Juno was an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Juno, the thirteen year old protagonist of “Man, Kind”, was meant to experience the post-climate-changed world alongside the reader. From the very first pages you discover that Juno had just been abandoned by her mother and now has to navigate this new, frightening, and violent world on her own. You both have questions, and you both want answers, and you get to embark on her epic journey together.

One of my favorite traits of Juno’s is that she’s also relentlessly curious. Whether she’s exploring an abandoned building, interacting with dubious characters, or simply taking a break to write down her own thoughts in a journal, you’re always right there with her; feeling what she’s feeling, wondering what she’s wondering, and smiling when she’s smiling.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Climate change is the primary one. Mainly, how does humanity live on after mother nature has exacted her revenge? It’s true that human pollution not only affects the weather, but also our own bodies at the cellular level. Plastics, fossil fuels, greed, they all play a part in our current world as well as “Man, Kind’s” future one. So how do we cope with such truths? And what can we do about it now?

The other themes I wanted to cover were grief and kindness; the “kind” of “Man, Kind”. Many, if not all, of the characters in this story are grey characters. They’ve all suffered losses, they all have their own motives, and not one of them fully trusts the other. I really wanted to drive home the question, “Will kindness still play a role in the wasteland?”

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently on the home stretch of an illustrated short story compilation called “Destination Earth”. Each story deals with existential questions we must ask ourselves throughout our lives, but told through weird, dark, and often humorous points of view. Available fall of this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

The climate has changed. Pollution has sterilized the human race. Few stragglers remain.

From the top of the tallest skyscraper in Denver, Colorado, a lonely girl named Juno watches the sun and sand torment the Rocky Mountains day in and day out. She wonders why she was abandoned so suddenly, wonders if she will ever see her mother again, and wonders why, on her thirteenth birthday, a mysteriously scarred woman has just shown up to kidnap her.

But there’s no time to explain.

Instead the woman makes three things painfully clear: Juno is being hunted, their only hope at safety is on the opposite side of the Rockies, and that this journey will be the hardest thing either of them has ever done.

As the resentful duo races across an unpredictable environment, Juno will also have to grapple with unpredictable changes of her own. She’ll stumble upon what mankind left behind, and learn why things ended up the way they are. Then, once Juno discovers how important she truly is, she’ll be forced to decide just who she can trust, and who she’ll have to leave behind…

Mad Max meets The Road and An Inconvenient Truth in this epic climate fiction adventure!

Phoebe’s Identity is Revealed

L. Samuels
L. Samuels Author Interview

Phoebe Douse: The Return has a dramatic turn of events that test the students abilities and reveal Phoebe’s destiny. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

New ideas introduced would be that book 2 answered some unanswered questions from book 1. An important part of Phoebe’s identity is revealed. And the elements of life and death danger and fear, I believe, are intensified.

I thought this story was fun and I enjoyed the unique twists. What was the funnest scene for you to write?

I’m so happy you enjoyed all the different twists and turns in the story! One of the funnest scenes to write was the chapter called, The Factory. I wanted it to have a very intense, mysterious vibe that heightened the drama of the story and have a big reveal. Definitely a chapter that I like to reread, even on its own.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

My main challenges were setting mini deadlines for writing so that I could finish the book on time. Another challenge was making sure that I remained true to each character as the plot developed. I knew I wanted there to be growth and conflict within each character as well as between characters, but at the same time, I didn’t want to veer away from the essence of who each of them are.

This is book two in the Phoebe Douse Trilogy. What can readers expect in the final book?

Honestly, this is still a mystery even to me. I’m currently outlining the plot, which has been a bit tricky since I have so many ideas and ways in which I’m imagining the story could go. I’ve decided that I’m not going to plan too much ahead. For book 3, I’d like for the story to develop organically. So I’m excited to see where this final book will take me!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | | Instagram | Facebook | Website

The Fadrix wasn’t destroyed. It never can be. And its return helps Phoebe during a wild, unexpected holiday detour into the bustling city of London. While literally escaping the dangerous clutches of rogue members, Phoebe must use the little time she has and work alongside Renaud and Colin to decipher an important vision. Making their way back to The Murray School, Phoebe and her friends remain secluded as they continue their training. But are they safe? With all its secrets, the school has a way of bringing out the truth. Friendships are challenged. The seen and unseen lurk about. Students’ abilities are tested. And the imprisoned Headmaster Duff has made an unusual request―he will cooperate with S3A2 if, and only if, he speaks with Phoebe alone. In this second book of the trilogy, difficult choices have to be made as the survival of S3A2, Phoebe, and her friends hang in the balance. And Phoebe discovers a shocking truth that reveals her destiny but also threatens her entire world.

