Not every novelist dreamed of being a novelist, but sometimes it works out well. Liwen Ho actually started writing online but has followed her writing into the fiction world. Here’s a look at what makes her pen move.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Liwen and I live in California with my hubby, son and daughter, and two guinea pigs named Roundo and Cutie (because they are round and cute). In my pre-author life, I received a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and worked as a counselor. After the kids arrived, I began a new adventure as a stay-at-home mom (otherwise known as a personal chauffeur and referee).
Why did you start writing?
I’ve always loved words, even as a child, but my first serious attempt at writing began when I started a blog four years ago. Blogging became my way of processing the many ups and downs of mamahood.
How did you start writing?
After I began blogging, I looked for opportunities to do freelance writing (emphasis on the free, haha). I’ve published some articles online about parenting and marriage, and also had my work included in a couple of anthologies. I never in a million years considered writing fiction because I thought one needed a lot of imagination to do that, but I was inspired to write about my real life love story and decided the best way to do so would be as a novel. It turns out that writing fiction just requires you to write what you know (and research what you don’t).
How did you select your genre?
I’m a big fan of anything warm fuzzy (yay for chick flicks!), so choosing the genre of romance was a no brainer for me.
What is your writing day like?
My writing day begins when my kids head off to school and ends when I pick them up. During that time, I switch between writing my current work(s) in progress to marketing my books to connecting with other indie authors online.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)?
Although I’m a fairly organized person in life, my approach to writing is more go-with-the-flow. Everything originates in my head and stays there until I type it. Sometimes I have specific ideas on where to take a story, but most of the time I let the characters direct me.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?”
This question threw me for a loop! I don’t think any of my characters have surprised me a great deal, except maybe one in my current work in progress when he “told” me the reason why he didn’t go after the girl. But once I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. 😉
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
Since I currently write books in a series, I do have a potential list of characters from which to choose from for future stories. I mainly focus on their personality traits in deciding how to shape their stories.
What does your work space/office look like?
My dedicated work space is brown, covered with yellow and white throw pillows, and boasts a reclining chair (aka. our family room couch)!
What is your go-to snack when writing?
I just love flavored tea with some kind of topping (this is very popular in Asian cafés)! My current favorite is iced peach green tea with crystal boba (white tapioca pearls). I’ll buy a cup of it at a nearby café and slowly sip it while I type away.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
Ah! Only one?! Well, it would definitely be a novel by Francine Rivers. I just love her beautiful writing style and how well she develops her stories and characters. I still can’t decide on one, so I’ll throw out two of her books – An Atonement Child and Redeeming Love.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
I haven’t read that many writing books, but one I did read recently which I would recommend is Joanna Penn’s How to Make a Living with Your Writing. It’s a practical, super easy-to-read book that’s helpful for anyone starting out in their writing career.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much, Karin, for having me!
You can follow Liwen online at these places: