The Loveboat, Taipei Trilogy’s Finale: Exploring Uncharted Places, a guest post by Abigail Hing Wen
Growing up in Ohio, I found some of my best friends in the pages of the books in the school and local library, including the Little House on the Prairie novels, Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. Our school librarian even gave me the special privilege of reading books a grade up, which only fueled my appetite for more.
I never imagined I’d one day get to write my own novels, let alone a sequel, then a movie: Love in Taipei (streaming on Paramount Plus), and now a third novel in which I have the opportunity to bring the journeys and arcs of all the characters to a finale.
LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI is a story of identity in all its facets, of how a girl could pursue her dreams while honoring her parents. LOVEBOAT REUNION is a story of coming into one’s own power. And LOVEBOAT FOREVER of building one’s own house.
LOVEBOAT FOREVER takes place six years after the events of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI and LOVEBOAT REUNION. It brings back the whole gang from the first two novels — Ever, Rick, Sophie and Xavier, with Marc Bell-Leong as the program’s new director, and other Loveboat friends who make appearances.
The novel focuses on the musical adventures of Pearl Wong, Ever’s younger sister, set against the fun and games of Loveboat. Of course, FOREVER has to ratchet it up a notch. By night, Pearl is swept away at a secret party in the dark by a mysterious kiss that leaves her with a modern-day glass slipper to find her Prince Charming. By day, she finds herself torn between two wildly different musicians, one born and raised in the United States and the other in Taipei, one a famous classical violinist and the other a brooding pipa player with a secret.
I wrote FOREVER on three continents, as I traveled through the United States for the REUNION book tour, filmed on set in Taipei for the LOVE IN TAIPEI adaptation, and during my year in Vienna, Austria, where I had the privilege of accompanying my younger musician child for a year abroad. Those international experiences are reflected in Pearl’s musical journey and exploration of identity and heritage, as well as her grappling with the potential impact of colonial history on her passions: Mozart, French berets, church music.
The Wong women also take an unexpected trip to the Lim family village, a voyage based on my own trip with my parents and child. Like Pearl, I was overwhelmed and amazed to meet so many people related to me and to see the faces of my family in each one. My parents, kiddo and I visited the family shrine with the list of Lim names, the building with the wall of photos, and the home of an elderly grand aunty. It was a rich and grounding experience. As with the first two novels, as I translated these experiences into my work, I found myself writing about characters, events, and experiences that I’ve never read in a novel or seen on a screen before.
Which leads to my main advice for aspiring writers: Write what only you can write, drawing from your unique experiences, ideas and the things that make you laugh and cry. No one else can write those but you. If you find yourself drawn to scenes or characters you love but have never seen before, then you’re probably onto something.
Some concluding thoughts on the experience of making a film adaptation. Adapting the story into another medium was like Loki experiencing the multiverse. I love the way the film is able to portray the beauty of Taipei and the kinetic energy of dancing in a way that written words cannot. I’m proud of the work we did filming in Taipei with such a diverse cast of Asian and Asian American characters. And I’m honored that people are not only delighting in the adventures and romance of this world, but also finding themselves in it.
Meet the author
Abigail Hing Wen is the New York Times bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei, which is being adapted for film. She holds a BA from Harvard, a JD from Columbia Law School, and an MFA from the Vermont School of Fine Arts and, like some of her characters, is obsessed with musicals and dancing. When she’s not writing stories or listening to her favorite scores, she is busy working in artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley, where she lives with her family. You can learn more about her at abigailhingwen.com.
About Loveboat Forever
Return to the sparkling world of Loveboat, this time with Pearl Wong, on an entirely new, romantic, whirlwind adventure from Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei, streaming now on Paramount+ (adaptation titled Love in Taipei).
Pearl was ready for a worldwide stage. Instead, she needs to stage a comeback.
Seventeen-year-old music prodigy Pearl Wong had the summer of her dreams planned—until a fall from grace leaves her in need of new plans…and a new image.
Where better to revamp her “brand” than at Chien Tan, the Taipei summer program for elite students that rocketed her older sister, Ever, on a path to romance and self-fulfillment years ago.
But as the alumni know, Chien Tan is actually Loveboat—the extravagant world where prodigies party till dawn—and there’s more awaiting Pearl there than she could have ever imagined, like a scandalous party in the dark, a romantic entanglement with a mysterious suitor…and a summer that will change her forever.
Sweeping, glamorous, and deeply soulful, this companion to the New York Times bestselling novel Loveboat, Taipei and Loveboat Reunion will reunite readers with their favorite characters, in a thrilling new journey of romance, self-discovery, and empowerment. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/07/2023
Age Range: 13 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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