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Banyan Moon has a cover!
And a pre-order link!
There was a professor in our MFA program who hated sentences with exclamation points. He’d read them aloud in every workshop submission that used them to excess. BUT! I’m going to defy his very good advice and use ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS! Because Banyan Moon has a cover and it is the cover of my dreams!
The Cover Journey
Of all the marketing-related steps in the publishing process, I was most excited about the book cover. Once upon a time, I worked as a cover designer, so I understood how much work goes into crafting a perfect cover—and how it can go amiss. As a reader, I was always curious about how a cover could lead a reader into a book. And, honestly, I was anxious as heck about my own cover. What if it didn’t match the tone of the story? What if I was being too particular in my feedback? Or, most worrisome of all, what if I just didn’t know what I wanted?
After I signed my contract with Mariner, Dan asked, “What do you picture your book cover to look like?” I’d always thought I could rattle off the answer to this question, should I be lucky enough to daydream, but instead, I drew a huge, gaping blank.
Thank goodness for my talented cover designer, Ploy Siripant, who knew exactly how to bring the book to life. I didn’t know this at the time, but I had been a fan of Ploy’s work for a while. I looked back through my photos from early spring and realized I had saved a snapshot of The Tobacco Wives that I found in a bookstore, telling Dan, “I want my cover to feel like this.” Lo and behold, Ploy was assigned as my cover designer, months later. Pure kismet.
When the cover arrived in my inbox, I could not click the email open fast enough. And, without a shadow of a doubt, Ploy’s design encompassed everything I wanted the book to convey. It draws on the mood of the swamplands, with texture and layers, with a play of branches and text—and the crumbling old Banyan House in the distance. The cover felt inviting, yet bold and complex. It represented a world to get lost in.
Within five minutes, I sent back a huge, exclamation-loaded email praising Ploy’s genius and all the things I loved about the cover. No feedback. No changes. Just pure, unadulterated bliss and gratitude. I think this is probably a rare instance in publishing.
More about the Book
The opening for the book jacket copy reads: “A sweeping, evocative debut novel following three generations of Vietnamese American women reeling from the death of their matriarch, revealing the family’s inherited burdens, buried secrets, and unlikely love stories.” Ploy perfectly captured the tangle of legacy I hoped to convey.
From my Q&A with wonderful Alisha from Girls’ Night In: “Banyan Moon (coming June 27, 2023) is a novel about three generations of strong-willed Vietnamese women: Ann, her mother Huơng, and her beloved grandmother Minh. On paper, Ann seems to have it all—attentive boyfriend, thriving career, beautiful lake house—but it all crumbles when she gets the news that Minh has suddenly passed away. Ann must return to her childhood home, a deteriorating manor near the swamplands of Florida, to face her estranged mother, grieve her tremendous loss, and uncover a secret that has followed the family for decades.”
I’m always writing about mothers and daughters in some form or another, and this story is incredibly special to me, because it highlights the fierce love as well as the struggle in those relationships. I grew up among secrets, as many children of immigrants do, and it was only in recent years that some of them have begun to eke out. In some families, secrets are a way to protect each other, though we all know that strategy doesn’t always work. In Banyan Moon, I wanted to explore the concept of inherited secrets, especially within complicated relationships. Also, I felt moved to write a love letter to the survivors: women who’ve fought their way through trauma and heartbreak, yet have found a way to start over, again and again.
I’m so grateful to be able to share this piece of myself with you.
Preorders can be very meaningful to authors in terms of the early success of their books, so if you are inclined, I would be honored if you ordered or shared the links.
Your local bookseller!
Thank you so much for your support and for letting me use A LOT of exclamation points in one post!
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Hell of a Book by Jason Mott: fast-paced, voice-y, and authoritative. A lauded Black author with an active imagination goes on a nationwide book tour, only to stumble across a child who no one else seems to see, amidst the backdrop of police violence and protests.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid: an energetic story about a champion tennis player who comes out of retirement to defend her title. It didn’t have the same emotional pull for me as some of TJR’s other books, but I really liked seeing a complex, ambitious woman in sports represented.
The Winter King by C.L Wilson: I woke up one day wanting a dessert of a book—something smutty and transportive. Fantasy romance for the win! In this story, an isolated princess who can control the weather (named Storm!) tricks a winter king (named Wynter!) into marrying her. They fight their growing feelings for one another, amidst a simmering war with an undead, icy demon. Great literature it is not, but it made for a very enjoyable few days.
“Why Did We All Have the Same Childhood?” (The Atlantic): the importance of typing BOOBS in calculators and making puppies out of 5’s
Home is Where Your Best Friend Is (Harper’s Bazaar): a beautiful story of loss and friendship
“The Transcendent Brain” (The Atlantic): “We human beings are capable of inventing antibiotics and smartphones, and we are also capable of composing symphonies or being awestruck by the melting red glow of a setting sun. We are experimenters, and we are also experiencers.”
Jess Kane’s fabulous travel guides: I purchased her Paris guide, and I’m already fantasizing about a trip abroad. Think of these guides as a series of very detailed (there’s a map!) and very thoughtful recommendations from your stylish, always-in-the-know friend.
Eggs on toast, drizzled with Liquid Gold.
Ellie’s friends coming over for an after-school snack and sheepishly asking for their “usual.”