On February 26, Nueva Upper School students had an opportunity to hear from a New York Times bestselling author. Nueva parent Abigail Hing Wen published her first novel, Loveboat, Taipai, at the beginning of January. It rapidly joined the charts and is now climbing (it entered the list at #9 last week and is currently sitting at #8). She joined Jen Neubauer’s Creative Writing: The Multitudes to talk about her writing process and share writing tips with students.
“I was thrilled to bring Abigail into my class so students could get an inside look at the writing process, especially because Loveboat, Taipai has many characters and many different voices,” Jen shared. “The timing of her visit could not have been better, as our class is currently diving into the craft of writing dialogue.”
After a brief introduction to her writing process, Abigail took questions from students.
“How long did the whole process of revision take you?” one student asked. Abigail shared that the novel was three years in the making, and that she wrote 26 drafts.
Abigail shared that this book is special to her not only because it’s her first published novel, but also because it “showcases the diversity of the Asian American community. There have been so few examples of Asian American culture in literature, media, and film so it was important for me to show that there are actually a lot of different Asian cultures.”
Abigail’s path to published author demonstrates that one is never too late to pursue a passion. Having attended law school, she thought she’d be a law professor before an idea for a fantasy novel sparked her desire to write it. She decided to pursue a master of fine arts in writing and fulfill her dream of becoming a writer.
One of the most important things she learned during her MFA program, which she shared with students, was the importance of being able to answer these questions when creating characters: "Would you be willing to die for your characters?" and "What would it take to break your characters?"
Following her time in Jen’s English class, Abigail was hosted in the Writing and Research Center for a session with all interested Upper School students. During this session, students asked questions and Abigail shared anecdotes about her journey to becoming a published author. One student asked, “Is any part of the book based on your personal experience?” Abigail shared one anecdote in particular that was based on her own family’s experience.
“The story about watching Mulan with my sister and then asking my dad if he saw it, too...that story happened,” she shared.
At the end of the session, Abigail provided students in attendance with a copy of her book and signed it for those eagerly awaiting. “It was so great being at Nueva today,” she said. “I love the craft of writing, so it was really fun to talk about the craft with students.”
On the horizon for Loveboat, Taipai is a film adaptation, as ACE Entertainment recently acquired the rights to turn the novel into a film; Abigail will serve as executive producer. For more information and to purchase the book, visit Abigail’s website here.