UCLA Extension Novelist Glad She Didn’t Listen to Mom

Mom had different hopes for LA journalist and author Alison Singh Gee. As the writer recalls in a delightful Q&A with the South China Morning Post, for whom she wrote extensively in the 1990s and still freelances occasionally today, it was all about TV and airborne glamour:

“My mother wanted me to be either the new Connie Chung, a contestant on Wheel of Fortune or a stewardess. Really. My father was a stifling patriarchal sort who never really gave us much of an audience. So I decided that if I couldn’t talk freely, I could write my feelings and ideas out instead.”

“I wrote my first “book” as a child, an illustrated book about dogs. I always kept journals full of tortured thoughts and so when I graduated from university and graduate school in London it seemed logical for me to pursue journalism.”

Gee moved from Hong Kong to LA in 2000 and worked out the basics of her acclaimed novel Where the Peacocks Sing in a UCLA Extension writing class. She would love the film version, if it comes to pass, to be directed by Mira Nair and is currently at work on a sequel titled Cooking for the Maharani: Four Continents, Six Iconic Chefs and One Tall Glass of Revenge. Read the full Q&A here.

Update – 05/07/13: We were not aware at the time of writing this item that Gee is now a writing instructor with UCLA Extension. In her teacher bio, she notes that “even after almost two decades of writing professionally, I can tell you, it doesn’t get that much easier. In fact, it gets harder, as you fight to find the poetry in your words and thoughts…”

[Jacket cover courtesy St. Martin’s Press]