The Next Project

During my book tour, people asked, “What’s your next project?” I was honest, bouncing around some ideas I had and my conflicted feelings about committing to a larger work before I was ready.

Now that the tour has ended, I’ve painted a few paintings and written a few poems but again I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, “What’s your next project?”

I’ve thought about the thriller I need to rewrite, the one that was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the one in which I didn’t know how to proceed but now have the knowledge to continue. I’ve also thought about the romance I need to edit, the one that every editor and agent said was a solid idea, poorly executed. Could I work on that?

And then there is the exhaustion that comes after one projected has ended. How much time do you allow yourself before apathy creeps in and takes hold? Is one week enough? One month? Or do I need more time to recover?

I don’t have any answers to any of these questions, only more questions upon questions. That’s why I wake up every night and wonder how I will begin. That’s why I try to go back to sleep, to dream and rest and find that sense of sanity I lost when I was writing, promoting, and traveling.

And that’s how stories always begin. When I am not looking for that next project, the project seems to find me. It starts as one word, then another, until I have another manuscript unfolding in my hands. That’s when I’ll look up and say, “I know what my next project is.”

Four Must Haves for a Successful Book Tour

1. Hire a publicist. Not only should your publicist schedule your book events, she should also make your hotel and travel arrangements. This extra service is worth the expense, since it prevents missed opportunities. I only listened to half of this advice by hiring a publicist to arrange only the book signing events. Because my publicist did not plan my travel arrangements, I ended up being unable to reschedule one leg of my flight to take advantage of a last minute TV interview. If my publicist had managed the entire trip, this would not have happened.

2. Hire an author escort or roadie. An author escort meets you at the airport, takes you to your hotel, and drives you to the event. She may also highlight points of interest in each city and suggest places to go for meals. If you can’t afford an author escort, you can also hire a roadie who will carry your bags to and from the airport, drive you to your hotel and events, and take pictures for your website. The roadie won’t pack your suitcase, so you may still forget that beautiful angora sweater on the hotel duvet, which is exactly what I did.

My Roadie
My Roadie

3. Bring your own pen. Every bookstore manager asked, “Where’s your pen?” Not only was I unaware of the expectation that each author has a special book tour pen, I only carried those fine tipped ball point pens I use to jot down notes when inspiration strikes. If I had known better, I would have purchased a red fine tipped felt pen for autographing books – red to emphasize the title and the message of happiness.

4. Bring your own bottled water. Most bookstores supplied water, but the schools I visited did not. You do not want to lean over a water fountain with a highway of students pushing and shoving down the halls between periods in the hopes of quenching your thirst. It does not work. If I had brought my own water, I would have been less hoarse and tired after giving 5 presentations in one day.

Best Book Launch Party

From left to right:  authors Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Angela Lam, and Jan Ogren
From left to right: authors Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Angela Lam, and Jan Ogren
I had a great time at Best Wishes! Cards, Gifts, and US Post Office in Santa Rosa visiting with long time fans and friends at the book launch party for Red Eggs and Good Luck.

Special thanks to Carol Lueck for hosting the event. She makes every occasion warm and wonderful just like her store–the best place to buy one-of-a-kind gifts, mostly locally made, and easy to ship from the onsite USPS service station.

It’s been a long and glorious trip, full of adventures I’ll cherish forever. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Not even the crying babies on the two-and-a-half hour flight from Washington DC to Chicago. It’s all been good.

Most of all, it’s good to be home!

Visit to Green Apple Books

Featured Reader of the Night
Featured Reader of the Night

I had a wonderful time in San Francisco reading from Red Eggs and Good Luck and discussing growing up biracial during the Great American Melting Pot and autographing books for readers. I especially enjoyed the lively discussion with readers who shared the same upbringing that I did. They have inspired me to continue to tell my stories.

Signing Books for Readers

Special thanks to my publicist, Eva Zimmerman, for arranging the event and the entire staff of Green Apple Books for making my visit memorable.

Only one more stop on my nationwide book tour…stay tuned.

My Lucky Visit

More Questions
I enjoyed spending the day with students in Tomah, Wisconsin, discussing the themes of my memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck, and answering questions about writing, Chinese culture, and what it means to be true to yourself. I appreciated the attentive audience with their enthusiastic questions. Their pure joy of learning fueled me through five presentations, three at the middle school and two at the high school, for a full day of fun!

Boswell Book Company


Thank you to Todd Wellman at Boswell Book Company for welcoming me tonight.

