Mei-Ling Hopgood is the author of the memoir Lucky Girl, now available in paperback. When the hardcover was published, Good Housekeeping raved, “An award-winning writer recounts her experience as one of the first Chinese babies adopted in the West and her surprising trail back to the rural Taiwanese family who gave her away . . . A great book.”
We recently caught up with Mei-Ling, who currently resides in Argentina with her family.
Describe your new book in one sentence.
Lucky Girl is the story of my reunion and relationship with the Chinese birth family that gave me up for an adoption, and my journey to understand the meaning of family.
Where do you do your best writing?
In my office, usually in the morning or whenever the house is quiet (not an easy feat with a toddler running about).
What is your motto or maxim?
Dream big, work hard, eat and drink well, and love your family and friends with all your might.
Do you have any secret skills (besides writing, of course)?
I really enjoy throwing parties, hosting friends, and bringing people together. I also have strangely prehensile toes, and – I was thrilled to discover – so do some of my biological sisters.
Describe the plot of the first story you remember writing.
I moved on from drawing to writing when I was around five years old, and my faulty memory can’t reach back that far. But my mom says I began my writing career making up extensive imaginary menus, from which I made my parents order. (I’ve always been obsessed with food.) Later, in junior high, I wrote tortured, unoriginal stories and poems of girls (diamonds in the rough) who met handsome strangers who swept them off their feet.
If you had to change professions, and needed no credentials, what would you do?
If I actually had talent, were 15 years younger, and had much longer legs, I’d be some kind of professional dancer, on Broadway or even a music video girl. I’m a shameless addict of the show “So You Think You Can Dance” these days, even if in Argentina where I live we are about four seasons behind the U.S.
Which band would you like to have follow you around, playing the soundtrack to your life?
The Beatles, one of my favorite bands from childhood. (I was in love with Paul when I was five.)
Where do you hope to catch people reading your new book?
I’m not really picky – I’d be happy to see them reading it anywhere. It’d be great if I were actually on the beach or on a plane headed to a fabulous vacation spot and saw folks with LG in their hands.
What is your all-time-absolute-favorite book?
I have too many, but one is The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.
What books have you read recently that you’d recommend?
I’m not a parenting book fan, so I was surprised when Nurture Shock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman blew me away. I recently sped through A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in a matter of a few days.