Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Roselle Lim Interview - Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune

Photo Credit: Shelley Smith

Roselle Lim was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada as a child. She lived in north Scarborough in a diverse, Asian neighbourhood.

She found her love of writing by listening to her lola (paternal grandmother's) stories about Filipino folktales. Growing up in a household where Chinese superstition mingled with Filipino Catholicism, she devoured books about mythology, which shaped the fantasies in her novels.

An artist by nature, she considers writing as "painting with words."


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in Manila before moving to Canada as a child. I now live in a tiny rural town two hours away from Toronto. It’s a huge change!

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby?
This happened when I was a baby writer and I learned to take feedback. It was my first step toward improving with deliberate intention.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
The first chapter. It underwent the most changes and, to me, all of the hard work reflects its importance in setting the tone of the novel.

Can you tell us a bit about your book, NATALIE TAN'S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE?
My debut is a love letter to mothers and daughters; to immigrants; and to my culture. It’s set in San Francisco’s Chinatown and showcases the wonderful magic found in the ordinary.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Helen Hoang and Madeline Miller.

What part of NATALIE TAN’S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE did you enjoy writing the most?
The food! I made a menu of the book’s dishes and made sure that each one fits into the right circumstance and scene.

  • 1. The setting is San Francisco’s Chinatown which is the oldest Chinatown in North America.
  • 2. The recipes in this book are from my father.
  • 3. White Rabbit candies are a childhood favorite of mine.
  • 4. An earlier version of this book had a talking cat.
  • 5. Celia was once Cecelia whom was dating one of the Shens.
  • 6. Growing up, my family went on many road trips. Most included a stay in the local Chinatown as my parents found comfort in the familiarity.
  • 7. My family owned a dried goods store in Manila’s Chinatown (Binondo). We lived in the apartments above.
  • 8. This is my first manuscript to use the first person point-of-view.
  • 9. I’ve tasted and loved every dish mentioned in the book.
  • 10. The book’s strong Filipino connection and presence comes from my Filipino-Chinese heritage.
What book would you recommend for others to read?
Helen Hoang’s “The Kiss Quotient” and her newest book: “The Bride Test”. I also loved “Circe” by Madeline Miller.

Are you willing to tell us about other projects that you’re working on?
I’m working on book 2. It is set in Paris and involves a character from my debut. Of course it is full of food!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Natalie Tan to Vianne Rocher from “Chocolat”. I think they would get along well, swap recipes, and cook one of the best feasts imaginable.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I definitely want to do the 1980s. Watching “Stranger Things” made me miss the time of hairspray, ripped denim, and shoulder pads.

At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

You can purchase Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ROSELLE LIM for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim.