Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: NICKI CHEN

107 Comments

What is special about the place you grew up?

In the early 1950s, a middle-class street that dead ends at the river, kids running free until their moms call them in for dinner and then coming out again after dark to play “Starlight Starbright” seemed absolutely ordinary. Now I see how special that street was: Harrison Street. (See: When Familiar Landmarks Disappear …)

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

When you marry someone, whether you realize it or not, each of you is agreeing to open yourself up to the other person’s world. For me, that meant going beyond my small town American world view and melding it with my Chinese husband’s more cosmopolitan, Asian perspective. (See: My Interracial Marriage and Weddings Used to be Simpler … and Cheaper.

A second event that made me who I am was giving birth and becoming a mother. Soon after we married, Eugene and I had three daughters, one after the other. Before the youngest was born, a factory closure and an economic downturn, one that hit engineers particularly hard, left Eugene without a job.

The job he eventually found with the Asian Development Bank in Manila had a profound effect on my life. It turned me into an expatriate for the next twenty-two years. Being an expat wife without a work visa put an end to my teaching career, but it also opened me up to new opportunities. I studied Chinese brush painting, batik, and Chinese language. I even (almost) finished an MBA course. Finally, after many years, I turned to writing. And here I am … a writer.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?

With apologies to Jill, my one rule would have to have three parts. I’ve often been accused of being hopelessly moderate. I just can’t go to the extremes that often go along with a single rule.

So here’s my rule: Be kind, be just, and be truthful.

 

My Blog: Behind the Story

I started my blog in August of 2013 in preparation for the 2014 publication of my novel, Tiger Tail Soup. As the title of the blog suggests, my aim was to provide background for the novel. I started out writing posts about the small Chinese island of Gulangyu where the story happens.Then I wrote about things like bound feet and Chinese food and maids. Because my novel takes place during the WWII invasion of China by the Japanese, I wrote about resistance fighters and collaborators and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

After a while, I started running low on topics related to my novel. Now I write posts on anything that strikes my fancy. For Valentine’s Day, I wrote about the seasons of love. Another post describes the problem I had with rats making a nest in my car engine and chewing up some wires. Recently I’ve been writing about the Philippines, one of the settings for my next novel.

If you haven’t visited Behind the Story, please consider this your personal invitation.

 

Tiger Tail Soup: a novel of China at war

When I was dating my husband, he told me stories about his childhood in China. It was a good tactic. All those exotic stories about a little boy and fierce tigers and Japanese invaders added to the romance and gave him an edge over the other young men I knew. I had no idea that years later I would write a novel inspired by those stories.

My novel, Tiger Tail Soup, tells a story of war from the viewpoint of a young Chinese woman left alone when her husband leaves to fight the Japanese. She’s responsible for her children, her mother, and her mother-in-, with only two maids to help her out. During seven long years, 1938 to 1945, she must rely on her wits and her courage to get her through.

You can buy Tiger Tail Soup on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, or Apple Ibooks.

It’s also available for sale or order at your favorite bookstore.

The Chinese translation can be bought in the US on Amazon.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

107 thoughts on “SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: NICKI CHEN

  1. Nice getting to know Nicki. Thanks, Jill.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for introducing us to Nicki. 🙂

    Your novel sounds interesting, Nicki. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing Nicki with us Jill. Nicki you sound as though you’ve had an interesting life, which must have given you lots of inspiration for your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Andrea. Yes, the places I’ve been do give me lots of ideas, especially for a setting for my stories. I guess we’re all inspired by our experiences and the lives we’ve led, whether exotic or ordinary. Do you remember the late Charles Kuralt and his series, “On the Road.” I remember him saying that everyone had a story if you took the time to listen.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very welcome, Andrea. Yes, Nicki has lived a very interesting life thus far. Be sure to check out her blog. She’s got some great stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve followed Nicki for a while now. She is good value.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I grew up in a similar neighborhood too, Nicki. Sounds like you’ve experienced and made some amazing memories. Great to meet you! Waving to Jill…😍

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seemed so ordinary to just run around the neighborhood as freely as we did then. My nine-year-old grandson is an only child, and he loves to play with other children. Fortunately his neighborhood is filled with children, but it’s different now. Sometimes they see each other outside and run over to play. But more often they make a play date. And then there are all the sports, lessons, and camps that keep them busy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by to meet Nicki, Tori. I grew up in the same kind of neighborhood. During the summer months, we’d head outside to play and didn’t come inside until we caught a few fireflies in the evening. Have a great 4th of July. I hope little man is recovering…poor little guy. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nice interview. I imagine living in Manila for 22 years resulted in wonderful fodder for writing. Such an interesting setting.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yay, Nicki! So glad to see you here at Jill’s blog! And you’re working on another book too, right, Nicki?
    Thank you again, Jill, for being the hostess with the mostest. 😀 Have a great weekend! Are you off on Monday?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nicki, your life sounds so fascinating and with wonderful possibilities for novels. Have a nice weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a wonderful personal fable. I love how life challenged you and you responded. I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like your terminology, Jacqui … “a personal fable.” I also like your comment about responding to life’s challenges. At the moment, I’m in the middle of a wonderful book, “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Maybe you’ve read it. I think the theme of the novel is how the Count responded to the challenge of living half his life under house arrest.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jacqui! Nicki is a wonderful storyteller. Be sure and check out her blog as well. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great interview, Jill. Nicki has lived a very interesting life and her novel sounds exciting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Phillip. Thanks to Jill, I had an interesting list of questions to choose from.

      I do hope the readers of my novel find it exciting. So much is written about soldiers during wartime, but civilians in a war zone face sometimes just as much danger.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Phillip! How the heck are you? It’s great to see you here. I’m not on FB much these days so I’ve missed you and little Angus. Of course, he wasn’t so little the last time I saw him. I hope you and the family are well. Thanks so much for stopping by to learn more about Nicki and her book. Happy 4th of July!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Doing great, thanks Jill! Great to see you as well. Funny, I’ve been away from Facebook myself so it seems like we’ve both taken a leave of absence. 🙂 We’re all doing well and I’ve actually taken up a “blog every day for 90 days” challenge, so it’s keeping me writing. Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July as well!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m happy to hear everyone is well, Phillip. Wow! Blogging every day for 90 day…that’s something I definitely couldn’t do, but kudos to you! I’m sure you’ll meet the challenge. 🙂

        Like

  11. Thanks, Jill, for having Nicki here today! Nicki’s novel sounds great…will check it out. Enjoyed her interview.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for reading the interview, Jackie. And, of course, as the author, I’d be delighted if you do decide to read “Tiger Tail Soup.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good to see you here! Your book was wonderful and I’m looking forward to the next one!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi Kate. Good to see you here, too. Thank you so much for your seal of approval.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Nicki! Nice to see you in the Summer Spotlight!

    Our street (in the mid-60’s) sounds a lot like yours ~ kids in most houses who would just head out and find others kids to play with. Hopscotch, catch, jumprope, basketball, roller skating, biking, jacks, war, pogo sticks, frisbee, kickball, etc. We went in to eat and sleep, but other than that, we could just “hang out.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Nancy. Hopscotch, biking, jumprope, and catch or hide-and-seek. Those were some of my early favorites. A neighbor girl and I considered ourselves artists. So another favorite activity for the two of us was to sit around and draw. I didn’t get into basketball and kickball until after we moved when I was ten years old.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Very nice to meet you, Nicki! I enjoyed reading your interview very much. Hi Jill! Thanks for the introduction to Nicki. I hope you both have a lovely weekend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Summer Spotlight | BEHIND THE STORY

  19. Hi Clare. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Jill provided some good provocative questions. Have a wonderful long weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi, Nicki – It’s great to meet you here. I too spent many years as an expat in Asia (Beijing). I love that your blog gives your readers information ‘behind the story’. That is a wonderful bonus for readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Donna. My information “behind the story” for my novel was necessarily limited since I’ve never lived in Xiamen. I did have thirty years with my Chinese husband, so that helped. If I ever finish my second novel, which is set in Manila and Vanuatu, I’ll have more first-hand experience for behind the scenes information.

