Who exactly is George?
George is my twin sister, and her full name is Georgette but everyone calls her George. We are born two minutes apart and I'll leave it up to you to figure out which one of us is older. She makes frequent appearances in my blogs and other assorted things.
What part did she play in the creation of Exclusively Chloe?
Without George's lifelong addiction to celebrities, magazines, and her collection of Little House on the Prairie, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Anne of Everywhere and Nowhere, plus many more books, I never would have been so well versed in all those things. As a small thank you, Chloe-Grace's Chinese name in the book is George's.
How did you get the idea for Exclusively Chloe? [A Maze of Books]
A few summers ago, I was playing in a celebrity fantasy league (like fantasy football but you draft celebrities and get points whenever they appear in US Weekly magazine photos) and I had the brilliant idea of drafting Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Angelina's first adoptee. Little Maddox ended up scoring a ton of points for me because he was always in tons of pictures.
I started thinking about what it would be like for any celebrity child to grow up seeing all this coverage of themselves as kids, living an entire life in the spotlight, and realized that there's probably a great story to be told about Hollywood and adoptions. From there, I just started with the idea "celebrity adoption" and ran with it.
What's the best magazine for all the juiciest celeb gossip? Do you read it proudly or do you keep the celeb magazine a secret? [Green Bean Teen Queen]
Oh the best magazine is definitely US Magazine. It's the gold standard of celeb gossip magazines. It's not quite as salacious (or outright untruthful) as Star and fills its pages with iconic features like "They're Just Like Us!" or "Who Wore It Best!"
Oh I don't hide my celeb magazine reading a secret. Maybe before but nowadays it's impossible to pretend that you don't thumb through the copy lying on the coffee table, just because it's there. But I'm a proud subscriber and fan of US Weekly and look forward to every Friday when it arrives. "Research" you know?
Do you prefer writing fiction over non-fiction or vice versa? What's the main difference between them writing wise? [Pop Culture Junkie]
Oh I think I definitely like writing fiction. Writing non-fiction was a lot about what I knew and just organizing the information and getting it on paper, and there's sort of a nice and easy logic to it (especially when doing a reference type book like my blogging one). But writing fiction, it's scary to be able to go any way you want. Especially when you set about creating a world, it's like just your imagination and that's it. There are so many possibilities and the first few steps you're constantly going "Whoa, should I have gone that way? Should I backtrack and try that way?" That's what makes fiction really challenging and exciting for me right now.
Are any of the characters in the book based off of people you know or your friends and family? [Bookworm Readers]
I wouldn't say there's any characters entirely based off people I know in real life, but I definitely put Easter Eggs in there for my friends. Mainly, when I was writing, I'd look around for traits and characteristics to throw in and of course my friends were right there. For example, if someone had on a great outfit, I'd take a picture, write down a quick description, and then ask them to describe it too. Funny saying that have resonance and staying power with my friend made it in the book. I name dropped a few people, as homages, that kind of thing.
It's hard to say any one character represents someone I know in my life but little combinations of traits, personalities, physical descriptions, and that kind of thing, were based off true events. And that was definitely part of the fun.
How does your culture affect what you write about and how you write, if it does? [Steph Su Reads]
Mostly, being Chinese means that I'm always really intrigued by the work of other Asian American artists, and whenever there is a lead character that is non-Caucasian, I perk up and pay extra attention. I think it influences my writing because there's always a certain responsibility to put some of my own culture in a work, even if it's something as simple as having an Asian as a prominent character.
Aside from being an author what other famous careers would you like? [Books By Their Cover]
Well, if I wasn't an author I think I'd love to be a background singer/musician. Never in the front mind you, I'd get stage fright. But in the back where I could dance in unison with the band and do all the hand clapping and whistling needed. I'd be "Oh hey, it's that guy who does all the hand clapping parts."
Please share with us your best writing advice! [Realm Lovejoy]
Write every day, build that habit. I know everyone says that but after having written two books, it's only dawned on me now that it's so much easier to just write a little each day, or when you can, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike and trying to capture everything before the feeling goes away. I used to approach writing in great big bursts. Wait and wait and then shut down the rest of my life for two weeks and just cycle between writing, eating, sleeping and then at the end of the tunnel I would be finished but exhausted. Now I've learned to just take it a little bit at a time and to build the habit. Even if it's just writing in a private blog, a few hundred words a day, I think it really helps a lot to have that repetition.
How many other Jon Yang's do you know? [AA Risings]
Quite a few actually. When I was looking around for my website, jonyang.com and jon-yang.com was taken by a Chinese construction company and a Chinese-American model/actor, respectively. Since I’m no model, nor can I even use power tools, I thought it would be best to avoid the confusion, thus I went with an .org instead. Since then I’ve seen many Jon Yang’s online, but only met one, an acquaintance from college. An annual goal of mine is to remain #1 for "Jon Yang" Google search results. I live for the little victories.
Can we hang out?
Sure, let's do it.
You got more questions? I got answers. Email or comment me!
Who exactly is George?