March 3, 2020
Stacey Lee is the author of “The Downstairs Girl”, a novel that follows the life of 17-year-old Jo Kuan, who anonymously writes for a newspaper column and attempts to challenge societal gender and race norms when her column gains popularity.
Q: Who/what inspired you to become a writer?
A: I don’t think I had anyone inspiring me to be a writer; writing was just something I did naturally ever since my first hello kitty diary. I loved reading stories, listening to stories, and making up stories. I had a somewhat “typical” Asian American upbringing where my parents wanted me to take on a serious profession, relegating writing to “hobby” status. So I think for me, the writing bug was always there.
Q: How has writing and being part of this community impacted you?
A: It’s fulfilling. I love creating stories for readers to get lost in because I always considered books to be the best possible escape.
Q: What was the greatest challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
A: Definitely it was my fear of speaking in public. But being an author nowadays is different than how it was when I was growing up due to factors like changes in the publishing industry and social media. Authors are required to have a public face. I overcame this challenge (and am still overcoming it, to be honest) by just doing it. Every time I live through a public speaking event, it reinforces not only that it doesn’t kill me, but most of the time, I end up enjoying it!
Q: Who is your favorite writer at the moment and why?
A: Really loving Neal Shusterman at the moment; I’m at the end of his latest dystopian series, SCYTHE, and it’s so full of interesting political intrigue, philosophy, conflict, heroes to root for, bad guys to hiss at. His work is fabulous.
Q: What do you hope to bring to the Los Altos community by participating in Writer’s Week?
A: I’m here to connect with the future! I’d love for students to see that being a writer is pretty awesome. The more we value storytelling, the better our society will be. Storytelling creates empathy, and the world needs more of that.
Q: If you could recommend one book to Los Altos students, what would it be?
A: That is a really mean question, but since I am right now enjoying THE SCYTHE series I think you can’t go wrong there. Ok, here’s another one, my favorite historical fiction series is BLOODY JACK by L.A. Meyer.
Q: What is the best writing advice anyone has given you?
A: Don’t quit on your worst day. Take another day to think about it.