Monday, May 18, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Cynthea Liu

Today's Muse: Cynthea Liu
Author of: The Great Call of China (review here)
Starring in: An interview, in which she talks about travel, food, and books!
Bookworm: Welcome, Cynthea! To start off, please tell us: is your book, The Great Call of China, based off of a personal experience?
Cynthea: The plot is fictional but many of the details about Xi'an in The Great Call had a lot to do with my own experiences there. I've done practically everything Cece has done there for fun. Also, Cece's personality, to some extent, was a bit like mine when I was in high school. I wasn't the most outgoing person ever and I was absolutely embarrassing around hot guys. But if you want to read something that is much more autobiographical, look for Paris Pan Takes the Dare, my second book, in June. Paris and her family bear a striking resemblance to myself and my own family. 

Bookworm: *adds Paris Pan to her massive TBR list* Where are your favorite places to travel?
Cynthea: I LOVE traveling. I've been to lots of places, thanks to my mom who used to work for the airlines (thanks, Mom!). If I had to choose some favorites, I think Sydney is pretty sweet--the Aussies are AU-SOME. Paris is a must-see, too. Crazy-packed with culture, history, the arts. And the FOOD! The French truly are gourmets! China, of course, is fabulous, for all the reasons mentioned in The Great Call. But I am always astounded by how amazing the US is, too. There's nothing like traveling around the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Bryce...Fabulous!

Bookworm: For those who haven't read the book, The Great Call is about a girl who goes to Xi'an, China, for a summer abroad. Have you ever been to China before? What were your
 experiences like there?
Cynthea: I've been about four or five times now. And Cece's first impressions upon her 
arrival were exactly mine when I stepped foot in the motherland, myself. I was immediately taken aback by the modern-ness of the Shanghai airport, the intense pollution in Xi'an, the masses of people everywhere. China is pretty darn incredible, but, of course, not everything there is perfect--mainly, I wish China would adopt Japan's need for cleanliness when it comes to public toilets. Seriously, Japan makes every country look bad in this department. But other than that, the food (that isn't still alive) is crazy-good! There's always a ton to see! And the shopping is PHENOMENAL!

Bookworm: What is your favorite/funniest travel story?
Cynthea: You know the scene [in the book] where Cece is confronted by the duck? Well, in real life, I did have a meal like that in China. There really was an eel on the table that looked ready to attack. And the drunken shrimp were flipping in an out of the bowl, splashing wine everywhere. Poor guys. (At least they were drunk, right?) I still remember watching my aunt eat one of the shrimp with its feet still kicking as she deshelled it in her mouth. EWWWW! I can handle fish-eyeballs, no problem (not eating them, but watching people eat them). But the shrimp-thing almost killed me.

Bookworm: Speaking of food, what kind of Chinese food is your favorite?
Cynthea: What kind? Hmmmm....I love all sorts of Chinese food. Chinese SOUPS are awesome. Though I'm not a noodle-lover. Must be some anti-carb thing I have going on. I also really enjoy Peking Duck (unlike Cece). The duck has to be in the top five for me.

Bookworm: Least favorite?
Cynthea: STINKY TOFU (Chou Doufu). It really tastes as bad as it sounds. And the smell? The stuff belongs in a sewage pipe, not on your dinner table. Totally gross.

Bookworm: Are you planning on writing any more books for the S.A.S.S. series?
Cynthea: I still have to finish a bunch of manuscripts before I can even entertain another S.A.S.S. book. So we'll see!
Thanks so much, Cynthea!
The Great Call of China came out in February, so definitely check it out! The whole S.A.S.S. series, in fact, is perfect for when you're in the mood for a light-yet-fun and entertaining summer read. (:


Kate said...

Great interview. I've been to China once before :)

Pissenlit said...

I don't find stinky tofu as stinky as durians. Now that stuff smells like stinky feet! Though if you stick it in the freezer, they don't smell or taste as bad, IMO. :)

cynthea said...

Thanks for the interview, Bookworm. Pissenlit, don't remind me about the durians! UGGGGH!

katayoun said...

sounds lovely and also great interview