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Emily X.R. Pan Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Astonishing Color of After (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Emily X. R. Pan is an Asian American author that writes Young Adult Fiction. Pan is best known for ‘The Astonishing Color of After’, her debut novel.

+Biography
Emily X. R. Pan was born in Illinois to Taiwanese Immigrants. She was an artistic child that loved colors and she was fortunate to have a mother who supported her dreams.

However, her father never stopped pushing her to succeed academically. It was probably for that reason that the author eventually attended the NYU Stern School of Business from where she acquired her BS in Marketing and International Business.

But eventually, her creative passions came calling and she couldn’t deny them. So she joined the NYU Creative Writing program and acquired her MFA in fiction.

She infiltrated the publishing industry and became the Washington Square Review’s editor-in-chief.

She also helped create Bodega Magazine and a Serial YA Anthology called ‘Foreshadow’.

Besides teaching creative writing to ordinary students and long-term hospital patients, not to mention working for Penguin Random House, Emily X. R. Pan has worked in the marketing departments of companies in North America and China.

When Emily isn’t writing fiction, she can be found practicing yoga, playing the mandolin and painting.

+Literary Career
Emily X. R. Pan’s debut novel was inspired by her grandmother and the incredible things she encountered over the course of her life.

‘The Astonishing Color of After’ was initially set in Shanghai because Pan’s mother had encountered some family drama in the region that had driven her to keep her daughter out of Taiwan.

But over time, as the author began to ponder the life of her grandmother, a woman whose existence had been shaped by the fact that she lived in Taiwan, Pan changed the setting and the story altogether.

The final draft of ‘The Astonishing Color of After’ has been largely stripped of the portions that were inspired by the author’s grandmother. But Pan decided to keep Taiwan as the setting

Emily X. R. Pan would like to think that she had an ordinary childhood. She grew up more American than Taiwanese. But no matter how many changes her life went through, her desire to write never diminished.

In fact, it was that same desire that compelled the author to fly to Paris one random summer to participate in a writing workshop. Then, once business school was behind her and her career had began to take shape, that same desire convinced Pan to quite her first salaried job just so she could pursue her MFA.

The author took many drastic decisions and daring chances on her way to publishing success. She spent many years training to become a disciplined writer.

Her goal had always been to write fiction. For that reason, even after she landed a publishing job she loved and began to earn a decent income, she was still compelled to leave it all behind so that she could focus on her stories.

The gambles and the leaps of faith eventually paid off but the author admits that she required an extraordinary amount of courage along the way.

Her debut novel was called one of the top twelve books of the season by the Wall Street Journal. But Pan did not expect to attract so much interest when she was starting out.

In the beginning, ‘The Astonishing Color of After’ had a lot of fantastical elements. The final draft follows the adventures of a half Asian girl who goes to Taiwan to meet her grandparents when her mother dies.

The initial draft of the novel was supposed to take readers into the realm of the spiritual. But the arduous process of publishing the novel saw the story undergo many transformations.

Pan dealt with a number of painful rejections before finding a friendly publisher. She has spoken of the ordeal on social media. No matter how many rejections she encountered, each one felt new, fresh and somehow much heavier.

There were times when the author couldn’t find the strength to keep writing. She had to first absorb the rejections, process them, and then use them to move forward.

Over time, she grew thicker skin but it never got easier. Yet she can also testify to the fact that her writing grew stronger as a result.

In fact, a time came when Pan began to use the rejections to set her goals. She made it her mission to elicit a specific number of rejections every year. Meeting this goal meant that she was writing and making a certain number of submissions each year which, as far as Pan is concerned, is what every author needs to do to grow.

As a published author, it is Emily X. R. Pan’s objective to increase the presence of Asian literature on the market.

The stories Pan writes are inspired by her Taiwanese Culture and Buddhist beliefs. She is able to paint such vivid pictures of Taiwanese culture by visiting the country and interviewing the locals.

The author wants everyone to read her books. But she expects Asian Americans to appreciate her work the most because they will realize that they are seen.

Pan also tries to shine a light on the plight of the mentally ill and the stigma the issue still attracts, especially in Asian circles.

+The Astonishing Color of After
Leigh believes that her mother is a bird. The ill woman killed herself and afterward, her daughter concluded that she probably took flight.

The half Asian half white girl meets her maternal grandparents for the first time after her mother dies. She makes the trip to Taiwan because she wants to connect with her mother’s side of the family.

But she is also determined to find her mother who, she is certain, became a bird. Her task won’t be easy. Leigh is still grieving. Her mother took her own life after all. And things in Taiwan are not quite what they seem.

There are ghosts to chase and family secrets to uncover. Leigh must forge new bonds with her grandparents, come to terms with her mother’s suicide and discern between reality and magic.

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