I Read/I Wrote: Vivien Chien

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Culinary/Cozy Mystery

I READ: On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

On What Grounds, first book of the Coffeehouse mysteries, was the very first cozy mystery I’d ever read. In the first installment, you meet Clare Cosi, the incredibly loveable protagonist who is heading back to New York City after ten years of suburban life. Her return is brought on by a proposal from her ex-mother-in-law who owns a coffeehouse she would like Clare to manage. To make matters interesting, Clare is unaware that her ex-husband will also play a part in the business and force them to be a part of each other’s lives once again.

The appeal of cozy mysteries tends to come from a variety of reasons including themed interests, justice prevailing, and a focal point of solving the puzzle itself. Another great appeal to this sub-genre is the protagonist being an amateur sleuth, giving the reader an opportunity to identify with a character that is an “everyday man.”

In my case, it was a little bit of all the above that attracted me to the genre. And with this series, the main attraction for me was coffee! The series is filled with fun facts about coffee, its production and even includes recipes!

I WROTE: Death by Dumpling

Death by Dumpling is the first book in the Noodle Shop mysteries and takes place in Cleveland, Ohio.

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that helping wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead—after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy—to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out—it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

Vivien Chien first started writing simple stories about adventures with her classmates when she was in elementary school. As she grew up, her love of books and the written word increased, leading to the attempt of her first novel at age 16. After many struggled beginnings and several different genres, she found her passion in the mystery world. She currently lives in Cleveland where she is hard at work on the third book in her Noodle Shop series and writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.

Visit her at www.vivienchien.com.

7 thoughts on “I Read/I Wrote: Vivien Chien”

  1. Thanks so much for visiting us today! Wonderful post. I am also a fan of the Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse mysteries (was always waiting impatiently for the next one to come out, ha), and I LOVED the first in your series as well. Lana is a great character–how did you come up with her?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lana is a compilation of sorts. She is partially an alternate version of me. My mother owned a gift shop when I was little and would sometimes talk about me taking it over when I was old enough. Of course, I had other plans as most young people do, so the thought of having it decided for me really bothered me, and I thought…hmmm..what if that would have actually happened? How would I feel about it? The store ended up going out of business a few years later, but it was a big part of my childhood and the memory of it has stuck with me all these years. The back room at Ho-Lee Noodle House is a very real place. So with Lana, I get to explore some of what I think would have happened if I did have to work for my family after all.
      I’ve also used Lana to touch on some aspects of being racially mixed and how that does and doesn’t impact your life.
      And lastly, she is a representation (at least to me) of what it can be like to be a female in your late 20s…struggling, trying to find your footing, wondering if you’re doing it right and so on.
      All in all, she has been an amazing character to write and I hope she gets to stay with me for a very long time!


  2. I think it’s so refreshing to see a novel that doesn’t take place in New York City, or LA! Good on you for writing something based a little closer to home for you. I’m definitely adding this to my winter break reading list!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I love culinary mysteries and will definitely put the coffee house mysteries and your own. A noodle shop in Cleveland! How did you come up with that? It’s hilarious. My question is when you come up with something so definitive for a series, how many people can die in the noodle shop?

    Best Regards,
    Stephanie O’Brien

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great question, Stephanie! The noodle shop is located in an Asian shopping plaza, called Asia Village. The murders in each book take place at a different location in the plaza and are not necessarily tied to the restaurant itself. I also have future books in the works where the murders take place at Asian events away from the plaza. The common denominator is always the protagonist, Lana Lee, and that lends to creating some variety. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.