The L Mag Questionnaire for Writer Types: Catherine Chung

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04/10/2012 3:25 PM |

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Catherine Chung, one of our “Five Brooklyn Writers For Whom You Should Look Out in 2011 and Beyond!“, has just published her first novel, Forbidden Country. She’ll read from it at McNally Jackson this Thursday, and on Saturday the 21st at the Central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Kirkus Reviews said that Forgotten Country delves into large, difficult questions about family, the definition of home, and the boundaries between duty and love. That’s a spot-on description the book I was trying to write (whether I succeeded or not!), so I loved that they were able to recognize that.

What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
Wow—that’s kind of a tall order! Food is the universal portal to happiness: Chickalicious Dessert Bar makes me happy. So does the Korilla Taco truck. And Dough donuts. And Joe’s Shanghai soup dumplings.

Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn’t look at you screwy)?
Totoro’s. If a character from an animated movie can count.

Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Sure, on and off for years now. And while I think having known a little hunger isn’t necessarily a bad thing, actual deprivation crosses a line and is just never good.

What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
Something in writing: a note, a reaction, something that feels like a conversation the reader is having with the book that I get to eavesdrop on.

Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
Yes—that’s what revision is for!