Put Pen to Paper: A Writers Write Interview with Jennifer J. Chow

As I sit here just north of Homer, Alaska, nothing sounds better than a cozy mystery, so it’s a perfect day to share Jennifer Chow’s words on writing and her newest book.

1. Tell me about your latest project.

Seniors Sleuth is a fun, cozy mystery. It features Winston Wong, an ex-video game tester as the protagonist. He’s out to solve a mystery at the local senior home.

2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood? 

Ever since I figured out how to read, my eyes were glued to a book. Fun field trips involved going to the library and browsing the shelves.

3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?

Since I have kids, I tend to write when they’re involved in school or extracurricular activities. When they were younger, I snuck in time during naps or after they were in bed. I used to write in the evenings, but I’ve now developed a habit of writing during the day.

4. Who are you reading now?

I just finished this great crime anthology from the local Sisters in Crime chapter in Los Angeles. It’s called LAdies’ Night. Clever, right?

5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?

 Charlotte’s Webb absolutely drew me into writing and reading as a kid. I loved rooting for Wilbur and even owned a stuffed pig as a child. Joy Luck Club for showing me that Asian Americans have stories people want to hear. And The Remains of the Day for displaying innovation in writing subject and style.

6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?

I never could juggle properly. It’s hard to balance platform and writing. I try to carve out specific time for marketing and other concrete time for actual writing and revising.

7. What is a typical day like for you? 

I tend to write longhand in a journal and then type up/edit that piece later in the day. On my blogging days (Mondays and Fridays), I will start with the blog entry first. I save outreach and connecting with readers for the afternoon or evening.

8. Describe your dream writing space? 
I would love a beautiful writing desk surrounded by bookshelves housing signed editions of my favorite books. I’ll also need to have a constant supply of my favorite ballpoint pen nearby, and a place that can easily hold a laptop and a printer.

9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?

I think the hardest critique I got was from someone who thought they had to suspend their disbelief too much. I try to balance writing fictionalized stories and creating interesting situations for authentic characters. My hope is that by attending workshops and classes and running my manuscripts through beta readers and editors, I will create novels that are both realistic and unique.

10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?

No matter what, continue to put pen to paper (or finger to key). You can only improve and overcome rejection by writing more. Also, I would highly recommend building friendships wNovelist Jennifer J. Chowith other writers (authors are some of the nicest people around).


Jennifer J. Chow writes Asian-American fiction with a geriatric twist. Her debut novel, The 228 Legacy, won several awards, and she also writes the Winston Wong mysteries under the name of J.J. Chow. Visit her online and read her blog: www.jenniferjchow.com