Not Entirely Wicked

Christopher Fried
Christopher Fried Author Interview

Whole Lot of Hullabaloo follows a college sophomore whose life gets turned upside down by a whirlwind of events he did not see coming. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Since I had graduated from college in 2007, I had noticed what I view as questionable trends in university life. It seemed like there was an increasingly censorious nature on college campuses. This is abetted by social and news media outlets wanting to push scandal stories without getting the facts and background on the situations, as well as campus administration, faculty and student governance moved by mob mentality, weak wills, or even spite. However, I didn’t want to write an overly somber story, so I tried to include the humorous tone of 1980s popular cinema, such as Steven Spielberg and John Hughes films, and 20th century English comedic authors like Kingsley Amis and Evelyn Waugh. I wrote and revised the novel in 2014, but set it aside until 2020 when I hired a new editor go over it and had it published myself.

The characters in your book were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

It’s important for characters to have a life outside the pages of a story, especially in a novel. This means that though the story focuses on life in 2011-2012, it’s important to show that the characters have lived before the timeframe, and will live after the last page. I tried interweave minor details of the characters’ pasts that might point to the reason why they’re reacting in the current situation. Also, even though a number of characters act or think in ways that are suspect, or destructive, from my point-of-view, I tried to draw them as foolish, or capable of doing bad, but not entirely wicked. They may have zeal, and that is usually a good quality, but it’s for the wrong thing, or it’s taken too far. Conversely, for the more positive characters, even if they make the better choice in the end, it’s rather dull if they don’t stumble or express doubt along the way. I think even heroic characters should express cowardice at times, otherwise it can be hard for us to relate to them as readers.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As mentioned above, campus culture, especially around topic of excessive judgment, thought conformity, and free speech. The notion that the university as it was intended to be is in a state of decline. T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland took the reader through a succession of images showing civilization in disrepair. I wanted to take the reader through a similarly nightmarish journey of contemporary academia from the eyes of the protagonist Troy Thomas (hence the subtitle) that sadly is all too real. However, on the positive note, I wanted to show the value of individuality and loyalty. I also highlight the importance of art (books, films, paintings, etc.) as a unifying factor. That’s why I include references to highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow materials.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Currently, I’m not working on a book, though I do have an idea that has been circulating in my mind. Though it’s not as firm so as to start sketching characters and an outlined plot. I don’t like getting involved in something then quitting mid-way due to lack of interest or other reasons. Outside of work, my time has been taken up by writing poetry and non-fiction articles, something I was involved in before I went into fiction. Also, as a supporter of 1980s culture and lover of science fiction, I’ve been serving as an advisor to an upcoming documentary on 1980s science fiction films, In Search of Tomorrow. Once it finishes and is released, I encourage all 1980s and sci-fi fans to check it out. It’s a bit of positivity in a sea of negativity.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

It’s Fall 2011, and Troy Thomas and his best bud Ian Mueller, a top college lacrosse recruit, are enjoying life as sophomores at Central Ohio University. Living each day without serious care, they spend their free time hanging out with friends and attending parties. However, one evening Ian makes a serious social faux pas at a gathering that offends a few and embarrasses much more. Soon after, the campus is in an uproar. A whole slew of shenanigans ensue as Troy tries to make sense of not only his friend’s actions, but that of the reactions and behavior of the college community, which causes ripples throughout the state. During this chaos, Troy tries to discover who he is in a community gripped by social unrest and finds out whether friendship will crumble amid such division.

Darkly satiric, but touched with a nostalgia for 80s and early 90s pop culture, a tragic situation turns into a resounding comedic affirmation of individuality. Though inspired by twentieth century wits such as Kingsley Amis, Anthony Powell, and Evelyn Waugh, it’s a twenty first century piece of modern Americana: a timeless story conceived in a timely era.

