I was asked to write a piece about the time I was pregnant and homeless. Writing pre that era in Chinglish was hard enough! But I’ve never revisited the time I was up the duff and living in a squat very often since it happened 28 years ago.
It was hard recalling all the details, including the time I had to scrabble around in gutters for pennies, but I saw how my story could inspire and show others that they have the power to change the course of their lives. I enjoyed doing the illustration though, as it does a good job getting the tragi-comic feel across!
I’ve only gone and been invited by the BBC to talk about Chinglish! Little did I know that when I started writing this book, the public would be so interested in my loony life. Yes, I was expecting to do some promotion around my debut novel but the BBC? Wow, well that’s a pretty big deal. Messages around diversity are growing and I’m proud to be riding the wave. A MASSIVE thanks to everybody that made this possible after so many years of hard work and collaboration.
If you’d like to see and/or hear Sue Cheung talk about Chinglish on the BBC in September *DATES WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON*
Chinglish is out on 5th Setember 2019 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
What a treat to come home to – a box of my new debut novels waiting in a box with their funky looking spot varnished covers! Chinglish isn’t officially released until 5th September, but the build-up is well under way.
Right now I’m busy doing talks, writing articles and being very excited to see the responses from bloggers and reviewers who have received pre-sale copies. I’m also looking forward to even more interaction with the public as the book reveals itself to the world!
It’s the last week of my 3 month sabbatical (sob) and it’s been everything I’d dreamed of. Each of the four places I stayed at in Bali were unique in their own way, but the standout for me has got to be Nusa Lembongan island. I scuba dived there twice a day for a week and the sea life was some of the most abundant I’ve seen in ages, like being in a snow globe of glitter on some sites!
Bali is predominantly Hindu and has the gentlest, most peaceful people I’ve ever met. This attracts other like-minded folk, so you were always surrounded by smiles. Yoga is popular there, so it was fun trying out all the different types. A major win was that I got taught how to headstand properly, now I’m addicted to them!
Corfu has been home for the last month – different island, just as sunny. And the people and food are fantastic here too. I wanted a Durrellesque experience: mingling with locals, buying fresh bread and olives from the market, reading, painting and immersing myself in nature – the sea is crystal clear so I’ve been swimming almost every day.
Back to reality soon and I’ve got a to-do list ready, mostly promotional stuff in preparation for the release of my debut YA book ‘Chinglish’, in September. In the meantime, I’m getting as much sun and sea in the bank as possible (I’ve heard it’s been chucking it down back in the UK so I think I’ll be needing it!).
Just had the family staying so I had to down paintbrushes for a couple of weeks. Now back to the easel.
Here in Ubud we’re surrounded by lush greenery, and I spend a lot of time on our balcony taking it all in. There’s giant bamboo, dozens of palms laden with coconuts, and lots of trees with gigantic leaves that crash loudly through the undergrowth when they fall.
Every now and then a couple of squirrels chase each other across the branches and butterflies float by on the updraft like intricately patterned tissue paper. It is sheer nature bliss. My brushstrokes here have become simpler, and colours more muted. Here’s a quick sketch of some foliage…
So, from April 1st to June 30 I’ve decided to take a break from the normal routine of life and go live in Bali – well for 2 months anyway, then it’s off to Corfu for another month.
The idea is to ditch agenda for as long as possible and reboot. Right now I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking rainforest and listening to the birds, crickets and frogs chirruping away. It is total heaven.
I’m in Ubud, the spiritual and creative heart of Bali, and the perfect place to start painting again. Hmm, I’ve realised how rusty I am though, my colour mixing has never been great but it’s dire at the moment. Practice makes perfect and luckily, I have all the time in the world.
NEWS OF PARTICULAR EXCITEMENT! It’s taken 3 and a bit years to finish (launch date Sept 2019), but proofs for my new young adult novel are out at last, and the response from bloggers and reviewers has been fantastic.
It feels a bit weird because as I write this, final edits are still happening on Chinglish so it’s not actually finished yet! I’m especially looking forward to seeing the final cover.
Cor! Just been tidying out the attic and found a bunch of visuals I did as an Art Director back in London in the 90s. I forgot how skilled I was at using magic markers – they’re not the easiest medium to handle. Looking back I can see I must have spent a majority of time knocking these slick pics up as the marks I’ve made are clearly quick and confident. Just look at Brett Andersen here.
My preferred brand was Pantone Tria which had 3 tip sizes per pen (the company paid for them thank god, as they were not cheap!). I’m not even sure if people still use magic markers these days as everything seems to be digital. I certainly don’t do marker visuals now, everything is straight to Mac. But when I’ve been asked to do the odd caricature now and then, I tend to do it using Procreate on my iPad.
It’s a shame this medium has died out. And that’s one of the reasons I’m going to start painting again this summer – I’ll soon find out if I’ve still ‘got it’!
I’ve added quite a few new pics to my novel in the last few months. This one shows a rare moment that me and my family had back in the 1970s, which I can just about remember.
The Chinese community in Nottingham used to put on Chinese films at the Odeon after all the restaurants and takeaways closed at night. This normally involved my parents waking me up from underneath the pile of dirty tablecloths from behind the bar at about 1am then driving us to watch Bruce Lee or a rotund lady comedian called Fei Fei. I was half asleep and didn’t understand most of it, but I didn’t care, because it was one of the only times we got to spend time together as a family – plus I used to get a whole box of Fruit Gums to myself!
As another year draws to a close I look back and realise I’ve measured the last few years based on how long it’s taken to write my book.
I can now understand why writers get so obsessed with their work. I am now one of those writers – eeek! Yes, I have been a hermit, yes, I’ve neglected my friends and indeed yes, I even turned into a deranged, tortured monster at times. But I’ve achieved something I thought a simpleton like me could never do – write a whole novel! (This is me popping out of a box to celebrate.)
So my Christmas message to all is this: Never give up, even when the road is littered with discarded traffic cones that break every single toe bone each step of the way. You WILL get there in the end – a bit battered, but extremely smug.