This post is one in a series introducing the ChiYAwriters.com contributors. We hope you’ll stick around to learn more about us and to follow our writing adventures in and around Chicago!
Hey guys! Kat here, hope you don’t mind while I ramble for awhile about a few things that inspire me as a writer and a person. (Also, there will be lots of GIFs)
Who is your fictional hero?
Mulan, because of what she represented to me as a kid. She was strong and brave and she made choices because of her love for others over her fear for her own safety. I mean, war is terrifying! But she preferred taking her father’s place because of her love for him and her family. I think it was also because she sought to find some honor in her own way since she didn’t seem to fit in. And as an Asian kid growing up in 1990s central Florida I always felt like I didn’t belong (yes, I AM Fresh Off the Boat the TV show).
My other answer is Ponyo because she’s amazing and she can be a fish or a girl and she has maaaagic!
Who is your real-life hero?
I can only pick one? I mean, my sister is my hero because she’s so smart and able to adapt to any situation. I idolize my cousin because she pushed me to actually pursue writing and she has such a huge heart. I’m a big fan of the Obamas because who wouldn’t look up to them? (#couplegoals)
I also really love Lin-Manuel Miranda. I think everyone loves him. However, I loved him since In The Heights was a struggling play on Broadway. I knew about him through my alumni grapevine and I think people already knew he’d be big. But, just to look at how he’s stayed so true to himself with his work and STILL made it. I mean, if someone had told you they were going to write a hip hop musical about a founding father of the United States, you’d probably have HARD side-eyed them. Which actually kiiind of happened. I was at the commencement at my aforementioned alma mater (Go Wes!) and Lin-Manuel was the speaker and he hadn’t yet finished writing Hamilton, but he rapped My Shot at the podium and I think people were a little shocked and surprised (and delighted) by it all. It was amazing and cool to see when it wasn’t even a full play. Then to witness the huge success later on was awesome.
So, long story just a tad longer, LMM is my hero because I am inspired by who he is and how he has stayed true to his roots through thick and thin and beyond. I hope to be that kind of creator one day.
If you were a fictional character, who would you be?
I’d be anyone who gets to kiss Song Joongki. But if I had to pick just one character, I’d be San from Princess Mononoke. She’s fierce and bold and knows who she is. She also gets to hang out with wolves and I’m fairly certain she’s going to marry Ashitaka and he’s my anime boyfriend.
If I was going with book character I would be Zuzanna from Daughter of Smoke and Bone hands down. She’s so bright and funny and bold. And she has a great creative streak. You can also tell her mind is wide open to possibilities. She’s also a loyal friend and I strive to be that myself.
What is happiness to you?
What inspires you to write?
All of the voices in my head…[awkward crickets]. No, seriously, I do have a lot of random daydreams and I am lucky enough to remember a lot of my dreams. So I used to keep a dream journal. It’s a strange mix of fantasy and weird.
When I was younger I used to lie awake in bed and act out my favorite scenes from books but I’d change them to play out how I wanted. I never realized it was a weird version of fan fic. Then I would actually write those scenes down (in legit fan fiction). I always knew where I wanted my characters to go, I just never thought that others would want to see it too. (Until now!)
If you could give three books to every young adult, what would they be?
Redwall (fantasy and food and the little guys win!)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (because I adore the characters and the world and imagination that built that world)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (I honestly adore this book. While I think the other books are solid, I consider this the book where HP started to transition from MG to YA. It also has great themes of “what is family?”)
What’s your favorite work of art (book/movie/song/sculpture/etc.) with a Chicago connection?
Transformers 3! Hahaha, Just kidding. I actually loved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and will always love it as a classic part of my childhood. It uses Chicago as such a fun playground and shows off some of the best parts of the city!
What’s your favorite hidden gem in Chicago?
I have two places I love.
Soho House lounge/Allis. It’s a great space for brunch or an afternoon drink and during the day it’s a great space to write!
Speaking of places to write, my amazing ChiYA ladies introduced me to Chicago Athletic Club which has a wonderful space for writing with great architecture and ambiance. PLUS, it doubles as a bar later in the day!
Thanks for sticking through my looong answers and if you want to connect on Twitter I’m @KatCho