War of Strong Wills

Dedrick L Moone
Dedrick L Moone Author Interview

The Unexpected Journey: Fire and Gold details the obstacles you faced trying to protect and provide for your daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important for me to share our story because I encountered several parents over the past few years who’s children were victims of sexual assault and rampant bullying. Some of those parents did all that they could to protect their children only to lose them to suicide. Other parents followed a path similar to myself in going through all of the proper channels of authority only for the systems to fail them. Some of those children committed suicide too while others became addicted to drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb their pain. Another subset of parents simply didn’t know what to do and they desperately cried out for help. I helped as many of them as I could on a one to one basis but I found that it wasn’t effective enough. I truly needed to elevate my voice and expose Haelee and myself to help the most people.

Moving along, Haelee published a book entitled The Rules of a Big Boss: A book of self-love on June 25, 2020. That book is a self-help manual for young and adult women to maximize higher levels of self esteem. She was very transparent in it in recounting her issues with low self-esteem, sexual assault, etc and how she overcame it all. People that read it clamored for me to share the rest of the story from my perspective. I was reluctant to do so initially because I wanted to save everything for a future autobiography that she and I would write. COVID and being unemployed allowed a lot of free time hence I decided to share a portion of that future autobiography in the form of a memoir with hopes to help others in their journey particularly those that are struggling with anxiety and depression. I will be submitting that book for a Literary Titan Review within the coming weeks.

You wrote this book with your daughter. What was the writing collaboration process like?

The collaboration process involved a little bickering back and forth between us because I speak one way and she speaks another (Ref: Venus vs Mars). We resultantly had a few starts and stops so that cooler heads could prevail in our tug of war of strong wills. I’m happy that we went through it however because the entire writing experience actually bonded us closer than we were before.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important idea was that Fire has three purposes. It can be used to cook, burn, or give light. Cooking is obvious so I won’t get into that. The burning process is important to note however because we all go through trials and tribulations in life. Those trials and tribulations will burn us if we lose sight of God in the experience. Fire will purify us and light our path however if we keep our eyes focused on Him. In so doing He will allow us to walk out of the fire as he did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We will come out as purified Gold when it’s all over. Given those sentiments we should never give up on the journey. We should fight forward knowing that our pain has a purpose. The end result of that purpose will be precious to behold.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

My daughter is the one true gift that I have short of my salvation in Christ. With that being said, I felt like I was going to lose her every day to either suicide or murder. I thought that I had moved past the trauma but some of it still lingers. I literally burst into tears with each keystroke as I recounted the horrors of that portion of the story. I got stuck there and almost gave up the writing process because it was so painful. My friends Kiescha Cherry, Genesis Amaris Kemp, and my editor, Shanique MJ Davis helped me push that pain point however in reminding me that our story needed to be told so that it could help others.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Website

This is the journey of a single father who risked it all to protect and provide for his daughter. Follow along and learn how he survived brokenness, criminal prosecution, discrimination, reprisal, and unemployment to ultimately come out gold. Readers will also learn how President Obama and the US Department of Education lent a hand.

A Firecracker of a Character

B.A. Bellec
B.A. Bellec Author Interview

Someone’s Story follows a teen struggling with depression along with a host of other high school challenges and finds a group of weirdos that save him from the dark depths of his mind. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I went through a rough patch in life and this started as a journal. After about a half-year of reflecting and journaling, I decided to turn it into fiction. I combined many people from my past to get the robust characters we have at the end. I also play with the timeline as all this did not happen inside a year but rather over 5 or 6 years. As an adult, you get older and you fall out of contact with those people from your past. In a way, this was me letting them know I was always paying attention.

Someone is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Originally it was me. The anxiety and the cleverness, combined with the running. I am a deep-thinking introvert and that side of me comes out in Someone for sure. Where the character took flight was when I combined two people from my past with myself. By bringing in their flaws and trauma I was able to create a firecracker of a character. The decision to leave the character named Someone was because I didn’t feel it was fair to make this from my perspective or to call the main character myself. By just leaving them as Someone, I better honor all the people that rolled into this character.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Mental health, friendship, love, loss, pop culture, drug use culture.

