Saturday, March 25, 2023

Q&A with Mia Tsai

From my Q&A with Mia Tsai, author of Bitter Medicine:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

On a scale of "says what it is exactly on the tin" to "metaphor several layers deep," Bitter Medicine scores in the middle. "Bitter medicine" describes the main theme of the book--the hard-to-swallow lessons you have to learn in life, whatever they may be--but it is also literal, as the title appears within the text. It's also a bit of editorializing about the taste of Chinese medicine, most of which has disagreed with my taste buds. More to the point, Elle, one of my main characters, is a descendant of the Chinese god of medicine and a pretty good doctor in her own right, so the title is relevant in multiple ways.

Prior to a big rewrite that pushed the novel more into the realm of fantasy, it was titled A Brush with Love, which worked for me because Elle is a calligrapher and a lot of what she values revolves around her art. But it could also be misconstrued as a romance about dentists. Bitter Medicine is definitely the better title, and...[read on]
Visit Mia Tsai's website.

Q&A with Mia Tsai.

--Marshal Zeringue