As my last act as a Deb of the Ball, I am delighted to introduce to you your new Tech Deb, Lyn Liao Butler! Lyn’s debut, The Tiger Mom’s Tale, will be published by Berkley/Penguin in July of 2021.
Lyn was born in Taiwan and moved to the States when she was seven. In her past and present lives, she has been: a concert pianist, a professional ballet and modern dancer, a business owner, a personal trainer and instructor, an RYT 200 yoga instructor, a purse designer, and, most recently, author of multicultural fiction. Lyn did not have a Tiger Mom. She came about her overachieving all on her own.
When she is not torturing clients or talking to imaginary characters, Lyn enjoys spending time with her FDNY husband, their son (the happiest little boy in the world), their two stubborn dachshunds and trying crazy yoga poses on a stand-up paddleboard. So far, she has not fallen into the water yet.
Follow Lyn online:
Have you ever traveled to do research for your writing? Where did you go?
Yes. For my debut book, The Tiger Mom’s Tale, I traveled back to Taiwan (where I was born). Part of the book takes place there and since I hadn’t been there in a long time, I wanted to make sure I got the places, food, speech, etc. accurate. I took my family with me so it was a combined work/vacation trip. We had a great time eating our way through Taiwan (Taiwan is all about food, prompting my husband to ask, how do Taiwanese people eat so much, yet stay so slim?). I was born in Taichung and went to elementary school there. We visited my old school and a lot of old haunts. It was an amazing trip to introduce our young son to where I was born.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What kind of things did you read?
Yes, huge reader! We moved to the States when I was seven and I had to learn English. My mom took us to the library often to get books to help us learn and I was hooked. I would take out 8 – 10 books at a time, devour them all, and go back for more, sometimes in less than a week. I read everything – it didn’t matter what genre. Biographies, novels, comic books, classics, and as I got older, romance, historicals, memoirs, etc. I read while I was eating, watching TV, walking, so much so that my mom would take my book away from me at the dining room table. So then I’d read cereal boxes, the back of cans, ketchup, or anything else lying around that had writing on it.
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
For me, it was an author who had a huge impact on me. Liane Moriarty. I read her books at a time in my life when everything fell apart – my professional life, financial life, personal life and health. I related so much to the characters in her book, often thinking, that’s exactly how I feel. Or, yes! She gets it. Even though her books are based in Australia, the universal themes that the characters faced were so real and so relevant that it helped get me through the toughest year of my life. When I started writing, I knew I wanted to do that. Write about characters that people can relate to, even if their situation is completely different from the character. Because underneath our differences, we are all human with much of the same feelings. Liane became my writing idol and I want to write books which impact and help others like she did me. I jokingly told my editor at Berkley that and she said, “Well, if you become known as the Asian Liane Moriarty, that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all!”
What first inspired you to start writing?
I used to live in NYC and when we moved about an hour north to a house on a lake, everyone wanted to know what I was doing “out in the country.” So I started writing a blog to keep people updated, and some of those blog posts turned into my first book. I never thought I could write – I’ve never taken a writing course except what was needed for school. I loved to read but had no idea how to write a novel so it was kind of by “accident” that I started putting those blog posts together and suddenly I had a book. It was pretty bad; I broke all the writing rules (lol) but then I kept writing, learning as much as I could from anyone and anywhere that I could get help and eventually signed with my agent and got a book deal.
What was your first piece of writing you ever published or saw in print?
I wrote an article about volunteering at a deaf school for my college newspaper. I don’t remember how that happened (since I wasn’t on the newspaper staff and had never written an article before). But it did and I remember how thrilled I was to see my by line in the paper.