I wanted this to read pretty normal for the first 60% so I tried to pull from my past and give genuine heartfelt chapters from my past. I think I also do a good job showing broken homes and “busy” parents. Of course, the ending hits hard and mental health becomes the central theme. Jogging and writing are tools to help with mental health. I am not an expert on mental health in any way but I can say that jogging and writing help balance me. I know when I struggle the most it is because I have let those two things fall off my schedule.

This is a fantastic debut novel. What were some surprising challenges you faced while writing?

I do not have any technical English training. I used a pair of editors to help me with tense and spelling. The editors are critical to my process and both came back to help on my second novel. The plot and characters come naturally to me and I can write 50K words in a few months, then I spend 6+ months going back and forth with the editors. I went down a 2-year rabbit hole learning how to self-publish and then self-market. I had no idea how hard it would be to market a novel. You have to get on social media every single day for years to get steam. My second novel release is going to be so much bigger with all the skills and connections I made along the way though.

Author Links: YouTube | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

In his debut endearing coming-of-age book, B.A. Bellec writes about a group of weirdos that find and save each other from the dark depths of their minds. Someone’s Story is literally Someone’s story, as in a first-person narrative of a teenager that calls himself Someone. As he struggles to find a new footing in a new space, we encounter the many ups and downs of modern teenage life, the difficulties that adjusting to adult feelings bring, and a few tear-jerking surprises along the way.

Littered with music, mental health, friendship, loss, meditation, advice, pop culture, and even inspiring an EP, there is so much nostalgia, inspiration, and depth here it is hard to absorb it all. Cozy up somewhere warm and enjoy!

Life’s Possibilities

Russell H. Plante
Russell H. Plante Author Interview

Journey Home – A Cat’s Tale follows the life of a cat that’s been abandoned and must find new meaning in life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was inspired to write this story because of a cat that was discovered in a dumpster with his leg caught in a steel jaw trap and brought to an animal shelter. My wife and I learned of his plight from the shelter’s newsletter and we adopted him. He lived with us for almost 18 years and was an important part of our family. I thought a story about his journey to find a home needed to be told because there are so many homeless animals like him. Animals that share their lives with us all make a difference in our own lives.

The story is written from a cat’s perspective; about life’s possibilities and the lessons we can all learn during our journey. I wanted to share his story, hoping it might teach people to have compassion and hope. Perhaps a reader would then pause and reflect upon their lives. I wanted people to understand such homeless animals teach us compassion, trust, and love throughout the years, and so much more. The book is dedicated to him.

The animals felt authentic and were endearing. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The story was inspired by actual events, and several of the animals created as characters in the story were actually real. Their interaction with one another is similar to people and as the story progressed and developed so didn’t their behavior and human characteristics within themselves and others.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There were many, simply because portions of the book were based upon actual events. Each Chapter contained lessons in life from which we all can learn. The following is only a portion of life’s themes throughout the story:

-We all fear what we don’t know or understand.
-Drastic things can happen to anyone in a short period of time.
-We all face an eventuality of being on our own, and that reality can be difficult to accept if the choice is not ours.
-We don’t always appreciate what we have until it’s gone.
-Age begets wisdom.
-Understand yourself better by putting yourself in the place of others and treating them as you would want to be treated.
-Learn to share.
-There is usually more to gain than lose by having a peaceful compromise instead of a physical confrontation.
-Sometimes we have no choice but to handle situations we don’t want to face.
-There’s a little good in everyone.
-Everyone has good days and bad days; it’s all part of life.
-Be kind and gentle no matter your size.
-There are times when size and strength don’t matter; they can be overtaken by using your wit.
-There are those times when no matter what you do, the outcome can remain the same; but at least you should try.
-Even though you might have different backgrounds and opinions, it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends or share the same principles.
-Sometimes things aren’t as you first perceive them to be.
-Sometimes you need to take responsibility and find a solution on your own.
-There may be times when you don’t think you can move on and wonder if you should, but always remember to keep a willingness to go on.
-Things that you experience will always be a part of who you are.
-Be thankful for what you have.
-Patience is a virtue.
-Time is just a matter of relevance.
-Even though friends may leave, you really never lose them; they are always there within you.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My third novel, “A Sense of Purpose” was recently published and, although independent, could be considered a sequel to “Journey Home – A Cat’s Tale”. It is a story about the life of Chester, a cat that was an important character in “Journey Home-A Cat’s Tale”. It is a compelling story about how Chester’s life affected others in so many ways, providing a philosophical message to the reader that there is a sense of purpose to everyone’s life. The story is also based upon actual events.

