Hi. I’m Nicki Chen, an author and blogger from Edmonds, WA.
When I started writing seriously, I was living overseas. Having followed my husband’s job to the Philippines, I was what they now call a “trailing spouse.” The earlier term was “expat wife.” I’d been trained as a teacher, but the Manila International School didn’t hire expat teachers. So, after several years of children’s birthday parties, volunteer work, and Chinese painting classes, I finally decided I needed a new occupation.
By the time I was accepted into the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, we’d moved to a small island nation in the South Pacific called Vanuatu. It made for a very long commute to classes in Montpelier, VT.
My first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is loosely based on the stories my late husband, Eugene, told me about his childhood in China during the Japanese invasion of WWII. He was a great storyteller. Unfortunately, he died before I started writing the novel. So I was on my own.
Tiger Tail Soup tells the story of a Chinese woman struggling to survive and protect her children during a brutal war and occupation. An Lee experiences hunger and the death of people she loves, all the while worrying about her husband and waiting for him to return from the battlefield. My novel has been compared by some readers to Pearl S. Buck’s China books.
The road to publication had a few curves and potholes. For a while, I had an agent, probably the wrong agent for this book. After I lost her, I put Tiger Tail Soup in a drawer for a number of years. Then, thanks to my oldest daughter’s encouragement, I chose to self-publish through Dog Ear Publishing. Tiger Tail Soup was published in 2014 in both paperback and e-book form.
I’m currently working on a second novel. This one will be set not in China but in the South Pacific.