As a mixed-race Chinese American, I’ve struggled to feel a sense of belonging. I grew up feeling more accepted by the German (white) side of my family. Then, as I got older, I learned more about the Chinese side of my family and felt a connection to the experiences of Asian Americans. Just recently, especially as I was editing my book, A Thousand Miles to Graceland, I’ve found myself somewhere in the middle; not necessarily feeling Chinese, and yet, also not White, either. Thankfully, I’m not alone, and more and more mixed-race Americans are sharing stories to help highlight what it’s like.

That’s exactly what author Lauren Kung Jessen does in her debut novel, Lunar Love, a sweet enemies-to-lovers rom-com that celebrates the deep-rooted family legacies that shape us and how these traditions evolve into our own. Lauren, like me, is a mixed-race Chinese American, and also, like me, has written a book featuring mixed-race Chinese Americans (and Chinese Americans).

On this episode, we chat about how we identify, and the challenges we’ve faced in finding the right language to do so, as well as how we experience whiteness, and why these stories (like our novels) are so important for people like us (and well, everyone). And stay tuned for a couple of surprises that I think you’ll really love.

Lauren Kung Jessen on being mixed race in America | Check out Lunar Love, her debut novel

You can purchase Lunar Love wherever you get your books. Same for mine too, which is out 1/24/23! Pro tip: Both the Lunar Love and A Thousand Miles to Graceland audiobooks are read by Asian Americans. So, if you’re an audiobook fan, I highly recommend downloading them. Thanks to Rachael Wong and Kim Mai Guest for their fantastic work.

Cool Picks of the Week: Asian-owned theme!  

Lauren: Tower 28 Beauty MakeWaves mascara

Kristen: Tower 28 Beauty Daily Rescue face spray (say goodbye to redness!). And also, MxT2510, which also happens to be a deaf-owned business. I’m coveting their wrap dress!

Want to show your support for diversity in books?

There are several ways you can help ensure the stories of BIPOC and mixed-race people continue being told. First, buy the books! That’s obvious, I know, but the more demand, especially at larger bookstores like Barnes & Noble, is super important. You can also request the book at your library.

Next, leave a review on Amazon. We love supporting indie bookstores, but when it comes to actual reviews, the Amazon algorithm is really important. If you loved a book by a BIPOC author (and really, any author), rating it and leaving some kind words is a big deal. If you’re on Goodreads, consider leaving a review there, too.

And finally, recommend the book to your friends, family, and followers. A personal recommendation of a book from a new, diverse author goes a really long way.

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