The WRITE Questions with Sung Woo

May 26, 2009

1. What was the last book you read? What are you reading now?

The last book I read was Kevin Brockmeier's The Truth About Celia. Even though it's a novel that deals with a difficult subject (a seven-year-old child goes missing and a marriage subsequently falls apart), it was still a great joy to read because Brockmeier is just a phenomenal writer. Not only can he write great sentences (here's an example: "It was late December, and the wind was blasting so hard that she could hear airborne pieces of gravel pinging against the bars of the jungle jim." A deft blending of two senses, touch and hearing, while also fully describing the park where the action takes place), he has the ability to make the fantastic undeniably real, and maybe even more impressive is that he can sometimes tinge the real with a touch of the fantastic. My favorite part of the novel is where the mother, Janet, find herself behind the screen of a movie theater. How Brockmeirer manages to make a little strange world out of that space she finds is remarkable.

2. Do you identify as an Asian American writer? Why or why not?

Most of what I've written features Asian American characters, and the novel I'm currently writing stars a pair of Korean siblings, so I would say I'm definitely an Asian American writer. I'm not terribly political, so I probably won't be dealing with any hot-button Asian American issues in the near future, though you never know. Mainly, I'm interested in telling stories of ordinary people, and these people often turn out to be Korean. Probably because I am one.

3. Do you have a blog? Does it affect your own writing?

My blog is my website and I use it to support the book. I've written bits and pieces for it that do not pertain to the book, like my reaction to John Updike's passing and review of J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories and though I enjoyed writing those, I'm not one of these people who has a lot of opinions and wishes to share them with the public. So all in all, blogging hasn't affected my writing much.

4. What websites do you frequent?

The Onion and the AV Club -- because they make me laugh.
New York Times Blogs -- because they inform me.
Angry Asian Man -- because he gets me angry in a good way.

Woo reads this Saturday May 30th at 7 pm at The Hive in San Francisco.