By BRYAN THAO WORRA
AAP staff writer
Ed Lin is the author of Waylaid and This Is a Bust. Both books were published by Kaya Press, in 2002 and 2007, respectively, and both were widely praised. Lin, who is of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win two Members’ Choice Awards in the Asian American Literary Awards. His latest book, Snakes Can’t Run, was published by Minotaur Books in April 2010; it is the sequel to This Is a Bust. You can visit Ed Lin at http://www.edlinforpresident.com
Asian American Press: So, here we are, back again with another new novel from you. Has it gotten easier writing them now?
Ed Lin: Here we are! Well, it’s easier in terms of the writing “discipline,” setting aside time to write and actually writing, but it is just as hard to write a book. Maybe it’s even harder because I never want to be predictable or do the same thing again.
AAP: What’s the premise for this new novel of yours, and what inspired it?
EL: “Snakes Can’t Run” is the sequel to “This Is a Bust,” my 2007 novel and winner of the Members’ Choice Award in the Asian American Literary Awards. It’s the hot summer of 1976 in New York’s Chinatown and Robert Chow is investigating the deaths of two undocumented dead Chinese men. He has to track down a snakehead, a new ruthless breed of human smuggler. I guess the story for me really comes out of the reality that Chinatown’s tourist economy largely depends on victimizing undocumented immigrants and getting cheap labor out of them. I just wondered what would happen if one man tried to make a difference on this issue back then.
AAP: What’s the strangest question you’ve been asked about your novels lately?
EL: “Is Robert Chow going to have children?”
AAP: What would be the first rule of the Ed Lin school of writing?
EL: First rule: There is no school. We don’t need no education!
AAP: How do you keep motivated?
EL: For me, that’s not even a question. I’m always ready to work. And, frankly, you’re kidding yourself if you say writing is not “work.” Sure, it’s so easy to get discouraged, but that should never make one stop.
AAP:So, where to next?
EL: Upwards and onwards! Up and at them!