Friday, July 9, 2021

Lyn Liao Butler Interview - The Tiger Mom's Tale

Photo Credit: Dave Cross

Lyn Liao Butler was born in Taiwan and moved to the States when she was seven. In her past and present lives, she has been: a concert pianist, a professional ballet and modern dancer, a gym and fitness studio owner, a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, an RYT-200 hour certified yoga instructor, a purse designer and most recently, author of multi-cultural fiction. Her mother swears she was not a Tiger Mom to Lyn. Lyn came about her over-achieving all by herself.

Having lived in New York City for over a decade, Lyn fled for the peace and quiet of the suburbs when she married her FDNY husband. She now resides on a lake with her Fireman, their son (the happiest little boy in the world) and their two stubborn dachshunds, Pinot and Lokie. When she is not torturing clients or talking to imaginary characters, Lyn enjoys cooking, sewing purses for her Etsy shop, spending time with her family and trying crazy yoga poses on her stand-up paddleboard. So far, she has not fallen into the water yet.


Where were you born and where do you call home? 
I was born in Taiwan and now live in the suburbs of New York City.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Knowing that people I don’t know will be reading my book!

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
I didn’t start writing until 2015. When I moved out of New York City, my friends wanted to know what I was doing “in the country.” So, I started a blog to keep them posted, and those blog posts became the first book I wrote. It was not a very good book, but it’s what got me writing.

Tell us your latest news. 
Book 2, tentatively titled RED THREAD OF FATE, is slated to come out on February 1, 2022. I’m very excited for people to read this book because it’s based on the adoption journey of our son.

Can you tell us when you started THE TIGER MOM'S TALE, how that came about? 
I had written two books before THE TIGER MOM’S TALE, that failed to get me an agent. Then I had an idea how to revise Book 1, to make the story better, and that became THE TIGER MOM’S TALE. I wanted to tell a story of what it’s like to look Asian on the outside, but feel more American on the inside, and the pull between two cultures.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
To learn more about Asian Americans and to learn about the Taiwanese culture.

  • My editor, Cindy Hwang, wanted me to add an extra scene with the Tiger Mom to humanize her. She thought I made her too evil.
  • I went back to Taiwan to do research for my book and ate my way through Taiwan. That’s why there’s so many food descriptions in the book.
  • Lexa’s mother used to be named Margaret, but then I realized that’s the name of my mother-in-law, and I didn’t want people she knows to ask if I named the character after her, and if my mother-in-law was leaving my father-in-law for a woman, like Lexa’s mother had. So, I changed the name to Susan.
  • My mother is not a Tiger Mom. I am an overachiever all on my own.
  • I studied Kung Fu from a Shaolin Temple Monk for an entire summer. I loved it so much, but I was dancing professionally at the time and had to go back to rehearsals and performances, so I couldn’t keep it up. That’s why Lexa also studied Kung Fu (and she’s much better at it than I am).
  • The Bumble date that Lexa went on in the book really happened to me. Except I didn’t dump my drink in the guy’s lap and then threw his drink in his face, like Lexa did. I wish I had.
  • I’ve always wanted a Rottweiler, which is why Lexa has one in the book. When I lived in the city, the building I lived in had a 15-pound limit, so I couldn’t get a Rottweiler. I got a dachshund instead, and now I’m a die-hard dachshund person.
  • Lexa’s personal training clients tell her she can’t count, and that’s based on me. My clients and students are always complaining that I can’t count and always make them do extra.
  • When we were considering titles for the book, my favorite one was HER FATHER’S SESAME BALLS. Alas, it didn’t make the cut.
  • The very first draft of this book used to be called FIT GIRLS DON’T CRY.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lexa? 
That she’s very good at Kung Fu and wouldn’t fail to use it to defend her sisters. J

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I’d love to introduce the Tiger Mom from my book (don’t want to give it away who that is in case someone hasn’t read the book yet) to Nick’s mom from Crazy Rich Asians and watch them duke it out.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Wanting to give up writing since it took me three and a half years and three books before signing with an agent. This book was my last hurrah. If I didn’t get an agent, I told myself I was going to stop writing. I’m so glad I didn’t!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Everyone should wait tables for at least two weeks. Then they’ll see how horrible it is and be nicer to wait staff (and leave bigger tips!).

  • I’m ambidextrous and I can write with both hands at the same time.
  • I love food. All food. I plan my days around what I’m going to eat.
  • I’m really clumsy, and am always walking into walls (I once walked into a wall late at night and broke my nose), injuring myself to the point of blood drawn and tripping or falling down for no reason at all.
  • I used to be a professional ballet dancer.
  • I can type really fast without looking at the screen or keyboard while carrying on a conversation with someone.
  • I love Happy Hours. I get a lot of writing done during Happy Hour. They make me happy.
  • I love Kauai. Something about the island speaks to my soul and I would love to live there half the year.
  • I love animals and foster for two rescues and also volunteer at the Kauai Humane Society when I’m in Kauai.
  • I am a hot weather person. I’m happiest in shorts, bathing suit and flip flops, writing or doing yoga on a beach somewhere.
  • I hate unloading the dishwasher. I’d rather scrub a toilet than put the clean dishes away.
Best date you've ever had? 
My second date with my now husband. We went to the BODIES exhibit and then walked around South Street Seaport after, before having dinner outside at a restaurant. That was the day I learned his last name is Butler and I remember thinking, Lyn Liao Butler. That has a nice ring.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 
How to type. Seriously! What a useful skill for a writer. I can type really fast without looking at the keyboard or screen while carrying on a conversation with someone. It used to freak my mom out and she was convinced I was typing gibberish.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
My life fell apart in 2013, financially, career wise, health wise, family wise, emotionally. I felt like my life ended. It took me six hard years to fight my way back and to realize that there were new dreams in my life, like writing. Having hit bottom that year, it made me realize what I really want in my life and I went after it. Becoming a published writer was the goal and now I’ve reached it and love being an author.

What are 4 things you never leave home without? 
Phone, wallet, a bottle of water, and my dachshund.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been? 
Kauai. My dream is to live there half the year, and half the year here in New York.

First Heartbreak? 
High school. I had my heart broken every week it seemed like back then!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
In my younger years, I would have chosen True Love with a guarantee of heart break, but now, I think I would choose Never Loved Before (don’t ask me why – maybe in my old age my heart is hardening – lol).

When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler.

Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan as a child, Lexa thought she'd finally found a place where she belonged. But that was years ago, and even there, some never truly considered her to be Taiwanese.

When her estranged father dies unexpectedly, leaving the fate of his Taiwanese family in Lexa's hands, her safe life in New York City is no longer enough. She is faced with the choice to return to Taiwan and claim her place in her heritage . . . or leave her Taiwanese family to lose their home for good.

Armed with the advice of two half sisters (one American and the other Taiwanese, who can't stand each other), a mother who has rediscovered her sexuality, and a man whose kisses make her walk into walls, Lexa finally confronts the person who drove her away from Taiwan all those decades ago. As the truth of the last fateful summer in Taiwan slowly unfolds, Lexa must stand up for herself and open her heart to family and love, or allow the repercussions of her family's choices to forever dictate the path of her life.

You can purchase The Tiger Mom's Tale at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LYN LIAO BUTLER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Tiger Mom's Tale by Lyn Liao Butler.


  1. I can think of lots of places to go on an adventure, New Zealand or the Arctic for just two examples. Let's go!!

  2. It would be amazing to see Niagara Falls on the Canadian side again. The falls tend to have rainbows and the last time I went one Spring, the ice was melting.

  3. "What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?" The journey on a spaceship to another solar system, which will never happen, period.