Kara H.L. Chen grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, where she once had to shovel snow off her car with a plastic trashcan. She now lives on the West Coast with her husband and daughters, and is learning how to use an Instapot. She has undergraduate degrees in English and economics, a J.D., and an MFA in fiction. She has used her economics degree exactly once, when she tried to make a joke about marginal costs and marginal returns. It did not go well.
Voyage YA: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Love & Resistance? What made you want to tell this story?
Kara H.L. Chen: The original kernel for this book was the idea of a secret society of nerds who covertly work against the toxic school hierarchy in their school. I knew I wanted to address bullying, the change that can occur when people band together and support each other, and the aggressions that can happen against Asian Americans. The story evolved from there.
VYA: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
KC: I hope that they leave with a sense of empathy and the idea that every person may have their own struggles, often ones that we can’t see.
VYA: What was the hardest scene of Love & Resistance to write?
KC: The ending! It went through several iterations until it arrived at the final version.
VYA: If you could tell your younger writer self any thing, what would it be?
KC: Don’t think of writing as a talent that some people have and others don’t. Think of it as a skill set that can be studied and learned. Be open to feedback, but always believe in yourself!
VYA: What are your writing must-haves?
1) Boba or coffee
4) Okay, snacks. SNACKS.
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