Author of the book Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford spoke about his book, his life and his inspirations at an April 13 Student Programs sponsored event in the AAH building.
Ford started the lecture by telling stories about his life since the publishing of his book. Ford joked about college student’s not being able to find his book on spark notes and emailing him questions about his book “Motel on the Corner of Sweet and Sour” as well as life on the road promoting his book.
“I’m a debut novelist,” Ford said. “My usual gig is at a bookstore at some random time like 7p.m. on a Tuesday night, going head-to-head with Dancing with the Stars.”
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is about two Asian American youth’s growing up in Seattle during WWII. The novel is centered on the racism towards Asian people in those times and young love caught in the midst.
Ford chose to include a love story in his novel because he connected with love stories from a young age and that has stuck with him through the years.
“Once I knew in my head that I was going to shamelessly write a love story, I looked to love stories that I liked and really remembered,” Ford said.
Choosing to write about what happened to Asian American’s in WWII was a little more personal for him. Half Chinese, Ford remembers stories his Asian American father told him about growing up during WWII. Because of his heritage, Ford felt compelled to research the history of internment camps and what life was like for Asian Americans in those days.
“It was a joy to write but painful to discover along the way,” Ford said. “Sometimes you’re surprised by how much you don’t know.”
Ford has had several offers to make his book into a movie, but has refused them because every producer wanted to cast the main character as white when Ford wrote him in as being Asian American.
“I just haven’t sold my baby to the circus yet,” Ford said.
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