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Forging Ahead and Letting Go

Crystal Z. Lee
Crystal Z. Lee Author Interview

Love and Other Moods follows a young woman who has to start life over in a foreign country where she learns a lot more about life than she expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Much like Naomi, I left the U.S. in my early twenties and moved to China, a country I had never stepped foot in. The move was initiated by a job, but later was motivated by romance. Both would go up in smoke after a short while. Although the novel is very much fictional, there are some elements that are inspired by real-life events.

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

We meet Naomi when she is in her early twenties, having just left New York and is embarking on a new chapter of her life in an entirely foreign country. But the adventure is off to a rocky start when things don’t pan out as planned.

I think personal growth happens most often when we’re thrown out of our comfort zones and into unchartered waters. That’s what happens to Naomi. At the same time she’s adapting to her new environment, issues from her past continue to confront and haunt her. She struggles with juggling the balance between forging ahead and letting go of regrets. I think that’s something most of us can relate to.

The story explores the city of Shanghai as well as the different people and relationships Naomi has. Was there anything you pulled from your own life and put into the story?

Yes. This is very much an “own voices” story. After I moved to Shanghai, my grandfather revealed that his father had once lived in Shanghai as well, during the World War Two era. I myself had lived in China for nearly a decade, and had worked on projects for the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Shanghai is one of the most fascinating cities I’ve ever been to, and I’ve traveled to over thirty countries. There are contrasts abound in every corner—east and west, old versus new, modern meets tradition. Every day I was meeting somebody interesting, from all walks of life, all corners of the globe. There was endless inspiration from the streets of Shanghai, from its inhabitants, architecture, cuisine, history, etc.

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

My next book is a children’s book, and will be published sometime in 2021. My kids are very excited about this!

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Amazon

Love and Other Moods is a coming-of-age story set in contemporary China, about falling in love, learning to adult, finding strength, and discovering one’s place in the world.

Naomi Kita-Fan uproots her life from New York to China when her fiancé’s company transfers him to Shanghai. After a disastrous turn of events, Naomi finds herself with no job, no boyfriend, and nowhere to live in a foreign country.

Amidst the backdrop of Shanghai welcoming millions of workers and visitors to the 2010 World Expo, we meet a tapestry of characters through Naomi: Joss Kong, a Shanghai socialite who leads an enviable life, but must harbor the secrets of her husband, Tay Kai Tang. Logan Hayden, a womanizing restaurateur looking for love in all the wrong places. Pan Jinsung and Ouyang Zhangjie, a silver-aged couple struggling with adapting to the ever-changing faces of their city. Dante Ouyang, who had just returned to China after spending years overseas, must choose between being filial and being in love. All their dreams and aspirations interweave within the sprawling web of Shanghai.

This multilayered novel explores a kaleidoscope of shifting relationships——familial friction, amorous entanglements, volatile friendships——in one of the most dynamic metropolises of the twenty-first century.

Love and Other Moods

Love and Other Moods by [Crystal Z. Lee]

Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z. Lee follows Naomi through a disastrous turn of events that leave her alone in a foreign country. The reader is introduced to an endearing character named Naomi, who moves from New York City to Shanghai with her fiance. Naomi breaks off their engagement when she finds out he has been unfaithful to her. She stays in Shanghai and starts her life over. Now stuck in a foreign country she must learn the language, find a job, and learn how to get around Shanghai on her own. Readers follow her on mesmerizing journey through an exotic location, meeting people and seeing things that will keep you furiously flipping pages.

Author Crystal Z. Lee has artfully crafted an authentic story that captivated me from the moment I started reading. I loved Naomi’s character because she is portrayed as strong, fierce, and independent and she has a fun personality that was always interesting no matter the situation she found herself in. Dante was another great addition to the novel. He was funny and intelligent and I loved his presence. Lee’s writing is so vivid you feel as if you are in Shanghai. The descriptions of the streets of Shanghai, the exotic food, and the culture are eloquently written. This is important as the city is just as much a character in this captivating novel as Naomi is. We get to experience life in Shanghai through Naomi, and it’s always entertaining. The author takes readers on a cultural journey through the streets of old and new Shanghai; a place I’ve never been but have a desire to go now that I’ve read this book. Written from a third person perspective, the reader gets plenty of insight into the various characters in the book and you begin to understand and connect with them.

Love and Other Moods explores topics such as self discovery and falling in love all with a backdrop of Asian culture that I found to be delightfully charming. Love and Other Moods is a compelling contemporary romance novel that I heartily recommend.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B08NTL2PGR

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