Author Profile: Siqi Liu “The Buzzard”

June 14, 2013 at 9:24 am | Posted in Writing, Reading | 2 Comments

Image Siqi Liu, the author of “The Buzzard” appearing in volume 3 of Suddenly Lost in Words initially came to our attention through her impressive fan fiction sequel to Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon.”  Reading her continuation of the Keyes narrative, it seemed to us as though the original author himself had penned the piece.  It was on the strength of this work that we sought her out for a contribution to Suddenly

Asked about her feelings regarding the appearance of “The Buzzard” in Suddenly, Siqi commented that “I feel honored that the staff of Suddenly Lost in Words saw something of value in my work.  For a young author like me, this is an encouraging sign along the journey of a hopefully long-lasting writing career. 

Siqi’s opinion of what makes a good short story starts with believability.  “The characters, the plotlines, and the moral lessons all have to be established in such a way that readers can forge a connection with them.  Because these connections are based on what readers experience in their own lives in the real world, it is vital that the story also takes place in a very real world crafted by the author.

 Siqi identifies the short story as her favorite writing genre because “it allows me to play architect with the story.  I’ve always been fascinated with building characters and plotlines, and the process of writing fiction really challenges me.

 Because of her belief that “being a reader has taught me that writing can influence people in profound ways,” Siqi affirms that “one of my major goals as a writer is to have readers take away something from my stories.” She hopes that “one day my writing can become something that not only entertains readers but also sheds light on things they might not have thought about before.”

 Commenting on when she first knew that she was a writer, Siqi traces her interest in the craft back to “a very young age.”  She has always been “intrigued by literature,” and she believes that this led her to a desire to create her own literature. She told us that “the first story I remember writing was when I was about nine years old – it was a fantasy tale about people who rode owls.  When I think about it now I want to cringe and laugh at the same time.

Asked what she likes to read, Siqi responds with “anything and everything.”  She sees “tremendous value in being an omnivorous reader” for the reason that she believes having a wide view of the literary spectrum helps her to improve her own writing and to better appreciate literature as whole. Her advice for young writers is “Read, read, and read!”

 The grocery store, biology class, and the view from her bedroom window are all sources from which Siqi derives her inspiration for stories and characters.  “Usually, inspiration strikes me in the most surprising places and times, when I am least expecting it.” 

One of Siqi’s goals as a writer is to give her readers a worthwhile way to spend their time.  “If someone was really to take precious minutes or hours away from their own lives and pick up something I wrote, I want them to be able to take something away from it.

 “The Buzzard” was originally titled “The Dream Analyst,” but Siqi changed the name to emphasize the main character’s role as a social predator, taking advantage of his naïve clients.  But this character is not exactly a villain; Siqi explains “Norman Miller seems to be morally despicable on some levels, but he also possesses many admirable qualities.  He is a good actor, a smooth talker, and a realist.  His rise from the bottom to the

top embodies the rise of an underdog, which is something that appeals to many readers.  Even though he goes about it in a crooked way, his back story illustrates the social mobility of the American Dream.  Norman Miller is essentially a self-made man and a sympathetic character. 

 If Siqi were to write another fan fiction piece it would be based on A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  “The reason I would choose this novel is that it is essentially a story about teenagers.  As a teenager myself, I feel a connection with the characters and the writing style.  Instead of creating a sequel, Siqi would start “somewhere in the middle of the story,” and develop a different plot line that would lead to an ending of its own.

 We asked Siqi about her outside interests, and she responded with the following: “Outside of writing, I also love music. I currently play piano for Chicago Youth Symphony, and I teach piano in my free time. I started my own volunteer organization to tutor local English as a Second Language Learners, and I have found great joy in contributing to my community through working with these kids and adults. Although I’m not that great at it (yet), I love trying out new recipes and cooking for my family. I also play for my high school girls’ tennis team, and I enjoy biking and running outdoors with friends. In fact, nature often serves as an inspiration for my writing.”

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