An interview with Kylie Chan…

“That’s my excuse for everything – I’m old, don’t mind me,” says Kylie Chan, internationally published novelist and self-confessed computer geek.

It seems an unlikely self-description for the successful author of two trilogies set around ancient gods living in modern Hong Kong, but Kylie is a normal mum who spends most of her time in front of a computer when she isn’t driving her family or friends around.

She describes her fiction as ‘…about an Australian woman who falls for a Chinese god who’s living in today’s Hong Kong. It has gods, demons, martial arts, a Love That Can Never Be, violence, sex, all that good stuff.’

Kylie defines success as ‘…making enough income to support my family. Since leaving my ex and returning to Australia, it’s been something of a struggle…’

At times, the single mother has had to take two jobs to get by, but Kylie is now beginning to earn enough to live solely on the income from her writing.

“It’s been tough,” she said. “Three times in my forty-odd years I’ve had to give away all my possessions and move to a completely new location where I had no family or friends to support me. The first time I did this was with a six-week-old baby.”

She married a Hong Kong national in a traditional Chinese ceremony and spent 10 years living in Hong Kong running a successful IT business before moving back to Brisbane with her two children.

Relocating to Brisbane after life overseas was hard, but Kylie said “everybody in Hong Kong lives on top of each other… towards the end of my time there, I was suffering so badly from the pollution that I had to use steroid eye drops so that I could see.”

“It’s been a long road,” she said, “but I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about different cultures and learnt to be confident and self-reliant.”

Kylie values self-reliance in her own life. “I just do my best to care for my family without looking up to anybody,” she said.

When asked who inspired her, Kylie replied, “I’m less about idolizing the exploits of others and much more about doing what needs to be done in my life right now.”

Most important to her are her children and her writing – in that order. She said, “[i]t’s hard as a mum not to make the kids a priority – I say yes to many things when I should really say no!”

Her readers are nearly as important as her family. “I owe a duty to the fans who’ve bought my books to provide them with a great story that’s worth the money they spend on it. [Writing and family] are my life, really,” she said.

Kylie is happy with the way her life has unfolded. Focus and purpose have led to a successful writing career.

“I wouldn’t swap a day of any of it for a more comfortable existence,” she said.

Published under Harper Collins’ Voyager imprint in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, the Dark Heavens and Journey to Wudang trilogies are available in all good bookstores.

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