Usok Interview: Crystal Koo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 20 - 2010


Here’s the fourth Usok #1 author interview, this time with Crystal Koo, author of “The Startbox“, which now has an illustration by Kevin Lapeña.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

Given the theme that was set as a guideline for the issue, I actually started writing a completely different story, a very science-fiction one with a lot to do with computers. But I was having really big trouble with it, so one midnight I just abandoned it and started writing this one, without any planning at all, and for the most part of the first draft, it wrote itself.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?
Making the main character’s transformation credible.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?
I started off scribbling bits and pieces of things on lined paper and stapling them together into a “book” when I was a little girl. I can’t remember any of those. The earliest that I can remember is the first story I ever typed on a computer – something about a Molly.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?
What I write, yes (the how is mostly influenced by the books I read). It’s a bit complex writing as a Chinese-Filipino who’s moving around Asia at the moment, so all kinds of considerations crop up, but most of the time I just make sure that I don’t pigeonhole myself into writing about one particular culture all the time.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?
“The whole business of writing is to live with doubt: to do what you don’t know how to do, to place yourself continually in a situation of ignorance and inelegance” – Peter Carey. Not exactly advice, but it’s very reassuring, especially from a big guy in the business.

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.