AN INTERVIEW:

MARLENE CHENG

As posted on GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5834608

Rita Lee Chapman: This week it is my pleasure to interview Marlene Cheng. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers, Marlene and share something about your life?

First off, thank you for doing this. I think that this is a wonderful way to get to know authors.

I live, sheltered by giant pine and cedar, overlooking the ocean, on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

The Kwan Clan, which is humongous and has been made famous most recently by Kevin Kwan’s book and movie, Crazy Rich Asians, was, in 2012, having a Family Reunion.

My sister-in-law, being an elder, was thought to hold family memories that might soon be long forgotten if she didn’t write them down. Because her mother had lived with us for several years and had told me no end of family stories, Man Sheung recruited me for the task.

I went to Singapore. She talked. I wrote. The Many Layered Skirt: Dàn Gâo Qún was published on time for the reunion.

Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?

As I’ve said, I started with the biography, then I wrote The Tuareg Ladies which is kind of a fictional autobiography and since then I’ve concentrated on the 3-book Bond Series which are (if I must categorize them) Literary Fiction- Contemporary Romance Fiction-Women’s Fiction.

When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?

I am always writing in my head. I also carry a notebook to jot down interesting stuff that might find its way into my thoughts. When I’ve lived with the characters and their situations to the point where they are starting to drive me crazy, I sit down at the computer. I just let it flow. More-often-than-not, what I type has no resemblance to what I carried in my head. The characters take over and tell their own stories.

Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?

This is from A Mystical Embrace:

This is Geneva at her mystical island home after her son’s death. She’s talking about her very endearing neighbours. “…in keeping with Island ways, I shared with them what had happened to Krys and how I was handling it, in bits and pieces, at opportune moments: while walking the beach, keeping an eye for interesting drift-wood garden statues; over warm, buttered, lemony scones and lattes while waiting for the moon to be eclipsed, hoping for the clear night to hold; when thoughts were triggered. They never pushed, realizing that some details were difficult in their coming. Some were even too sensitive for their empathetic ears.”

Who is your favourite character and why?

Tess, from The Tuareg Ladies is the most courageous. She has multiple-personality disorder and struggles to meet the demands of her professional life (she is a surgical pathologist) while trying to keep her personal life private.

Venice faced a multitude of demons: dyslexia; depression; addictions; homelessness but, God bless her, she is a survivor.

Raven, wanting to ‘give back,’ becomes a talented sniper with the Canadian Forces. I’ve never stopped loving him.

And Geneva and Y are lovers. Everyone loves lovers.

How would I ever choose a favorite?

Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?

That’s like asking a mother which of her children give her the most pleasure. Each book had its joy moments, its poignant and sad ones.

The Tuareg Ladies is, probably, the most autobiographical and it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions to write.

I cried my way through A Mystical Embrace. In hindsight, I realize that I was subconsciously grieving my own pending loss. A few short days after I had finished, my husband, unexpectedly, passed away.

What is the best marketing tip you have received?

I’m waiting for a good one.

What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I’m very involved with family events. My 6 grandchildren are at the interesting age of figuring out their directions in life. I love that they let me be a part of that. I have huge rock gardens and ponds, so can spend hours gardening and watching the birds and fish.

If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

JAPAN. I’ve travelled a lot but have never been to Japan. However, I’ve been carrying an interest ever since, as young ladies in hospital training my Japanese classmate took me home to meet her family. They had been rounded-up and put into an interment camp away from the coast, during the 2nd World War. When I visited, they had recently returned to find a very different life than what they had left. Their lovely home and furnishings, everything was gone, but their resilient spirit prevailed. The mother worked long hours pealing shrimp by hand to help regain a financial footing, and she introduced me to their culture, mostly by way of food: I learned how to make sushi.

I would love to visit centres for cultural heritage: tiny Misumi where traditional Japanese craft paper is made; Hagi for its famed pottery; the Aburanokopi neighbourhood of Kyoto where shibori dyers can take up to 2 years to create stunning kimonos. Intrinsic to the Japanese way of life, their artisanship is art from nature. I wouldn’t want to miss the Otsu bathing hot springs, Nagano in the Japanese Alps or the sand dunes of Tottori, but if it’s 2020, I might skip over-tourism and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?

I’m usually looking for a book that speaks to my, in the moment, paramount interest. However, that doesn’t stop books from jumping out at me. I’m keeping an eye out for anything written on the Sudan.

Do you have your own website?