My fourth novel, “The Path Before Me” is a Middle Grade novel based upon “Journey Home-A Cat’s Tale” and is currently under a publishing contract to be released sometime in the next few months. Young readers (ages 8 to 12) who have a love for animals and pets of their own will be drawn to this story; a story that provides a sense of social and emotional learning. It is important for everyone to better understand emotions, compassion, empathy for others, and the value of hope; all are elements relevant to developing a healthier society. Not only are educators searching for ways to introduce such social aspects of learning in order to make the future a better place, but parents are as well. This story provides an opportunity to learn by example and teach us a thing or two about ourselves—a great book for the Middle Grade classroom and the in-home library.

I am currently writing my fifth novel, a philosophical science fiction story about UFO’s and why Earth has never been contacted by other civilizations. I still have a lot of research left to do while I am developing the story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Website

JOURNEY HOME – A CAT’S TALE is a story based upon the actual life of a cat found abandoned in a dumpster, left to die. Born in a small town on the coast of Maine, an unpretentious cat named ‘Patches’ encounters life changing experiences during his first two years. Discarded by an uncaring owner and left homeless without food or shelter, he wanders the streets to piece his life back together. Along the way, he discovers new friends like Chester, a relocated cat from New York City and Buster, a neighborhood stray, who teaches him how to fend for himself.

Late one night during a violent blizzard, a series of events abruptly changes his life once again after he saves Buster from a fire and then returns to the garbage dumpster for a local diner to seek shelter and food. As he jumps into the dumpster, his leg is ensnared by the steel jaws of a leg-trap. He feels the sharp, razor-like teeth cut into him, and the fear of dying or losing his foot becomes reality. Like the doleful cry of an incessant wind, memories of his past and unanswered questions about his father’s abandonment engulf his thoughts.

Will he discover what has become of his siblings, find a new home, and ever understand his father’s message and why he abandoned him? Will he survive the cold darkness and discover once again a path that leads to the understanding he seeks?

The Universality and Singularity of God

Haribakth
Haribakth Author Interview

aKsara Bhagavad Gita is an enlightening book that provides a unique view of the Bhagavad Gita. Why was this an important book for you to write?

To usher in cosmic harmony and promote universal brotherhood amongst different religionists by proposing a common paradigm to interpret scripture of any religion/philosophy or ideology. It is based on logic and derives authority from the Gita itself. The proposed paradigm codifies all rules of interpretation. This is done by enunciating rules of interpretation from the God’s quotes in the Gita, substantiating the enunciated principles by way of a mock debate, and providing an built-in checker to cross verify our interpretations and also an provides inbuilt auto updater so as to stay relevant under all changing times and circumstances. It is a Hermeneuticians touchstone and fulfilment of their long sought quest.

What were some key ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

The words/sentences uttered in the Gita have been analysed and commented upon in a number of different ways by innumerable persons since 3270 B.C.

The untouched part of the concept underlying the words, beyond the words and the positioning of the words and sentences, that which is communicated but not spoken, the relationship between the concepts and the words, between different branches of learning and their relationship with the Gita and its usage, cognition thereof and metacognition are some ideas explored. At another level, the universality and singularity of God, relationship of humans and living entities with God, and how He wanted us to understand and act, these and some other ideas are also examined in the book.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

God is one, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, irrespective of the name you choose to identify Him, the rituals you follow or the beliefs you profess, and He didn’t ask His children to fight amongst themselves or endorse killing in His name to uphold His superiority or His words.

What kind of research did you undertake to complete this book?

If you observe closely, you will notice that there are two parts the book. The Gita proper and other subjects like grammar, law, management, logic, science etc. I haven’t researched anything about Gita. It was a revelation or an inspired communication from the divine without any intervening media.

