Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty-six authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!
About Roselle Lim
Roselle Lim was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada as a child. She lived in north Scarborough in a diverse, Asian neighbourhood. She found her love of writing by listening to her lola (paternal grandmother’s) stories about Filipino folktales. Growing up in a household where Chinese superstition mingled with Filipino Catholicism, she devoured books about mythology, which shaped the fantasies in her novels. An artist by nature, she considers writing as “painting with words.” She is represented by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency. Her debut novel, Natalie Tan’s Book Of Luck and Fortune, will be released by Berkley in 2019.
As a girl in a Chinese-Filipino household, I’d been conditioned to see my gender as worth less. I remember my uncles teasing my father for having two daughters instead of sons. A son brings honour: a daughter, obligation.
The marginalization wasn’t restricted to my male relatives. When I’d told an aunt I wanted to attend university, she laughed and said, “Why? You’re supposed to get married and have babies.” I struggled with the prevailing pressure to conform: to fit someone else’s mold.
As a child, I understood that a dream said aloud is easily dismissed. I kept my dream close to my chest: cradling it, nurturing it, growing it, and protecting it for years until it grew wings to fly.
Finding my way in a world that wanted me to be someone else was like walking a sword’s edge. In my soul, I knew I was an artist and a writer. My family, however, thought these two professions lead to a street corners, holding a cardboard sign on my lap, begging for money. Art had no value. Money and lucrative professions (law, medicine, etc.) had value.
I was often misunderstood: the eccentric leaf of the family tree. In my family where my uncles and male cousins had powerful voices, mine was little more than a whisper. I didn’t find my own voice until my thirties when I learned to stop hating myself for not being who they wanted me to be, but to love myself for who I wanted to be.
When you set off on your journey you need support: someone to pick you up when you fall. Surround yourself with people who care and want the best for you. For example, I wouldn’t have been able to write my novels full-time without my husband’s support. He picked me up when I stumbled, and, when my dreams felt like fantasy, reminded me of their importance.
I wrote many manuscripts, failed, and wrote even more. If printed, the pages would fill a shallow lake. I had the luxury of failing because of the support of those I chose to surround myself.
My book, Natalie Tan’s Book Of Luck and Fortune, will be out next summer. My voice is a whisper no longer. Its words are my dreams realized.
Enter Xifeng from Julie Dao’s Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns.
This is a woman who knew what she wanted and who wasn’t afraid to go for it. Raised by an abusive aunt, she gains her freedom and travels to the imperial capital. Xifeng, at every turn, rejects the snares of others who say her destiny is not her own to make.
While I do not agree with all her choices, I admire her conviction in making those choices. One must control their own fate, no matter where it leads. Her path was difficult, with plenty of times where she could have stumbled, but she knew her destiny lay in the steps she took.
Title Natalie Tan’s Book Of Luck and Fortune
Author Roselle Lim
Intended Target Audience
Genre Contemporary, Fabulism
Publication Date Summer 2019 by Berkley
Find It On Goodreads
A heartwarming novel of magical realism in which an aspiring chef returns home to San Francisco following her estranged mother’s death and must master a series of enchanted recipes in order to revive her family’s old Chinatown restaurant.