Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Wolf on My Blog: An Interview with Joyce Chng

As the readings & events coordinator with Broad Universe, I get to meet some of the most interesting sister writers!  One of them is the beautifully talented Joyce Chng, who recently released her novel A Wolf at the Door this month.  I'm honored that she took the time to give me an interview.

Born in Singapore but a global citizen, Joyce Chng writes mainly science fiction (SFF) and YA fiction. She likes steampunk and tales of transformation/transfiguration. Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, Semaphore Magazine, Bards and Sages Quarterly and Everyday Fiction. Joyce also has a crowdfunded web novella entitled “Oysters, Pearls and Magic”.

Tell us a little about yourself, Joyce.  How did you get into writing, particularly fantasy?  And why werewolves?

I am Singaporean-Chinese, love gardening, the medieval longsword and reading. And of course, writing.

I got into writing after reading. *laughs* I read a lot when I was a kid growing up - mostly science fiction and fantasy. Asimov, McCaffrey, Heinlein, Herbert - to name a few. Around my early teens, I came to the conclusion that I liked to write.

Werewolves are a particular interest for me, since I like to examine the concept of transformation and transfiguration, the body and the animal. At the same time, I love wolves.

Tell us a little about your novel, Wolf at the Door.  What can we expect from it as readers?

The novel takes place in Singapore with the main character being one of the Lang (Mandarin Chinese for 'wolf'). Basically, wolves trying to co-exist with the other non-human races as well as the ordinary 'normal' human beings. Expect a fair bit of the Lang's culture, Singaporean lingo, the wolf's hunt and a look at sibling rivalry. How many of us have harmonious relationships with our siblings?

Which character from your novel did you love writing the most, and why?  Who was the hardest to write?

 Jan Xu, the main character! She is a mother, wife and daughter, something I definitely relate to. Like me, she have to balance a plethora of obligations.

The hardest to write is Kiat. He's a Lung (Mandarin Chinese for 'dragon'), and he strikes me as enigmatic. Kinda like "still rivers run deep." Hardest and also enjoyable to write. I learn so much when my characters grow.
What are some of the unique things your experiences in Singapore bring to the book?  What can readers look forward to in the setting?

Chinese culture and festivals. Food is tied in with culture. The Seventh Month or what we call "Ghost Month."  The idea of a really cosmopolitan city, diverse and complicated with different layers.

Are there werewolf legends specific to Singapore that we can look forward to discovering?  What are some of the cultural differences that motivate your characters?

Surprisingly, there aren't any werewolf legends specific to Singapore. Instead, we have were-tigers! *chuckle* The closest we have - Chinese-wise - is the fox spirits.

Family and the bonds of family/clan underlie Jan Xu's motivations and actions. She loves her family/pack and wants to protect it. The idea of respecting our elders - wolves too look after their old.

What's a question you haven't been asked by an interviewer that you wish was asked?  And what would the answer be?

"Are some of the scenes real or based on real events?"
"What do you think?"
How can we find out more about you and your writing?  How can we purchase Wolf at the Door

I maintain a writery blog at

Wolf at the Door can be purchased at my publisher's:

What else can we read from you?

I write speculative fiction and YA (or a combination of the two). Free downloads can be found at Smashwords:

I have two stories (a novel and a novella) up on Amazon Kindle as well:

Thank you, once again, for the interview, Joyce!
No problem and thank you as well! :)


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