2020 Debut Author Interview: Lauren Ho!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Lauren Ho and her novel LAST TANG STANDING, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Lauren on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Lauren Ho

Lauren is a reformed legal counsel who writes funny stories. Hailing from Malaysia, she lived in the United Kingdom, France and Luxembourg before moving with her family to Singapore, where she is ostensibly working on her next novel. LAST TANG STANDING is not based on her mother. At all. Seriously.

Keep up with Lauren: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Lauren: Very surreal. I keep waiting for some ancestor to appear in my dream and tell me they are “surprised” by my bold move to become an author, then lament that they wish I had stuck with law before asking me for a list of critics, influencers and movie producers they have to “subtly influence” for various reasons.  Then it will feel real. Also, seeing my book in the wild, on some shelf, would really help the fact that I’m a book mom hit home.
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Lauren: The best part is fleshing out my characters and putting them through the wringer (I am a decent person, honest). The hardest part is the plotting. Urgh. Plots. 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for LAST TANG STANDING?
Lauren: Write what you know, right? A lot of it was what I know. The rest, I blended from research, other people’s anecdotes, and my good, old imagination. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Lauren: Linda was hands-down my favourite character to write because she’s difficult to love, but once you get her you won’t want to be rid of her. She’s not the most palatable friend to have—she’s a little bit extra, a little bit self-absorbed, a little bit flighty, and she drinks a little too much for her own good. But then again she’s always frank and honest, she’s always fun to be around, she’s extremely loyal, she’s generous with her stuff, and when push comes to shove she always makes time (and money) for her friends. 

The Book Bratz: Based on the book's summary, there's an enemies to (potential) lovers trope...what are some other great enemies to lovers books that you recommend?
Lauren: Let’s see: off the top of my head Pride & prejudice by Jane Austen, and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. 

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that reader will take away from LAST TANG STANDING?
Lauren: I would be chuffed if every reader walks away thinking, crikey, that was fun, I haven't laughed like this since [*insert appropriate childhood memory*]. We’re all going through a rather bleak and challenging global health crisis in the moment, exacerbated by certain leaders and politicians who are putting short-term interest over that of the collective, and creating strife and division in a difficult time. I’ve always looked to the healing power of laughter during hard times in my life, and my hope is that if I can make someone laugh, and in the process, learn to empathize with a character whose cultural and ethnic background differ from theirs, I'm as happy as a clam--especially the kind that doesn't end up in someone's clam bake. I’m also especially proud to be putting out a book with complex, unique and talented characters, both women and men from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds that aren’t afraid of pursuing success and love in their own way, while minding their culture and traditions. It was so important for me to show that because there aren’t many contemporary novels in English about people from my part of the world that are published internationally. 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of LAST TANG STANDING in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Lauren: I do have a sequel in mind, and some readers have mentioned online that they hope to see a sequel, so let’s see if I can get a second publishing deal to make that a reality. I’m also working on a darkly funny story inspired by my experiences during this COVID pandemic. Just hoping the zombie apocalypse doesn't happen before those are done. (But if it does—I called it!)

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Title: Last Tang Standing
Author: Lauren Ho
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: June 9th, 2020

Summary: At thirty-three, Andrea Tang is living the dream: she has a successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo, and a clutch of fun-loving friends who are always in the know about Singapore's hottest clubs and restaurants. All she has to do is make partner at her law firm and she will have achieved everything she (and her mother) has ever worked for. So what if she's poised to be the last unmarried member of her generation of the Tang clan? She doesn't need a man to feel fulfilled, no matter what her meddling relatives have to say about it. But for a dutiful Chinese-Malaysian daughter, the weight of familial expectations is hard to ignore. And so are the men life keeps throwing in Andrea's path. Men like Suresh Aditparan, her annoyingly attractive rival for partner and the last man she should be spending time with, and Eric Deng, a wealthy entrepreneur whose vision for their future is more lavish than she could have imagined. With her workplace competition growing ever more intense, her friends bringing dramas of their own to her door, and her family scrutinizing her every romantic prospect, Andrea finds herself stretched to the breaking point. And she can't help but wonder: In the endless tug-of-war between pleasing others and pleasing herself, is there room for everyone to win?
Thank you so much to Lauren for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about LAST TANG STANDING and it's out now for everyone to enjoy!

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