From a Newtown Literary contributor: Amanda Chu
Writer Amanda Chu's work was featured in issue #18 of Newtown Literary. We interviewed her about her writing and her answers are below.
When you think of Queens, what first comes to mind?
Home. I’ve lived in the same house in Fresh Meadows my entire life. My parents work in Chinese restaurants in Flushing, and I went to Townsend Harris High School at Queens College. Jamaica 169th Street is my train station. Queens is the only place I really know.
How does Queens influence your writing?
It influences my writing a lot. I grew up in a predominantly Asian American community in Queens, and yet at school, the only stories available were about white people in Middle America. Every time I write, it’s a continuous effort to undo what I’ve learned a story is and figure out how to write something that reminds me of my life. I usually start with memories I have of growing up in Queens and the people I know there.
What is the last piece of writing you read that made you laugh or cry (or just especially moved you)?
Native Speaker, by Chang-Rae Lee
What inspires you? Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your story featured in the journal?
Many things inspire me. Reading stories and watching films by Asian Americans inspire me because it lets me know that there’s a space for me here. But I draw inspiration from everywhere: conversations at dinner, people on the street, television. Everything I write expresses something I’ve felt before, even if the physical events are made up.
I wrote “Snow” last winter in Philadelphia. It snowed the entire time we were there. One night, I was telling my boyfriend how my parents love to throw slippers (in a very harmless way) and the story started from there.
What does your writing process/routine look like?
It’s very erratic. I write when I have time. Maybe it’s because I’ve always lived in a house full of people, but I love writing at 2 a.m. when everyone is asleep. I could stay up all night writing.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I like to take BuzzFeed quizzes and eat Korean food.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m just trying to write more stories that I’m proud of and that resonate with me. I’m finishing up my undergrad at Georgetown and working on a portfolio of fiction. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in journalism. I currently write part-time for the Financial Times.