CrimeReads: How I Stopped Worrying About The Rules And Learned To Write A Mystery Novel

Thanks to CrimeReads for featuring an essay on my journey to writing Skin Deep.

One of my greatest thrills as a college student was when I was let into the intermediate-level creative writing workshop. You couldn’t just sign up and walk in—you had to submit a short story good enough for the professor to deem you worthy. That first day, I sat around the rectangular table with my future colleagues and was handed a set of rules for the class. It’s been almost thirty years since I laid eyes on this single xeroxed sheet, but I can still remember one of them: You will not write stories about serial murderers, or even regular murderers.

CrimeReads

Skin Deep: Dreamcast and Playlist

At My Book, the Movie, I dream up the perfect cast for the film adaptation of Skin Deep. Please, if you have Awkwafina’s and Cate Blanchett’s phone numbers, give them a ring for me.

At largehearted boy, check out the the music for Skin Deep.

There’s even a Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

Skin Deep, Published.

There’s a file on my computer with the title MYSTIDEA.TXT. It’s dated 4/27/1993. If someone were to ask me the exact date when I started this book, that’s the date.

There’s another file on my computer titled CH1 — no extension. Not sure how that happened, but the file loads just fine. At the top of that file is another date: 7/16/93. If someone were to ask me the exact date when I wrote the first words of Skin Deep, that’s the date.

Granted, the end product bears little resemblance to my initial notions, but that’s how long it took.

Happy birthday, Skin Deep. That was a very long labor.

To celebrate your entry into the literary world, here’s one of your godparents:

Look for more godparents to drop by as the week progresses, until we celebrate you properly with your book launch.

Skin Deep Virtual Book Launch

with Odyssey Bookstore

Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 7PM–8 PM ET

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcudOigpzwjHNHZI-bT-lAzVhEymp__rMDT

Wanna Hear an Ad for Skin Deep?

There’s a really good one at Writer’s Routine, a podcast by Dan Simpson. What a pleasure it is to have a professional pitch your book!

The ad appears about 2 minutes in (around -52:25 if you are using the player above), but I suggest you listen to the whole episode, as it’s excellent. I wasn’t aware of Jasper Fforde before this interview, but I surely do now and am better for it.

12 Novels You Should Read in July – CrimeReads

Big thanks to the kind folks at CrimeReads for highlighting Skin Deep in their July roundup!

Here’s more evidence that the private detective is enjoying a very welcomed resurgence in the crime fiction world. Sung J. Woo’s new novel features an inimitable PI, Siobhan O’Brien, a Korean adoptee who has somewhat haphazardly inherited her old boss’s agency and finds herself at a crossroads, unsure if she should continue down the line. The proverbial last job comes through, dragging Siobhan upstate to a seemingly idyllic liberal arts college with a girl gone missing from her dorm. The college is a hotbed of subcultures, and Siobhan has to learn each of their quirks and rivalries to keep the case moving forward. Skin Deep manages to be an entertaining, wickedly clever mystery and also a thoughtful meditation on adoption, culture, and identity. –DM

CrimeReads

Starred Library Journal Review of Skin Deep

Check out the nice review of Skin Deep from Library Journal!

Despite her Asian features, her father really is Irish, her mother Norwegian. Her name is Siobhan O’Brien, never mind everyone’s surprise when trying to gauge the incongruity between her face and that moniker. Short answer: Siobhan is a Korean-born, upstate New York–raised transracial adoptee. At 40, she’s just inherited a private investigation agency since her boss of two years has suddenly dropped dead (of natural causes). The business has enough banked to last three months, or she could sell and net a comfy $20,000-ish. Inexperience aside, she chooses to stay open, and her first case turns out to be a doozy: to reunite her late best friend’s younger sister with her missing teenage daughter, Siobhan will need to infiltrate a radical womyn’s group at a nearby college, agree to trespassing, check into a yoga center, get poisoned by mushrooms, avoid a multinational billionaire’s posse, and, in between, maybe even risk falling in love.

VERDICT: With just the right mix of clever twists, endearing charm, looming threats, and contemporary issues (identity, privilege, cultural appropriation, the ugliest parts of the beauty trade), literary novelist Woo (Love Love) debuts quite the absorbing new mystery series, hopefully with multiple volumes to come.

Reviewed by Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC , Jun 12, 2020

Library Journal – https://www.libraryjournal.com/?reviewDetail=skin-deep