How I Wrote 5 Books In 6 Months!

And published all 5 books of the "Clara Wu and the World Azen" series in less than one year! Now young Asian American readers will have a fantasy series where they are the heroes and their friends and allies can finally read a story where their Asian friends are the heroes!

After writing two books some years back, I always had this Young Adult Asian American fantasy trilogy lingering in my mind. To motivate me, I put up this Asian inspired art collage on my wall to remind me each morning, that I need to write this, before I left for work. But many mornings passed by and what was meant to motivate me, haunted me instead.

After a few years of no progress, I declared on Asian Hustle Network on New Year’s Day of 2020, that I would begin writing but months passed with no progress.

In May of 2020, as the pandemic began, I parted ways with my corporate job.

I settled into lockdown life after stockpiling essentials and putting my Instant Pot to delicious use.

Then in October of 2020, I started to write the outline to what I thought would be my trilogy. It turned out to be 5 books instead and the work became more daunting.

Writers never know where the writing journey will take them but it always starts with page one.

The first draft to Book One was done on Nov 1, 2020!

After a grueling but an invigorating writing session of Book One, I binged The Queen’s Gambit.

The first draft to Book Two was completed on Dec 10, 2020.

In order to decompress from writing two books, I binged Start-Up on Netflix. I’m a big Suzy Bae fan and I’d recommend!

I took a break to convert Book One, "Clara Wu and the Portal Book," into my first screenplay along with two other stories so that I could submit them to a screenplay submission program. It was still a lot of writing.

Everything went on hold as the Asian American community was threatened. I bought my parents personal alarms and taught them how to use them and attended rallies to #StopAsianHate. Something I never imagined that I would need to do.

Due to the sheer amount of hours writing at my computer, I developed wrist calluses. So I bought for the first time a keyboard wrist pad and mouse rest. What a difference in comfort!

I got back to writing and wrote into the wee hours of the night. To make a long story short, I banged out book 3 on Feb 17, book 4 on May 11 and book 5 on June 28. It was a very busy but thrilling 2021.

I had sent out the Book One manuscript to many of my friends’ kids to read. Some of them was visiting Boston and had the chance to view the other manuscripts and asked me a lot of questions about what would happen next! Which I couldn’t answer as I would be giving away spoilers!

After an exhaustive search that began with YA agents, then narrowed down to fantasy and finally to those open to POC themed stories, I was left with only 75 agents to query. Which isn’t a whole lot of agents. None accepted but an authentic and inclusive Young Adult Asian American fantasy shouldn’t have to wait. There are many independent Asian American writers like myself but finding the right literary agent is a big challenge. So please support independent Asian American writers as it’s the only way to get our stories out in the market.

Researching for Literary Agents and Querying was exhausting where I had to wait between 30-90 days just to hear back. So I binged Squid Game.

You may wonder what a starving and struggling writer eats during this solitary time. For me, it was Bertucci’s pizza!

I hired an Asian American illustrator, Timmy Luong, who brought Clara Wu, Sung Kim, Yuka Satoh and Daniel Nguyen and their guardian animals to life. Here were some concepts and the final illustration.

Book One, “Clara Wu and the Portal Book,” had its soft launch on Dec 25th, 2021.

Book One arrived and I love how my teenaged characters pop off the cover. An Asian American cast who are Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese who are guided by their Guardian Animals as they battle a Warlock to save earth.

After hiring a talented Asian American voice narrator, Gloria Tsai, the audio teaser was launched on Jan 22nd on YouTube. There are so many Asian American creatives out there who are looking for opportunities that are good for Asian Representation!

And working diligently through January, Book Two, “Clara Wu and the Jade Labyrinth,” arrived in time for the Year of the Tiger on Feb 1st!

Book Three, "Clara Wu and the Rescue," was launched on May 18th with its beautiful cover art!

The stunning refreshed cover for Book One, "Clara Wu and the Portal Book," was released in early June! Beautiful isn't it?

And not to be ignored, Book Two, "Clara Wu and the Jade Labyrinth," was released in late June! My illustratrator worked over time on this!

August is here and Book 4, "Clara Wu and the Final Battle," will be out this month! Stay tuned!

In between the most grueling proofreading session for book 4, as it's the biggest book in the series, I binged "The Extraordinary Attorney Woo," and I was charmed by this show. It's a must watch! On Netflix!

And finally, with book 4, "Clara Wu and the Final Battle" going live on August 31st, my seeming trilogy is now an official series. There is still one more book to go and I'm on track to completing my goal of lauching 5 books in under one year!

I had a bit of time to binge Cobrai Kai on Netflix and it was so good to see Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi! He really brought the fighting spirit to fight with Daniel while showing a side of him that we really didn't get to see in Karate Kid II.

I got the chance to sign my first Book Plates, which are in lieu of an autograph in the book when I can't physically be there to autograph copies of the book. These are then stuck into the inside cover page of the book. I'm looking forward to presenting at this well known company that everyone has happy thoughts when they think about it.

And here it is, the last printed manuscript, for Book 5, "Clara Wu and the Warlock." These are going to my first readers but I'll need to assemble them first. During this entire writing journey, I went through almost two cases of 3-hole paper and 3 black toner cartridges. Did you know that paper and toner are really expensive? Just a bit of the work that goes behind the scenes.

Quantum Leap with Raymond Lee is really good! Catch it on Mondays at 10P EST on NBC!

Some exciting news! I not only want fans to read about Clara Wu and her adventures but I want them to wear them as well. So I've been diligently working on T-Shirts and other products that fans can wear and take with them!

The Clara Wu and the World of Azen Merchandise has gone live on Oct 10th! It is launching with almost 100 items from T-Shirts, hoodies, mugs and fun stickers! Never did I thought I had to devise a SKU management system but luckily, my Staples retail experience came through. Check it out and use the promo code AZEN15 to get 15% off your entire order. Good through the month of October. "Read It, Wear It!"

More and more libraries in and around The Greater Boston area are adding "Clara Wu and the Portal Book" to their collections!

Amazing! I was so excited to learn that Clara Wu and her friends, in their fantastical adventures in the World of Azen, was a Silver Place awardee at The BookFest! Showing that an Asian themed fantasy can enrich the fantasy genre usually dominated by elves, dwarves, southlanders and wizards. Hopefully more book awards in 2023!

Wow! Bling Empire. Such an emotional roller coaster ride for Kevin Kreider where he's sad one moment and utterly elated the next. This show definitely has its unexpected surprises!

I didn't win PowerBall, which would have given me the financial freedom to write more! Okay, back to marketing and sales!

It's always so cool to see my books restocked at my neighboring bookstores. The first one being Brookline Booksmith and the second being Newtonville Books.

What's even cooler is seeing fans of my book wearing the merch! The fantastic premium hoodie and the old faithful T-Shirt!

Check out these new illustrations of Clara Wu, Sung Kim, Yuka Satoh and Daniel Nguyen in their training outfits along with their mystical and powerful weapons of Azen!

After an aggressive editing and proofreading process, book 5 went live on Amazon on Thanksgiving Day!

And with the arrival of book 5 on Saturday, my 5-book series, that took 11 months to publish, is now a complete set! I may have made it look easy but I can be brutally honest, that it was not. But I so want this and the next generation of Asian Americans to have their own Asian American fantasy series where they can see themselves as heroes. And I want their friends and allies, to see them as heroes! Writing for better Asian Representation! Please support!