Episode 402: Writing About Difficult Subjects with a Distinct First Person Voice – Interview with Brian Leung

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Brian Leung. We’ll be talking about All I Should Not Tell, a complex family drama full of twists, turns, and mysterious disappearances.

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In this episode Brian Leung and I discuss:

  • How to turn a real life event into a novel, especially when you are close to the event.
  • Bringing out the emotional truth of a story and remaining true to the characters.
  • Why it can be tricky to write first person narratives and how to make them sound distinct.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Brian Leung

Brian Leung is the author of the novels Lost Men, Take Me Home, and Ivy vs Dogg: With a Cast of Thousands!. His short-story collection, World Famous Love Acts, won the Asian American Literary Award and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Born and raised in San Diego County, he is a Professor of Creative Writing at Purdue University as well as Core faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts. All I Should Not Tell was published by C&R Press in Spring, 2022.

You can find them on his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also check out Brian’s article on DIY MFA, #5onFri: Five Tips for Finding the Kind Genius Writer in Your Mad Genius Writer.

All I Should Not Tell

In All I Should Not Tell, Conner Grayson, fourteen, wants nothing more than to see, Cudge, his intensely abusive step-father destroyed. He considers it a blessing for himself and his younger, too-innocent, brother, Sammy, when the man disappears, though he’s convinced that his mother has done something unspeakable to her husband. With Cudge gone, there’s no threat of exposing Conner’s deepest secret, his love for Mark, another boy in Orgull, a fictional river town outside of Louisville. But almost immediately, Mark disappears as well.  Flash forward two decades. Conner remains tortured about his past, including the apparent suicides of his biological father and his brother. But, he has found a certain level of happiness with the family he’s built with his wife, Lamb, as well as his boyfriend, James. It’s complicated. When Cudge’s octogenarian father shows up from California to investigate Cudge’s long ago disappearance, Conner spirals into a series of unwise decisions culminating in discoveries about his past that may destroy his current family. It might be there’s only one person who can pull him from the wreckage.

You can order Brian Leung’s book, All I Should Not Tell, via this C&R Link.

Link to Episode 402

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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