For Kids

Fun Trivia

  • Birthday: August 10
  • Favorite Decade for Music: 1990s/2000s
  • Favorite Ice Cream: I’m lactose intolerant, but sometimes I ignore it and eat Mint Chocolate Chip or Strawberry.
  • Favorite Color: Purple
  • Favorite Animal: Lambs
  • Favorite Books in Elementary School: The Boxcar Children, A Wrinkle in Time, Number the Stars
  • Favorite Books in Middle School: anything by Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) or L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)
  • Favorite Books in High School: the Cheney Duvall, M.D. series (by Gilbert & Lynn Morris) and any Agatha Christie mysteries
  • Favorite Books right now (and this will change from month to month): A Wish in the Dark, Ghost Book, Monsterious: Escape from Grimstone Manor
  • Favorite Snack from Taiwan: Pineapple Cake (fong li su)
  • Favorite Place to Visit: San Francisco (my friend lives there), Maui (my favorite vacation spot), or New York City (my sister lives there)
  • Favorite Smell: Orange Blossoms
  • Favorite Hobby: Hiking
  • Favorite Kind of Movies: Romantic comedies
  • Favorite Disney Movie: Moana
  • Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie: Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Favorite Drink: Bubble Tea (aka boba)
  • Favorite Subject in Elementary School: Math
  • Favorite Subject in Middle School: Math
  • Favorite Subject in High School: Marching Band and Math
  • Favorite Candy: anything dark chocolate
  • Favorite Holiday: Christmas
  • Favorite Asian Holiday: Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
  • Fun Old Fact: I played piano from age 5 through 18, and flute from age 10 through 22.
  • Fun New Fact: Since then, I’ve played piccolo, xylophone, cello, harp, and handbells.
  • Fun Random Fact: I choose not to eat lamb because I love lambs so much.

FAQs

I get ideas everywhere! A lot of my ideas come from my own life. I had a difficult middle grade experience, so a lot of tidbits come from there. Sometimes a character will stay in my head for a long time and doesn’t have a story until another idea comes along.

Miracle came from several places:

  1. I heard a Bible story about Simeon, who waited at the temple until he met Jesus. And once he met Jesus, he said his life’s purpose was complete and he could die happy. (It’s speculated Simeon was very old). I wondered, what if there was a young girl who fulfilled her life’s purpose (like how Amie is her father’s miracle). Then what happens next?
  2. My dad passed away from pancreatic cancer, and some of the same things Amie experiences are the same as mine. Although my dad didn’t have cancer his whole life (he had it for about 6 months), my dad was in and out of the hospital a lot. In a previous draft of this book, Ba-ba said some of the same things as my dad.
  3. My dad is the inspiration for Ba-ba. They are similar in many ways. They both studied the Bible. They both sat in a recliner in the living room. They both had a good sense of humor.
  4. I *LOVE* music. I’ve played music all my life, and still do! So Amie’s music background is much like mine.
  5. I also really love the Harry Potter books, so that’s why Amie thinks about Harry Potter so much.
  6. When I read Grace Lin’s The Year of the Dog, I realized I could write Asian-American main characters, too. (Previously, I’d written Caucasian/white characters because those are the books I read.) Grace’s book inspired the Asian-American family in Miracle, and how Amie and her family celebrate both American and Chinese holidays.

I like SO many books. I was a huge reader before I became a writer. I love the Harry Potter books, the Wrinkle in Time books, the Amari books, lots of graphic novels, and many books by my author friends.

Not at this time. Amie’s story came to a nice conclusion. But if another book were about one of the other characters, that would be fun. But it’s not in the works right now.

I’m working on another book for grades 3-7! It is about a girl whose parents are divorced. Her father is an engineer, her mother is an artist. And she is torn between the two interests (but really loves engineering the most).

Since I was a sophomore in college (that’s like grade 14). So, it’s been about 23 years!

My day job is called Experimental Flight Test Instrumentation Operations Engineer. That’s a lot of words. Basically, I work with helicopters (Apaches and Chinooks). In Experimental Flight Test, sometimes people want to switch out parts: a different engine or a new blade. They want to know what the vibrations are (or the temperature or the pressure or how much the metal bends) in a certain area with the experimental part. So my group in Instrumentation puts on all the sensors and collects all the data.

Part of my writing is an escape from my engineering job, which is very technical and precise. But some skills have transferred over. I’ll give you three:

  1. In engineering, the idea is to design something, test it, and if it doesn’t work, redesign and retest. It’s a cycle. Writing is a similar cycle: write, get feedback from readers, revise, get feedback, and usually revise again. This perseverance is key to becoming an author!
  2. Another skill I’ve learned from engineering is how to break down a problem. In engineering, I am CONSTANTLY troubleshooting problems to find a fix. In writing and editing, I have to do the same. Find the problems in the story and fix them. I’m good at categorizing the big issues and breaking down what needs to happen in the story (chapter by chapter) to fix them.
  3. I have learned to separate criticism from myself. In engineering, if a design doesn’t work, it’s not always because I designed it wrong. Sometimes, the environment caused a problem. Sometimes, it’s wear and tear on a wire that makes it break and causes a problem. So the problem isn’t an attack on me or my skills. Same with writing. If something isn’t working in writing, or if someone tells you they didn’t like a certain part, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. It’s not an attack on you as a person.
  1. Most of the names in my book come from my daughter’s class list from Kindergarten.
  2. “The Firebird” is one of my favorite classical pieces.
  3. I played “Simple Gifts” in middle school band (on the flute).
  4. I sorted into Slytherin, like Amie and Bella.
  5. I have composer statues, like the ones in Ms. Sato’s music room! I earned them from my piano teacher by practicing the piano.

Yes! I love being an author! Writing stories for kids is the best!

Video