The other mundane part required research. I had vague memory of the fundamental concepts of those branches of knowledge which required to be refreshed and correlated with Gita. I have used Google, Wikipedia, and Dictionary etc. extensively for this purpose.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

How were the rules framed? They were framed based on the parameters. How was Parameter identified and on what authority? Parameters were identified based on the attributes of the Gita. The authority too is derived from God/Gita. Isn’t the identification process obsolete and unscientific? There isn’t anything more scientific than the Gita. Just see the explosion of Artificial intelligence applications, be it Drones, Siri, Echo, or Robots. They are all non-human but endowed with intelligence.

This Book Is My Hope

Allison Hong Merrill
Allison Hong Merrill Author Interview

Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops is a candid memoir detailing the various obstacles in your life and how you faced them. Why was this an important book for you to write?

A: Thank you so much for the thoughtful question. This book is my hope, as an immigrant, to share my cultural background with my children, who were born and raised here in the U.S. and have little connection with their Chinese roots. In part, it’s a family history project. And family means everything to me. It’s important that I tell my kids my truth about my upbringing and cultural conditioning, so they understand why their Chinese mother thinks and acts the way she does. Understanding is associated with love and acceptance. What great gift would it be if my children understand, love, and accept me, even though I’m so different from their American friends’ moms?

What was one of the hardest moments for you to write about?

A: Oh, there are several, actually. But the hardest of them all has to be the scene where I went to my mother’s house to say good-bye. I didn’t know then that it would be the last time I saw her in this life. There was much that needed to be said but wasn’t, and the regrets haunt me in dreams. My first-born child is now the same age I was when I saw my mother the last time. I can only imagine how it would kill me if my child did the same thing to me. I’m not proud of the twentysomething me and the things I did. Life experiences are the best teacher. I’ve definitely learned from my bad choices and mistakes.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this memoir?

A: Thanks for asking such a wonderful question! The first idea that was important for me to explore in this memoir is choice, also known as agency. Most people know that we all have the power to choose. But the less-frequently-discussed fact is that with every choice comes the consequence. When we make a choice, we choose the consequence too. A simple example that illustrates my point is this: If I choose to be kind and to serve others, I choose to feel peace and joy. Ultimately, our lives are a summary of our choices.

Another idea I explored in this memoir is equality. The worth of every soul is equally great in the eyes of God. Understanding this is important, because if we see all human beings the way God sees us, we will love and respect everyone as a child of God and the world will be a much better place. Again, how we treat others is a choice. Building a better world is a choice. Making necessary changes is a choice. You have that choice.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were fifteen?

A: I wish someone had told me to be patient, humble, and forgiving. I wish I hadn’t been a self-centered fifteen-year-old girl, only caring about MY needs. Why did my parents leave ME to raise MYSELF? Why didn’t they take up their parental responsibility to provide for ME? Why didn’t they love ME?

Because of the childhood neglect and the emotional/physical distance my parents and I created to keep one another away, there is so much I don’t know about this couple who gave me life. It only took me 35 years to arrive at the understanding, but now, I know to be patient, humble, and forgiving. I choose to believe that my parents did their best. I hang on to this belief so I can let go of all the hurt and pain, so I can create an emotional space for love, love, and love––for my children.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Allison Hong is not your typical fifteen-year-old Taiwanese girl. Unwilling to bend to the conditioning of her Chinese culture, which demands that women submit to men’s will, she disobeys her father’s demand to stay in their faith tradition, Buddhism, and instead joins the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then, six years later, she drops out of college to serve a mission—a decision for which her father disowns her.
After serving her mission in Taiwan, twenty-two-year-old Allison marries her Chinese-speaking American boyfriend, Cameron Chastain. But sixteen months later, Allison returns home to their Texas apartment and is shocked to discover that, in her two-hour absence, Cameron has taken all the money, moved out, and filed for divorce. Desperate for love and acceptance, Allison moves to Utah and enlists in an imaginary, unforgiving dating war against the bachelorettes at Brigham Young University, where the rules don’t make sense—and winning isn’t what she thought it would be.
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