This blog was featured on 06/18/2019
An Exclusive Interview with Roselle Lim
Written by
She Writes
June 2019
Written by
She Writes
June 2019

This month we're getting to know debut author Roselle Lim. Our guest editor's new book Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is available now. Find out the writing routine and path it took take her book to publication. 

Describe your writing routine.

I read for 30 to 45 minutes in the morning before preparing my daughter’s school lunch. After, my husband pours me a cup of green tea in an oversized Alice in Wonderland mug as I settle into my well-worn spot on the sofa. Beside me, my cat sleeps.

I try to make my word count every morning from 9 am to 1 pm.

I wrote my debut manuscript on an old MacBook Air. Last year, I switched to a 12.9” iPad Pro where I have Do Not Disturb scheduled to turn on every morning to help avoid distractions.

All social media is banned while I’m writing. I do listen to music as background white noise to help me focus.

In the afternoon I respond to email, social media, and deal with any other administrative tasks.

What was the first/worst job you ever had before becoming an author?

My first—and worst—job was as a door to door natural gas salesperson. I was fourteen and found the job posting in the classifieds of our local newspaper. I showed up, filled out the forms, and was hired on the spot. In retrospect, I should have been more suspicious of how easy the process was.

Soon five of us (one middle-aged lady, two older men, and a teenage boy) were herded into an unmarked white van and driven to a random neighborhood far from the hiring office. Alone, I was sent off to knock on strangers’ doors and ask them to consider changing their gas provider. At my first door of the day the homeowner cussed at me and threatened to follow me home! I broke into tears, called my mother, and never went back.

When was the moment you started to feel like a writer?

When I got it through my head that I needed to accept feedback. As a novice writer, I thought the goal was to put words on the page and once the manuscript was written, I was done. What more was there to do? I had edited every line as I wrote, or so I thought.

I was naive. I couldn’t get better with that mindset. Learning to take feedback, and to know which advice to accept and which to ignore, was hard but valuable. Editing is how the manuscript reaches its full potential.

Learning that my first draft is not the final step changed me: from that moment, I grew as a writer.

What is the number one piece of advice you'd give to aspiring authors?

I always tell aspiring authors to find critique partners. Look for those who are strong where you are weak. Honest critique is the best way to evolve and to address the areas where you need to improve. Your own editorial skills will develop as you return the favor.

I progressed as a writer because of all the writers who graciously offered their time to help make my work better.

Who inspires you?

Amy Tan. I aspire to have such a prolific and successful career. The first novel of hers I read was The Kitchen God’s Wife. I saw Joy Luck Club soon after. Someone who looked like me was on bestseller lists. Her stories became movies. Everything seemed possible.

How can we help make sure diverse voices are heard in literature?

Read and buy books written by marginalized authors. It’s that simple. If you enjoyed one of their books, promote them. Evangelize them. If you are curating a list, or making recommendations, don’t overlook them.

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