Angry Reader of the Week: Cindy Lin

"You get to scream at the top of your lungs and hit people with sticks."

Greetings, good people of the internet. It is time, once again, to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Cindy Lin.

Who are you?

I'm a former journalist who took a detour into entertainment, and am now a children's book author whose debut novel just came out this week! Whee! It's called The Twelve and it's aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds who love fantasy adventure, or really anyone who likes a good yarn. I loved Harry Potter and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, and read those as an adult. Books are for everyone!

What are you?

Ooh, a loaded question! I'm having flashbacks. I'll just be straightforward here -- I'm an American of Taiwanese descent. First-born of immigrant parents. Libra. Dog. Cat lady. Star Wars fan. Obsessed with good eats. She/her.

Where are you?

In Southern California, where we just had a big ol' earthquake to shake up the 4th of July. Appropriate! I think of myself as being on the Eastside of Los Angeles, but I'm technically not in the city proper. I'm further east -- in the San Gabriel Valley, where Asians rep hard. I can reach a 99 Ranch, Mitsuwa, H-Mart and a Punjabi grocery store all within a few minutes' drive, which is pretty freaking awesome.

Where are you from?

I'm a SoCal native -- born in East LA and part of the Asian invasion that gained a toehold in Monterey Park, where I was raised, and then spread all over the rest of the SGV. I grew up witnessing fights over English signage and white flight from my little Los Angeles suburb. I spent my youth feeling slightly embarrassed about growing up in an immigrant enclave and wanting desperately to get away. It wasn't until I lived elsewhere -- on the East Coast, up in the Bay Area, abroad as an ex-pat -- and met Asian Americans who'd grown up in far more isolated conditions, that I realized how lucky I was. Now I'm all about the 626!

What do you do?

I'm doing what I've dreamed about all my life -- making up stories and writing them down, and seeing them in the hands of kids. When I was a kid myself, telling my parents I wanted to be a writer provoked anxiety more than excitement. They were concerned about the uncertainties of a life in the arts, and rightly so. Becoming a journalist was my way of trying to straddle the line and satisfy both them and me. It took me a long while to give fiction writing a go. But I'm glad for the delay, as I think it ultimately broadened and deepened the well of experiences that I can draw on in my writing. And after I proved that I could hold down a job and support myself, I think my folks relaxed a bit and became really supportive of me going after my dream. They're super proud now, which is so moving to me.

What are you all about?

Equality, representation, creation. Storytelling, art, love. My focus and goal at the moment is to tap into some of the incredibly rich history, mythology and culture that I grew up with and also experienced while living in Asia, and make it part of the American canon of children's literature. There are so many books written by American authors about Celtic-influenced fairy worlds, Nordic and Greek gods, European dragons and veddy veddy English-style boarding schools and kingdoms. Why not add some Asian flavor to the mix? Not all Americans are of European descent, yo.

What makes you angry?

Can I be honest here? It's beyond anger -- it's rage. There's a lot that sets me off these days, and while some of it is banal, like inconsiderate/incompetent drivers on the streets of LA, so much is deadly serious. I am trying not to let rampant hypocrisy, widespread deceit, willful ignorance, lack of empathy, sheer cruelty and utter greed drive me to despair, but it's hard sometimes. I started taking kendo lessons last year as part of research for my book, and ended up falling in love with it. You get to scream at the top of your lungs and hit people with sticks. I find it a cathartic way to deal with the stress of the times.

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