Published by Forge Books
Published on January 19th 2016
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
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Confucius Jane by Katie Lynch is a lush and charming novel that vividly depicts New York City's Chinatown while taking the reader on a touching journey of family, community, and love.
On leave from college, Jane Morrow has a new job, helping out in her uncle’s fortune cookie factory, and a new roommate—her precocious 11-year-old cousin. Though surrounded by her loving family and their close-knit Chinatown community, Jane feels like a colossal failure. Writing fortunes is a kind of poetry, but Jane is penning words of wisdom for strangers while wondering if she will ever have the guts to move on with her life.
When Jane meets medical student Sutton St. James at her local noodle shop, sparks fly. Sutton stands at a career crossroads: surgical residency or stem cell research overseas? The first is what her father, former Surgeon General and “America's doctor,” has planned for her, but the latter might help find a cure for her mother’s debilitating MS. Neither would make either of them comfortable with their daughter's sexuality. Sutton’s only certainty is that she has no time for a relationship—yet neither she nor Jane can deny the chemistry between them.
Jane opens a whole new view of family to Sutton, a powerful counter to Sutton’s cold, sterile upbringing. Sutton inspires Jane to be more ambitious and to dream again—and challenges her to have faith in herself. But can Sutton and Jane overcome a scandalous secret that threatens to keep them apart?
Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novels? Why?
The last line is always the most difficult for me, because it feels like the Jenga block that will either create a towering masterpiece, or send the entire novel crashing down around my head. I have agonized for days about last lines! A first line, on the other hand, can be a work-in-progress for the entire length of the novel. You have ample opportunity to edit it.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
I almost always know the title before I begin to write. The title is thematic for me, and knowing it helps me to develop that theme/set of themes throughout the story.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
Names are very powerful, and the names in Confucius Jane are highly significant. I chose “Jane” as the protagonist of the book because I wanted her to feel like an “everywoman” sort of character. My other protagonist, “Sutton,” is a high-society type, and I needed a name that would fit her background and upbringing. Their names are also connected to New York City: there is a Jane Street in the West Village (my neighborhood), and a Sutton Place on the Upper East Side. Jane’s cousins are all deliberately named for other streets downtown: Hester, Cornelia, Carmine, and Minetta.
How do you plot your books, do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc, or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
I need a loose outline in order to get started, but I don’t like doing too much planning, because that shuts down the spontaneity of the epiphanies that occur during my process. As the characters become more clearly defined, they tend to “suggest” plot details to me.
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
Black coffee, dark chocolate, red wine.
Do you have a favorite place to write? Tell us about it!
My ideal writing spot is on the deck at my home in the Catskills, with a beverage ready to hand and a canine curled up at my feet. If it’s winter, I can thankfully achieve much the same effect from the sunroom. I’m simultaneously soothed and inspired by the mountains.
If you could use 3 words to describe your books, what would they be?
Smart, sexy, contemporary.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
I don’t have a bucket list—I find them depressing. I just try to make the most out of every day, and when I invariably fail, I’ll try again tomorrow.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mashed potatoes swimming in butter!
What is something you never leave home without?
Chewing gum. Please don’t page Dr. Freud.
What are the last 3 books you enjoyed reading?
The Fault in Our Stars, Fun Home, and The Faust Act (The Wicked and the Divine, Volume I)
What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself?
I asked my wife to answer this one for me, and she came up with:
bookish, energetic, and romantic. Awww.
Do you have a favorite hobby/pastime?
I’m a very amateur astronomer. I have a telescope and enjoy looking at the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. I’m pushing myself to move on to deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae.
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
I’m a halfway decent mixologist, but one of my dogs hates the sound of a cocktail shaker, so I don’t get to practice as much as I’d like!
This or That?
Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise. Infinite possibilities.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee! I usually drink it black, unless my wife has made Bailey’s whipped cream—or as I like to call it, “whipped temptation.”
Hot or Cold?
I would vastly prefer to be described as “hot” over “cold.”
PC or Mac?
Mac! Heaven is an Apple Store where all the merchandise is free, with a real bar alongside the Genius Bar.
By Land, or by sea?
By sea! I learned to sail while in graduate school and wish I had the time to get out on the water nowadays.
Half-empty or Half-full?
Half full. Life is too full of possibilities to see emptiness!
Autumn or Spring?
Spring, when everything is coming alive and the days are getting longer.
Summer or Winter?
I enjoy them both, but summer wins for its long days that can be spent entirely outside.
E-book or Print Book? (Preferred reading)
I frequently use ebooks for convenience, but I still prefer print. I find it very difficult to reread/browse through an ebook. Flipping pages is comforting.