Saturday 2 October 2010

Dancing Today: ANGELA CHOI

Before getting things started, I felt I should give a special mention to those in line for postings in the week ahead so you can note down some diary dates.
Tomorrow we'll have RICHARD JAY PARKER
Monday has a special post, TODD ROBINSON
Tuesday it's SJ ROZAN
Wednesday, REED FARREL COLEMAN pays a visit.
Thursday, and a little different, LIBBY CUDMORE and MATTHEW QUINN MARTIN
On Saturday there's GAR ANTHONY HAYWOOD
and Sunday closes the week with TOM LLEWELLYN.
(and p.s. if you have a spare ticket for the Portobello Festival's 'There's Been A Murder' I'd be delighted to accept it as a gift - let me know).
Angela Choi didn't want to dance alone. She felt she needed a partner. Guess who was the lucky guy?

1) Hello Kitty is in part about a journey of self-discovery. Are there any moments of your own self-discovery that you’d care to share?

I've had lots of moments of self-discovery as soon as ditched my law life and started writing. With my first novel which was an Agatha Christie wannabe, I discovered what my voice wasn't. With KITTY, I discovered satire was my genre and that writing was and always had been the love of my life. So yes, lots of self-discovery with this novel.

2) What influence did the Yale law degree have upon your writing?

As you can see in KITTY, Yale and law school played bits parts in the novel. So yes, lots of influence. Yale really made me realize what kind of writer I NEVER want to be. Nothing against highbrow literary fiction, but it's not for me. I hate stuffy writing that takes itself way too seriously and sentences that just try too hard. I like to keep things easy, light, and flowing. That's one reason I look to the literary/commercial writers for inspiration.

3) Tell me something about Tyrus Books and their ethos.

Tyrus Books is great. Their ethos? Publish good writing, good books, even though they may be dark. That's why KITTY landed with them. 30 publishers said no because they said "too extreme or too dark." Pussies....

4) If you were to meet and old friend, would you choose to get together for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks?

Meeting an old friend? Not always a good idea. I learned that the hard way. You never know where people are in life and whether they are happy or they are bitter. Actually, you don't even know if they still regard you as a friend. In December 2007, I had dinner with my grammar/high school best friend. Well, she told me "we were never really friends" because I basically didn't get her into Harvard when I was trying to get myself into Yale. She turned out to be quite a bitter, unpleasant person. So I would opt for coffee. Quick... just in case the old friend turns out to be someone I no longer recognize.

5) Deadlines? Friend or foe?

I love deadlines. But I don't really have any. It's good and bad for a writer, but I have my own internal creative clock ticking. That makes me work on the next book.

6) Considering you’re part of the crime-writing genre, you seem to smile an awful lot in your photographs. Did you have to think carefully about your image?

Well, I don't know if I'm a crime writer. More of a satirist. But I like smiling in my photos. I'm very funny most of the time and I like my photos to reflect that. And if I'm going to stab you in the face, I'd do it with a smile. :)

7) What and where was your best vacation?

Best vacation I ever took was to Chicago for 3 days for my birthday two years ago. I came back feeling so good, I wrote KITTY in 3 months.

8) What was the favourite compliment you received for Hello Kitty Must Die?

My favorite compliment for KITTY came today. A lovely criminal defense lawyer who is trying a case told me that she was going to quote parts of KITTY in her closing argument. Her client is supposedly looking at life if she loses. I didn't say anything, but quoting KITTY? He's done for. :)

9) Do you have a writing routine?

Writing routine? Well, when I'm writing, I write in the morning for about 6 hours a day. But the whole process from vague images in my brain to the laptop is what is really interesting. I love how characters come into my head and tell me what I need to write.

10) Are there any up and coming writers out there that we should be looking out for?

Oh, there are so many good young writers. Look for the ones you like.

11) Do you have any superstitions?

Superstitions? No, not really. Birds tend to bring me good luck. And I have Meatball, my fat parakeet. He's a gem. He lets me lick his fat belly.

12) Any plans for a UK visit?

I love the UK. Ever since I was young, I had this strange obsession with England. Maybe a past life thing? Who knows? But I watched all the BBC comedies and dreamed of going there. Back in 2001, I visited London and Windsor. My dream destination is Ireland on the Paddywagon Tours. I would also love to go to Scotland and Northern England. I was thinking about applying to East Anglia to do my MFA, but I don't think they'll like my type of writing. Not exactly lit fic. But I have a good friend who lives in Norwich and she tells me that part of England is gorgeous. Hopefully, next year.


  1. So much good stuff here. And oblique lessons on writing. One part that whuffs me up is the answer to "old friends." I've done that with the same results. Ray Bradbury has a short about four kids who make a pact to meet again after fifty years at the playground they've grown up on. They do. But, though they see each other across the teeming crowd of kids, they leave == each by a separate exit. Thanks for a great interview that took me many places, including back to one of my favorite stories.

  2. Hey Angela, great interview! I enjoyed meeting you for 5 seconds at Bouchercon, too!