Yes. https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com But it needs editing. It doesn’t work well. I think that your website looks good and is functional.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?

It’s in my head. It’s a spinoff from the Bond Series. Trijay is the daughter of Oriole (the Sudanese refugee who lived for years in Dadaab, the Kenyan Camp) and Trianna (the UN worker from Sweden). Trijay was born in Canada, grew up in Sweden, goes to medical school in Ireland and………………It’s her story.

Thank you, again, Rita. It’s been my pleasure.

CHECK OUT MARLENE AT https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com https://authorcentral.amazon.com/author/marlenecheng

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW FOR A MYSTICAL EMBRACE.

Front Cover Only

Although A Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond is categorized as a romance, I felt like it was so much more. This book was filled with tears, both happy and sad, as the reader follows the lives of an extended family, all brought together by one brave soldier, Krystian.

In the prologue, this book begins with a conversation Krystian has with a fellow soldier named Ryan. He explains that he changed his name from Krystian to Raven under the influence of Cloud, his surrogate father. Y, Krystian’s biological father, was not a part of Krystian’s life growing up because he was a married man. This prologue explains so much of the story that as each character is introduced after Krystian/Raven’s death, the reader understands the connection between all of the characters.

Because each chapter is narrated by a different character, the reader is able to change perspectives throughout the book. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. The beginning of the book is quite sad since all of the characters are mourning the loss of Krystian. It really takes a toll on the health of Geneva, Krystian’s mother, because it leads her into a deep hole of depression. I enjoyed the part where Geneva and Shelly, Krystian’s wife, take a trip to Hawaii together to heal. Before he died, Krystian had given each of the special people in his life a little box with something in it. He had told them to only open the box if something bad happened to him and was no longer around anymore. Because the story is written from each character’s perspective, the reader is right there to see first-hand what each character received in their box. Marlene Cheng does a wonderful job of personalizing each box to its character, and it made my eyes well up each time a box was opened.

One part of the book that I really enjoyed was the two trips to Ireland. I don’t want to ruin the story; however, I do have to say that it was so easy to picture Ellie and Collin with the sheep, laughing as they inoculated them one by one. The picturesque description of the farmland was gorgeous as could be with its greenery. And while in Ireland, I could feel the true happiness and also a bit of closure for Karin, Y’s wife.

Overall, this book was well-written and told a beautiful story about a family brought together by one special soul.

Reviewed by Kristi Elizabeth for reviews@cityreview.com

Check out more about A Mystical Embrace at  https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com

WONDERFUL REVIEW FOR ‘A MYSTICAL EMBRACE’

Mystical Embrace Cover new 1

Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond

Marlene F Cheng

Independently Published

Paper: 978-1-7752477-0-8        $14.99

eBook: 978-1-7752477-1-5        $  3.99

Author Website: https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com

Ordering Link: https://www.amazon.com/author/marlenecheng

TENTATIVE DATE FOR PRE-ORDERS:  EARLY JUNE, 2019

Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond is the third book in the “Bond” series. Prior fans familiar with the characters and setting of its predecessors will find that this new addition vastly expands the story, adding further developments that profile the results of a romance between NHL hockey player Y, who has a family in Sweden but tours the world, and Geneva, an emergency room nurse who falls in love with him.

Now Y has two families—and when the media exposes his affair and the child which has resulted, lives are changed and hearts are broken. Can love emerge victorious from such adversity?

Mystical Embrace‘s special talent lies in its ability to closely examine not just the choices of its characters and the consequences they face on many fronts, but the added challenges of a health crisis and the social issues that swirl around them.

It should also be noted that events and mysticism are steeped in First Nation references right from the start, from Cloud’s crushing grief and discovery of a farewell note from Raven Sings to Geneva’s ‘mystical home’ and connections to not just her child and lover, but the world.

Marlene Cheng’s voice is evocative throughout as the characters view their world, return to their roots, and steep themselves in their chosen lives and cultural inheritances: “…in keeping with Island ways, I shared with them what had happened to Krys and how I was handling it, in bits and pieces, at opportune moments: while walking the beach, keeping an eye for interesting drift-wood garden statues; over warm, buttered, lemony scones and lattes while waiting for the moon to be eclipsed, hoping for the clear night to hold; when thoughts were triggered. They never pushed, realizing that some details were difficult in their coming. Some were even too sensitive for their empathetic ears.”

With her slow, lazy prowess at painting scenes with words, Cheng draws readers into lives unexpectedly entwined not just by life circumstance and choice, but by mysticism and fate.

