Back in 2012, I wrote a non-fiction essay about why so many people from the diasporic Vietnamese community made their living as nail salon workers. As the daughter of nail salon entrepreneurs, I was curious to know the answers myself. I learned so much during the research of that project, and I wanted to do more with what I found by creating a work of fiction that centres around the lives of nail salon workers in modern-day Toronto.
When I write, I need to know where I’m going and how it fits into the bigger picture. Outlining keeps my brain from exploding. That’s the Capricorn in me. Currently, I’m using the 27 Chapter Outline, which I’ve physically drawn out on a piece of paper and taped to the wall so I can visually see my story progress from Act 1 through to Act 3.
If I could choose an author to write about my life, I’d choose Kim Thuy. She’s a Vietnamese-Canadian author who writes with such care and exacting reflection. Her books have validated and resurfaced many of my childhood memories. It’s as if she has already written about my life.
In a perfect world, writers, along with everybody else, would receive a basic living income that would allow them to pursue their passions with the assurance that their basic necessities will be covered.
In 10 years, I better have finished this book and be on my second! Publishing any work of fiction would be such a feat. However, one of my fears is that my writing career could be hampered by inertia.