    I see from your blog that you live on Vancouver Island. How far up the island? Being from Edmonds, WA, Victoria is one of our favorite destinations for a weekend getaway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Nicki – I live mid-Island in Oceanside…about a 2-hour drive away from Victoria. One of my sons lives near Victoria, so we are also out that way quite a bit.
      Thank you for checking out my blog. I look forward to visiting yours as well.
      Donna

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Anyone with the rule ” Be kind, be just, and be truthful” gets my attention. The book sounds like an interesting read written from a woman’s perspective. I’ll have to check it out as well as the blog. Blogs are living things and must grow as we do. I’ll have a pop over. 🙂 Thanks for the introduction, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Marlene! Thanks so much for stopping by to learn more about Nicki, her book and blog. Yes, definitely check out her blog. You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy your weekend and happy 4th of July!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marlene. I like your idea that blogs are living things and must grow as we do. Yes. Sometimes I don’t know which way my blog should grow, but my self-imposed goal to write something new every week does force me to think about new things and old. Thank you so much for your interest. And thank you for your wise words. It helps me have some perspective on my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Marlene. There aren’t any battle scenes. I imagine some people thought I didn’t do justice to how bad the war was. But that’s not me.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Nicki, I poked around in your blog and discovered we have more things in common besides love of flowers and the color red: I made my own wedding gown and borrowed the veil. Oh, and I married outside of my Mennonite culture, an artist from Washington state in 1967. We have tickets for a trip to Victoria and Vancouver, B.C. to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

    Jill, you feature such fascinating writers here. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s so nice to see you, Marian. I know how hectic things have been, so I appreciate your visit to meet Nicki. What a great trip you have planned for your 50th anniversary. I’m happy you’re enjoying the spotlight posts. Soon you’ll be one of the ‘fascinating writers’ showcased. 🙂 Have a great 4th of July!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh, my goodness, Marian. It’s really surprising (and fun) that we have so many things in common. Thanks for poking around my blog. Have a wonderful 50th anniversary. And congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Thanks for introducing me to Nicki, Jill! The book sounds wonderful and I’ll be ‘blog hopping’ over to read Nicki’s blog tomorrow xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Nice to meet you, Nicki Chen. Your book and your blog sound fascinating, and I love your three part rule. Wonderful spotlight, Jill!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Hi Nicki! Good to see you on here 🙂 🙂 Well deserving of your place in the spotlight. Number 2 coming out soon? Thanks, Jill!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Loved this post, Nicki and Jill! Interesting interview, and the book sounds intriguing. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Jill, it’s lovely to read about Nicki here as part of your excellent Summer Spotlight series! Nicki, wow! What a wonderful and varied life you’ve lead…twenty two years in Manila sounds fascinating and must have been formative in your life! Your book sounds great and I love how you’ve been inspired by your husbands stories over the years! Wishing you much continued success with your writing and other endeavours! 😀❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Annika! It’s great to see you. I’m happy you enjoyed learning about Nicki and her book. Be sure and check out her blog, she’s has some truly interesting posts. Take care! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting, Annika, that you’ve had a passion for writing since childhood. My early passion was for art. My mom, who also loved art, encouraged my sister and me to draw from the time we could hold a crayon. Living in the Philippines, I had the opportunity to study Chinese brush painting and batik painting. Eventually I turned to writing, taking a low-residency MFA course from Vermont College while I was living in Vanuatu.

      Wishing you great success with your first novel.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. What an interesting sounding book–and an interesting life! We just never know where life will take us!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Nicki, it is great to meet you! it sounds like you’ve had an interesting life so far!! Your book sounds really intriguing. I love the history of China and WWII. I’m glad you were Jill’s summer spotlight! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Patsy! Thanks so much for stopping by to meet, Nicki. You should definitely check out her blog, she’s got a ton of interesting historical posts that I’m sure you’d enjoy. xo

      Like

      • Hi Jill! You’re welcome, and I definitely will! By the way, I stayed home today after our all day trip yesterday which was awesome, so I won’t be getting to the post office until tomorrow morning. Is there any way you prefer your prize to be shipped? xo

        Like

    • Hi, Patsy. Like you, I started as an artist and later turned to writing. I’ve given up my painting, though. I don’t seem to be able to do two things at once.

      Off and on for the past fifty years, I’ve read about China and its history–not with the seriousness of a historian but just following my interest. It’s so immense and fascinating.

      I’m glad to hear from you. Thanks for reading the interview.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Nicki. Actually, I did the opposite. I began writing years ago and I mostly do art now except for writing the blog for the last 4 years. But I am still trying to work on turtle stories. 🙂

        I’ve always thought the history of China was interesting.

        You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Fascinating interview- I really enjoyed getting to know Nicki better, even though I have read her blog many times. Isn’t it funny how we begin a blog perhaps because we’re told we’re supposed to for our social media presence, and yet we find that we also just enjoy writing for our new blogging friends – those who we get to know better through their blogs as they get to know us too.

    Liked by 2 people

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