THE SILENT GIRL will go on sale July 5, and those who’ve read the flap copy will see that it’s about a murder that takes place in Boston’s Chinatown. But that’s just a superficial glimpse of the plot; what you won’t know until you read the book is how deeply this book is about me, about my childhood, and my experience growing up as an Asian American. Yes, it is a Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles story, but it’s also a story where I introduce a new detective named Johnny Tam, a Chinese American man who’s struggling with the same issues I’ve struggled with all my life. Namely, what does it mean to be a non-white American? Can we ever be accepted as real Americans? How do we deal with the fact that people judge us just by our faces? Can we ever break out of the stereotypes that plague us all our lives?
The Chinese American experience isn’t one that’s explored much in genre fiction. For years I avoided tackling the issue, because I didn’t think readers cared what Asian Americans thought or felt. I was told that those books simply didn’t sell. Now I’m about to find out if that’s true.