1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
My realization of being a writer didn’t come suddenly but started organically as a love for writing. This love began with my AP English Teacher, Mrs. Watabayashi. She believed and saw potential in my writing. As a result, I began writing during my personal time. I would express my thoughts and feelings through blogs like Xanga and WordPress, and would get feedback from old classmates and friends on how they resonated with what I wrote. As a young adult, I’ve always dreamt of being able to write my “heart” out.
2. What inspired you to write Little Girl, Big Dreams?
Little Girl, Big Dreams is an ode to my inner child. This was a book I needed when I was a little girl growing up. As a child, it was rare to find books that reflected the lived experiences of growing up in Guam. Representation matters and there was a need for my students and all the little ones to see themselves in the books they read. “Little Girl, Big Dreams” is also a book of empowerment. It shows that we are our own heroes, and that we empower ourselves, each other and our island.
3. What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is one that I connect with. I love stories that pull at my heartstrings and that I can relate to. When we share our stories, we want to truly feel heard and seen. When we listen and read stories, we begin to connect with it and empathize. A good story makes me FEEL.
4. What is your writing process like?
My writing process, surprisingly, is not linear or a standard process at all. If there’s a sudden strike of inspiration, I write down the central message or “the why” of what I want to convey. Through that, I add numerous details and then figure out ways to make these “pieces” fit fluidly.
5. What advice do you have for future writers?
My advice for future writers is to keep writing. Always remember that a good story is one that has yet to be told. YOUR “heart work” or story may just be what others need.