PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about yourself.
Teresa: I was born in Hong Kong to parents who valued Confucian-style “genteel scholarship.” Unlike stereotypical Chinese parents, they didn’t want me to go into medicine or law or accounting, but instead encouraged me to go into creative writing or fine arts. So, of course, I did what any child would do and went into the sciences.
But now that I’ve come back around to writing (okay, Mom, you were right…I just wish you were still alive to hear me say that), I draw on my knowledge of science and my experiences growing up in Hong Kong and as an immigrant in Canada to craft stories that will appeal to the kids who are like how I was as a child--kids who are crazy about math and science and/or who face racial discrimination.
PictureBookBuzz: What inspired your book, QUEEN OF PHYSICS: HOW WU CHIEN SHIUNG HELPED UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE ATOM?
Teresa: As I mentioned above, I am inspired by my love of science and my lens as a Chinese-Canadian-American. I read something about Wu back in 2011, was immediately captivated by her, and have been working on this story since.
PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about your main character.
Teresa: Wu Chien Shiung was a brilliant physicist who was born in China and moved to the U.S. to attend graduate school back in the early 1900s. Facing both racial prejudice and gender discrimination, she still managed to become a top researcher. Nobel-winning scientists such as Enrico Fermi and Richard Feynmann admired and respected her, and specifically asked her to conduct experiments for them. She was a huge advocate for women’s education and her later research involved working on finding a cure for hemophilia.
PictureBookBuzz: What other books have you written?
Teresa: I have many manuscripts that have yet to find homes, but my short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. I am especially proud of the anthologies put out by the Minnows Literary Group where every penny earned goes to Doctors Without Borders.
PictureBookBuzz: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
Teresa: I always find it empowering and satisfying to read about someone who rose above suppression and oppression to make a name for themselves and a difference in the world, so I hope readers will find my book appealing for the same reason.
PictureBookBuzz: Was there one moment in the revision process that changed your manuscript? Was it a critique partner, an agent, an editor that made you know you were on the right track?
Teresa: Winning the We Need Diverse Book mentorship in the nonfiction category changed both my life and the manuscript. Working with Jane Yolen, who chose my story, was the most amazing experience of my writing life!
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
We are a group of picture book authors and illustrators whose first picture books will be released in 2019. Read about our roads to publication here.