Author Interview & Giveaway: Junying Kirk- “The Same Moon"

Posted September 15, 2011 by Jenna in author interview, GIVEAWAYS / 16 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, on the blog I have Junying Kirk, author of “The Same Moon”. I just finished her book yesterday, and I learned a lot from it, so hopefully you’ll give it a chance. Junying is very generous and will giveaway an e-copy of her novel which you can download from Smashwords. Details of the giveaway right after the interview, enjoy!

The Same Moon by Junying Kirk (Amazon profile)
Kindle Edition (Amazon UK)
Published February 2nd 2011
my review here

Summary: (from goodreads)
Pearl Zhang was born in Sichuan Province in China, and grew up during the Cultural Revolution. She was raised in a typically Chinese manner, went to school, got a job, got married, and her whole life path was mapped out, or so it seemed.
Then she seized the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom – and stayed. How did she adjust to the Western way of life, and what did she have to do to overcome the barriers? Would she find happiness and fulfilment with her English suitor in Scotland, or would her heartache continue? She was in a new world, both foreign and exciting – under the Same Moon.
This book, the first of Junying Kirk’s “Journey to the West” Trilogy, will take you on a journey full of surprises and discoveries, from the East to the West, from the Middle Kingdom to the United Kingdom. 

The interview: 

Hi Junying! Welcome to Coffee books and me (my blog). Thanks for gracing us with your presence and sparing a bit of your time. 
As every author have a story behind how they became a writer, may you share us your story?
Sure, that would be my pleasure :)!
So, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing from a young age, when I was still in China as a student. However, I started writing my first book in English after studying and living in the UK for some years. I started Part One Under Chinese Skies in 1998, but then I came to a cross-road in my life and had to put my unfinished manuscript away until a later date. So I was in my 30s when I wrote The Same Moon, although I did not publish it until February 2011.

For your book, “The Same Moon”, how did you come up with it?
I have harbored a desire to write for a very long time and I don’t remember exactly when that aspiration began but it has burning inside me for years, until one day that I was driven to sit down in front of my PC and started typing away. The idea had been growing within me, because I felt the urge to write about a personal journey from the East to the West, from the Middle Kingdom to the United Kingdom. So after I finished my PhD In Leeds, without a job to go to immediately, the baby of my first book was born.

How did you decide for the title?

The Same Moon came easily – in China there was once a belief that the moon in the West were bigger and brighter 🙂 This misguided view was attacked viciously during the times when China was shut out from the rest of the world and had very limited understanding of what was really happening outside ‘The Great Wall’. In my book, I wanted to show life in both China and outside its borders in the wider world, highlighting cultural differences between the East and West, as well as demonstrating what lies as universal truth and shared characteristics, no matter where we come from. There are fundamental similarities between us human beings as well as differences and barriers to across. I hope that I have shed some light on this subject in my book.
Wow, that is interesting, never knew that until now. 
I can’t help but think that you have similarities with Pearl Zhang, the main character of your novel, is my hunch right? If yes, was her story inspired by yours? If no, just ignore my question,haha.
You clever girl :)! A number of my readers have come to that conclusion that Pearl is me :). Yes, you’re right, there are many similarities between my fictional character Pearl to me, her creator. If you look at Pearl as a sculpture, then her model could very well be myself. Certainly all the incidents which were described in The Same Moon have happened in real life, either experienced by myself or people I knew. However,  note that I said that she was my creation, so I have taken the artistic liberty to make her more than just me, a character whom readers can believe in and relate to. Not just with Pearl, I have tried to develop my main characters to such an extent that I feel that they are completely real to me. They have lived inside me for many years and I now hope that they will live with my readers too. 
Nice, nice! 🙂
So, how long does it take you to write a book? and for “The Same Moon”?
It depends. My second book Trials of Life only took me three months to finish my first draft, when I wrote day and night continuously, burning midnight oil, so to speak. But The Same Moon took longer, on and off, for several years. It probably took me more than a year in terms of solid block of writing time. So you can say that it’s a labour of love.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? (do you write at home or office? do you eat while writing,etc)
I write at my home/office. I can write anywhere as long as I have a computer in front of me, but most of the writing is done at home in my study. As much as I love eating, I tend to forget about food when I am in the zone 🙂 I do tend to listen to music as I write.
Are you open to writing in another genre? Like in the Young Adult and Paranormal Romance department where the demand is increasing day by day:)..
Interestingly, as you have indicated in your review of my first book, you can’t decide which genre The Same Moon falls under, and I share your frustration :). I experiment a lot in my writing and I am open to all kind of challenges. I certainly won’t rule out writing YA – I was surprised that I have acquired young readers like you, so YA is a real possibility. I don’t think I’ll ever write Paranormal though, as it is not a genre that I am attracted to or read about. I have a particular fascination with Crime Fiction, so I think that is something I may very well branch into. In fact, my current W.I.P. has strong elements of crime fiction in it.
I will be looking forward to it:)
What do you think makes a good story?
Stories that people can relate to and characters they can identify with. Stories that they can visualize it happening even though they may not have any experience of themselves. Personally I enjoy stories that inform and inspire, enchant and entertain in some ways, so ideally I want my books to do the same as the books I love reading so much.
Back to your book, do you mind sharing with us your favorite scene in the book?
“For the last time, I picked up the black plastic comb by her pillow and disentangled the knots that had formed overnight, heavy with wet sweat. I was not afraid, just too numb to feel anything. My eyes were dry, without tears. Death, like a ghost, had come without warning and just as quickly disappeared, taking my sister’s soul. As I combed her hair and held her dead body against my own, thinking seemed to have evaded me. For the first time I found my sister beautiful, and then came a vague realisation that it was too late to undo all the injustice that I had done to her when she was alive.”
The scene after Pearl’s sister died is one of my favorite passages. I cried when I wrote these words and every time I came to this part, I could not help my eyes welling up.
Awww. It is indeed a sad scene..

Lastly, Any message to your readers and future readers?
Please read my books 🙂 Seriously, I really hope that my books will reach a wider audience and those who read them will find them informative, interesting and inspiring.  I would love to hear more people say: oh yes, Junying Kirk’s books have taught me something that I didn’t know before, and I want to go on a journey of discovery with her.

Thanks again Junying, I’ve really learned a lot from you:)
For the GIVEAWAY! I won’t require much from you guys, just the basics. Simply leave your name and e-mail address in the comment box to be officially joined in the contest. Additional (+1) entry will be given for adding as a GFC follower, each tweet, Facebook post, blog post, etc that spreads of this giveaway. 
DEADLINE: until September  22, 2011 only, you have ONE week! 🙂

Thank you for reading and do spread the love! 🙂
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16 responses to “Author Interview & Giveaway: Junying Kirk- “The Same Moon"

  1. Just pop in to say hi to lovely Jenna, and all her lovely readers here:) Thank you all for your kind comments and interest in my book – good luck to you all!

    Junying xx

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