My family moved to the United States from Taiwan when I was seven. To help us learn English, my mom used to take my sister and I to the library and that’s where my love of reading started.
I couldn’t get enough of books. I read any and everything, regardless of subject matter or genre. I plowed through books like the Cam Jansen series, Encyclopedia Brown, and then eventually the Nancy Drew mysteries and the Sweet Valley High series. I read biographies of historical US figures. I read classics. I read mysteries and thrillers. I read non-fiction and fiction. And I read everywhere – while eating, walking, in bed, on the couch, in the bathtub. I was never without a book.
When my mom took my books away at the dining table, I read cereal boxes or ingredient labels of anything that was nearby. I couldn’t get enough. But I never thought I would be a writer. I didn’t have dreams of being an author. I was too busy pursuing my dream of being a ballet and modern dancer in NYC.
But in 2013, right after my husband and I moved into a lake house an hour north of NYC, my friends wanted to know what I was doing “up in the country.” 2013 was also the year my life fell apart and I suffered some major losses. At loose ends, I started a blog to keep my friends in NYC updated on my country life. I also dove deep into books, which has always been a solace for me. And that was the year I discovered Liane Moriarty.
Liane is an Australian author but her stories are so universal in theme. Her books changed my life, made me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I’d lost that year. I couldn’t get enough, starting with What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes and The Hypnotist’s Love Story, before reading The Husband’s Secret, which became my favorite book of hers.
Because of Liane’s books, I started to wonder if I could share my experiences by writing a novel. I wanted to be able to reach people who may need to know they aren’t alone in whatever they are facing in life. And in January of 2015, I took those blog posts and turned them into my first book.
Anyone who knows me as a writer knows I idolize Liane Moriarty. I’ve brought her up in every interview I’ve done about my writing and I will continue to credit her with my writing career. If I ever meet her in person, I think I’d pass out at her feet. I told my editor at Berkley that my goal as an author is to be known as “The Asian Liane Moriarty.”
Speaking of Berkley, the editions of Liane’s books I read were paperbacks published by Berkley/Penguin Random House. So when I started querying for an agent, in the back of my mind, I always knew my dream imprint would be Berkley. I used to wander bookstores, looking longingly at books published by Berkley, never daring to dream that I would ever be published by them. And when my agent sent me our submission list for my debut book and I saw Berkley and my dream editor on the list, I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t dare tell my agent that was my dream imprint.
You can imagine then, how I felt when I got an offer from Berkley. There were flying meatballs involved. There was a lot of hyperventilating and dead fainting. And there were happy tears and disbelief.
So, Liane Moriarty, if by some slim chance you are reading this blog post, know that you changed my life. You made me an author. You have inspired me with your writing and I hope to do for readers what your books did for me. Thank you for changing my life.
Lyn Liao Butler
Latest posts by Lyn Liao Butler (see all)
- It’s A Miracle! - Friday, January 15, 2021
- Why I Like Killing People (On Paper Of Course) - Thursday, December 24, 2020
- Ode to Liane Moriarty - Tuesday, December 1, 2020
- Don’t Be Like Me (What Not to Do) – AKA Tips for New Writers - Tuesday, November 10, 2020
- Writing with Dogs, Virtual Learning and Day Drinking - Tuesday, October 20, 2020