Because multiple lives are explored in the first person, Cheng is careful to include the names of each character when changing perspective. This makes it easy for readers to follow their evolution and changes.

Warm, psychologically introspective, culturally and spiritually revealing, and filled with the gentle flow of interconnected lives, Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond enhances the series by pursing the threads of previous books as it contrasts the life and adrenaline rush of a NHL hockey star with the gentler perspective of characters who move beyond the lure of considering life as either a win or lose proposition.

Under Marlene Cheng’s hand, everyone wins in different ways. And so does the reader, for pursuing an evocative story of magic, change, and the concurrent challenges of ALS and a legacy of love. — Diane Donovan, author/editor, California Bookwatch

 

 

 

5 STAR REVIEW FOR ‘OUR BROKEN BOND’

Kindle Cover

Our Broken Bond, Marlene F. Cheng

Literature & Fiction

In this warm and engaging sequel to Our Precious Bond, accomplished author Marlene F. Cheng closely follows the life stories of three characters who are as unique as their names: Raven, Oriole and Tree.
Raven is the now-grown son of Geneva, from the first book, and his NHL hockey star father, known only as “Y.” He turns one day from a PhD path and impulsively joins the Canadian army, eventually becoming a superior sniper. And even though his parents are nonplussed at his new life choice, he never looks back through two harrowing tours of duty in Iraq.
Oriole is a downtrodden refugee camp survivor who miraculously emigrates to America one day, sponsored by, of all organizations, a college fraternity. There, he finds new brothers to replace the family that was brutally gunned down so many years before by rebels, when he was a child in his native Sudan.
And Tree? She is the U.N. relief worker who discovers Oriole in the dusty back byways of the refugee camp, aids in his emigration, and finally follows him to Canada. 

Our Broken Bond is a captivating, exciting, and charming novel that will have its readers turning the pages with haste into the early hours of the morning. As I began to read Our Broken Bond, I immediately knew that this was going to be an incredible sequel. It is an intriguing, unique novel unlike anything I have read before, that captivated me with its heart-pounding moments and phenomenal literature courtesy of the excellent author Marlene F. Cheng. If you are a reader who loves being taken on a journey that is full of many amazing moments, then you will love Our Broken Bond.

As I read Our Broken Bond I was honestly in awe; it was like a present was being unwrapped before my eyes and the more the pages turned, the more excited I got for the finale.

Marlene F. Cheng is a newly discovered author of mine, and I have to confess book lovers that I am kicking myself for not having found Cheng’s work sooner! Never before have I been so entertained by a novel! To write a good book the reader needs to be fully immersed in the story and feel as if they are experiencing the same events as the protagonist(s) and Cheng manages to accomplish this with her writing in Our Broken Bond. Cheng is most certainly worthy of an abundance of praise.

Overall Our Broken Bond is a gripping novel that is guaranteed to keep readers entertained for hours on end, so I, of course, have to award the story five stars! 

Aimee Ann from  https://redheadedbooklover.com

Check the book out at:  https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com  https://amazon.com/author/marlenecheng

 

A MYSTICAL EMBRACE

Mystical Embrace Cover new 1

A REVIEW BY READERS’ FAVORITE:

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite

A Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond by Marlene F Cheng tells
the interwoven story of a number of persons, many of them women.
The story unravels with Krystian, an illegitimate son of
Geneva, an emergency room doctor, and an NHL hockey player
exchanging casual banter with Ryan, a farm boy turned military
man. What follows is a series of chapters told from the intimate
points of view of the various characters such as Cloud, Geneva,
Venice, Y, Shelly, Karin, Ellie, Tree, and others. Set in different
countries like Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and Africa, A Mystical
Embrace is a fantastic journey that takes readers to the innermost
corners of the human heart.
Marlene F Cheng’s A Mystical Embrace: Our Rekindled Bond is a
gripping novel that explores the depths and dimensions of human
life itself. The main protagonists of the novel experience myriad
events like love and betrayal, true friendship and death, crippling
diseases, relationships and a host of other deep emotions. And
because it is told from the character’s very own point of view, it
becomes very real and palpable. Author Marlene F Cheng is a
master storyteller, capable of shifting her voice from one character
to the next. Certainly, a feat that many writers would like to have.
And in spite of all the trials that come together with life itself, A
Mystical Embrace offers something in the end that perhaps makes
everything worth experiencing, and this is what makes the novel a
must-read for everyone.

https://marlenecheng.wordpress.com