Thank you to all the fans who showed up, especially Sydney Hofer, a long-time Goodreads and Facebook friend and fan who helped draw interest in the event.

Thank you to all the new readers I met tonight. I appreciated the enthusiastic and inquisitive questions that led to a lively discussion.

Boswell Reading 1

One More Page Books

I kicked off my first reading at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia. Staff member and avid reader, Sally, gave an enthusiastic and well-researched introduction. The bookstore owner, Eileen, and her mother, Joyce, made me feel at home.

A special thanks to all of the readers who attended the event, purchased books, and made me feel welcomed, respected, and loved.

As a footnote, One More Page Books is where President Obama shops with his daughters for their latest reads. Although he wasn’t here tonight, I enjoyed seeing the pictures of his latest visit with the staff and shoppers.

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to 5 lucky readers who entered the Goodreads Giveaway Contest! You should be receiving your autographed copy of Red Eggs and Good Luck in the next 10 business days!

Tanya M. from Holly Springs, North Carolina
Tiffany T. from San Francisco, California
Marissa F. from Santa Monica, California
Michael V. from Houston, Texas
Theresa G. from Suisun City, California

On the Road

This week I’ll be traveling from city to city to speak about Red Eggs and Good Luck. I’ll be posting blogs when I can and updating Twitter or Facebook when I can’t. I’m looking forward to meeting some fans and making new friends and exploring new cities. Special thanks to my publicist Eva, my longtime fan Sydney, and my fellow writer Amanda for helping make this trip possible.

Q & A with Angela Lam

In celebration of the release of Red Eggs and Good Luck: A Memoir, here’s a Q&A with Angela Lam, the author:

1. One of the first scenes in your memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck, describes your experience, at eleven years old, being taken to get a makeover–a face makeup application and your hair cut and permed–by your father, “to look American, like [your mother].” How did that experience shape your self-esteem and sense of identity, as a young girl?

(AL) That experience made me feel inadequate and ugly. It wasn’t enough to be who I was. I had to enhance what I was given in order to attract attention, affection, and love. Later in life, I broke up with men who wanted me to wear more makeup than I was comfortable wearing. I ended up marrying a man who doesn’t care that I don’t wear any makeup at all.

2. As the daughter of a Chinese immigrant father and an American (caucasian) mother, it feels as if you are born into distant worlds. Did you ever feel conflicted about your Chinese heritage and your American heritage, and whether to be proud or ashamed of your multicultural background?

(AL) I always felt ashamed and misunderstood about being both Chinese and Caucasian. I never felt like I fit into either world. I was half of this and half of that, never a whole person. It’s easier now to accept both sides of my upbringing, but the world is a more accepting place than it was in the 1970’s.

3. Your father constantly strives for perfection–for his family to be “American,” and for you all to “keep up with the Jones.'” What do you think pushed him down that unattainable path as you were growing up?

(AL) American movies inspired my father to be “American” and to “keep up with the Jones.” All movies end with everyone living happily-ever-after. American movies showed him that if he just fit in, then he would be happy.

4. You are the oldest of three girls in your family. In Chinese culture, girls are frowned upon and boys are held up on pedestals. When did you first recognize that the lack of boys in your family was causing issues for your father and your father’s family? How did it make you feel?

(AL) I realized the lack of boys in my family was causing problems when my grandmother, Mah-Mah, stayed with us. She constantly bickered with my father in Cantonese. When my youngest sister was born, Mah-Mah removed the diaper to verify the baby’s gender. She was highly disappointed that my father never gave her a grandson. Their relationship affected me indirectly. Because my father didn’t feel complete love and acceptance from his mother, it was hard for him to give it to my sisters and me.

5. Your mother struggled with weight and self-esteem issues. As a girl, did you recognize signs that she may have been suffering? How did her self-esteem and weight issues impact you?

(AL) I just remember my mother being the most beautiful sad woman in the world. Her self-esteem and weight issues led me down a rocky road toward anorexia, bulimia, and overeating. I still struggle with my weight and self-esteem and never feel quite as beautiful as I am told I am.

6. Talk about the roles that art, writing, and faith, played in your life? How did each help you through hardships, as you were growing up?

(AL) Art, writing, and faith sustained me as I grew up. Through art, I was able to express my feelings. Through writing, I was able to rewrite my life into the way I always imagined it should be. And faith gave me hope that I would one day have the power to transcend my circumstances and create the life I wanted for me.