Hi! My name is Lyn Liao Butler and I’m so excited to be here. Not only is this my very first post as a Deb, it’s also the first post for the Class of 2021! I’m so excited to be here with Denny, Ehsaneh, Greta and Elizabeth.
I first found The Debutante Ball back in 2015, when I started querying. I had NO idea what I was doing and sent some cringe-worthy queries before I wised-up. Through a google search, I found this blog and boy, was it helpful. I learned how to query properly, what to expect and all sorts of important information as a new writer. So to be here now, writing my first post about what inspired my debut book, THE TIGER MOM’S TALE, is nothing short of amazing.
The TIGER MOM’S TALE is actually a rewrite of that first book I wrote back in 2015. I never thought I would write a book. I was a professional ballet and modern dancer turned personal trainer and gym studio owner in Manhattan. But when I moved out of the city to a house on the lake in 2013, my friends wanted to know what I was doing “in the country” (I was only an hour north of the city). I started a blog to keep them updated on my life, and the blog posts became that first book I titled, FIT GIRLS DON’T CRY. It was about an Asian American personal trainer who needed to confront her past in order to move forward with her life. I made the MC half-Japanese for some reason. I’m not Japanese.
I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I wrote this FABULOUS book and that I would find an agent easily. Well, reality hit and I discovered how hard the publishing business is if you want to be traditionally published. I shelved that book and wrote a second book about international adoption titled HER LITTLE SECRET. Book 2 got a lot of requests from agents and I felt sure this was the book that would land me an agent.
Alas, no. I failed to sign with an agent and gave up writing for a month. But during that month, I kept returning to my first book and one day, I realized how I could fix it. As a Taiwanese-American woman, I often felt like I wasn’t really a part of either culture. I wasn’t American enough, yet when I went back to Taiwan to visit, everyone called me “the American cousin.” I realized I should use my experience to change the concept of Book 1, and draw on that feeling of being caught between two cultures. I sat down, outlined a whole new book (but I kept the same characters and general information), and this became THE TIGER MOM’S TALE.
To kick off my year as one of the Debs, I actually put on a dress (and heels! gasp) to celebrate. It didn’t seem appropriate to attend The Debutante Ball wearing my pandemic uniform of tank top, shorts and bare feet. So even though I have no place to go, I will be twirling around in my dress and heels today.
I can’t wait to share more with you on my journey to traditional publishing. Because I remember too freshly what it was like to be a new writer with absolutely no contacts in the publishing world or any idea what I was doing, I will also share tips that helped me so much on my path to publication. I’m really looking forward to this next year!
Before I go, I wanted to announce that my fellow Deb, Ehsaneh Sadr’s book, A DOOR BETWEEN US, comes out tomorrow! I just finished it and oh, it is a stunning debut. So full of drama, eye opening scenes and tension, it drew me into a world I had no idea about. Here’s a sneak peak at her book.
THE DISSIDENT, THE SOLDIER, THE BRIDE: WILL THE GREEN WAVE SAVE THEM OR DROWN THEM ALL?
Weddings always have their fair share of drama, but this one comes on the heels of the highly controversial 2009 Iranian election and ensuing Green Wave protests.
When the matriarch of Sarah’s family arranged her marriage to Ali, it was with the intention of uniting two compatible families. However, as the 2009 election becomes contentious, political differences emerge and Sarah’s conservative family tries to call off the wedding. Sarah and Ali, however, have fallen in love and, against the wishes of their parents, insist on going through with the marriage.
Sarah’s cousin, Sadegh, is a staunch supporter of the government and a member of the Baseej (the volunteer militia), tasked with arresting protestors and shutting down speech against the regime. Meanwhile, Ali’s sister, Azar, is an activist, a divorce attorney, and a passionate Green Wave supporter, trying to enact change in a way that many Iranians see as inflammatory. When Sarah impulsively shelters a protestor in their car on the drive home from the wedding, she sets off a chain of events that can either unmask the government’s brutality or ruin them all.
Sarah, Sadegh, and Azar’s stories weave together in an unflinching, humorous, and, at times, terrifying, story that demonstrates that, even as the world is falling apart around us, choices matter.