When I’m not doing that, I am a composer, food worshiper, irrepressible nerd and gamer, cooking instructor, youth mentor, and school speaker.
Yes, I have an Asian last name and, no, I didn’t pick it out just because the name sounds cool. My husband’s grandparents escaped from North Korea as young adults, and “Chang” is the Anglicization of the Korean surname “Jang”. As for me, I’m half Argentinean (viva!); my mom immigrated to the US in the early 1970s. (And no, I’m not a red-haired Latina. Alas, the gorgeousness that is my hair is achieved via dye.)
My engagement and wedding were basically “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with Koreans added. No, seriously, my husband and I both worked at my uncle’s restaurant and everything. It was a hoot.
And because I can’t think of what you might be interested in knowing, we’ll play 10 random facts!
1- I was voted “most likely to write a bestselling novel” twice in high school. (To be fair, I was the only kid who dragged her notebooks around everywhere and drafted stories during Calculus. My classmates were lazy — I was an obvious choice.)
2- I had this stage in high school where I would only wear clothes that a Jedi/Sith/Dark Jedi/assassin would wear. I sort of never left that stage — except now I wear high heels in addition to the combat boots. (Only on the days that I wear real clothes, of course. Those days are not in the majority. At all.)
3- I love to learn about almost everything . . . so I studied 10 different majors and minors: anthropology, art history, communications: public relations/marketing, editing, English, exercise and wellness, exercise science, history, humanities, and public health. (Which sounds a lot cooler than “I kept liking individual classes and subjects, but not committing to the full major.”) It’s true what they say! You don’t have to have a degree in English/writing to be a writer. (BS Public Health, BYU ’14, baby!)
4- I compose orchestral scores for my books. For funsies. (No caveats here! I really do this!)
5- I love discussing all things chronic + mental illness. I’ve lived with a lot of them, so I’m dedicated to getting the discussion out in the open. As my Methods in Health Promotion prof used to say: “Make the undiscussable discussable!” (Dude, I hated that prof. But her saying is catchy — if you can pronounce it.)
6- I live near Seattle; it’s been my dream city since I was 16 years old. Food + clouds + in-laws = LOVE. (Of course, I’ll have to leave it when my husband goes to get his Ph.D., but I SWEAR I SHALL RETURN.)
7- I love working with and mentoring high school students. I’ve worked as the assistant manager of a learning center as well as a tutor and choir teacher. Thus began my accidental love affair with teaching. (Plus my students make great beta readers.)
8- I could beat George Lucas at Star Wars trivia. No, seriously. I also have a birthday card from John Williams and a set of homemade Jedi robes that Nick Gillard (stuntmaster of SW I, II, & III) said were better than what they had on the set. (Bless him, he’s the sweetest guy. Don’t you dare blame him for anything you disliked in the prequels.)
9- My husband and I have celiac, so I am a master of all things involving Asian food and cooking. Actually, food in general, but particularly the stuff I can actually eat. (Although my gnocchi is unbelievable. Crying shame, that.)
10- I was a dancer for nearly 20 years, so anytime you want to have a dancedown, let me know. (Brooks Benjamin, I’m looking at you!)