EP. 32 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Facing Rejection When You Write about a Hard Topic

My novel was rejected by so many publishers because it deals with very horrible topics. It deals with death, with  rape, with war, with agent orange, with mass murder, executions… Of course there’s a sense of hope and lots of love, and family bonds… but people have to confront the horror of all the evil and horror to be able to find kindness and compassion. They have to go through a lot of darkness to see the light and they have to become vulnerable together with my characters. So this book is not a fun read, it’s a serious read. So I think a lot of editors thought they wouldn’t be able to sell it.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

What to do when you write about hard, complex topics that not everyone will want to read about? Like Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai says in this extract, it’s all about the author’s perseverance.

It’s up to the writer herself or himself to believe in her or his own work… If you believe in your own work you never feel the desperation, because there is a fire that burns inside of you  and keeps you going. You don’t have to depend on other people to tell you that your story is important, because you know it is important.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Finding your inner-strength as a writer to cope with rejection.
  • Understanding that you may be writing about a complicated, hard topic and that may mean it may take you longer to find a publisher.

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

Ep. 25 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Healthy Routines for Writers

[being a writer you need] to take care of yourself… because writing can be really hard… for my writing I deal with topics such as PTSD and trauma and that affects you mentally as well…. Having a daily exercise routine is also important [to support your writing routine]. I practice yoga and go for walks.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

In this episode, Vietnamese-born author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai discusses her writing routines, making a particular emphasis on the ways we need to take care of ourselves as writers. In her novel, The Mountains Sing, Quế Mai dealth with complex topics such as war, torture and family trauma; her writing process wasn’t always easy and because of that she was keen on supporting her mental and physical health.

Even if you don’t write about such difficult issues, writing can still be taxing at times. What do you normally do to take care of your physical and mental health in between writing sessions?

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • How a writing routine can help you when writing difficult pieces.
  • Yoga and a writing routine.
  • Taking care of your mental health as a writer.

My ideal writing day would be waking up very early and not having social media when I wake up…  writing in the morning and reading in the afternoon and the evening.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI 

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 18 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on finding the right agent to publish your work

If you are looking for an agent you’ll have to pull all your connections and you can’t be too pushy but you can’t give up easily

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai 

In this episode, Vietnamese-born author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai talks about the publishing journey of her first novel, The Mountains Sing. She discusses why it was important for her to find the right agent, and what her experience was like working with a whole publishing team to edit her novel.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • How to know an agent is right for you.
  • Strategies and tips to finding agents that will be interested on your work.
  • Reasons as of why you may want to have an agent and how this will shape your writing career.

I had an agent before and the relationship didn’t go so well and I felt she wasn’t the right agent… and so I took the risk and ended the relationship. I think sometimes you have to take the risk to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai 

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter / Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.