From the Booking Desk:

I first met Sarah M Chen when she co-edited two unique anthologies with E. A. Aymar and we did some promotion on the blog. Those volumes–The Night of Flood and The Swamp Killers–are both still favorites of mine and well worth picking up. But it wasn’t until Left Coast Crime in Tucson this past year that I was able to sit down with Sarah and have a more in-depth discussion. There is a reason she is beloved in the crime fiction community–her knowledge of the genre runs deep and her love of short stories is undeniable. And the future projects she spoke of in that conversation sounded amazing. So I knew I had to have her as part of the Composite Sketch series. Let’s see what else she is willing to share with us.

Name: Sarah M. Chen
Location: Los Angeles, CA

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

It’s funny, my mother and I are such polar opposites that we butt heads on so many things. I think she’d be surprised to learn that she’s my inspiration, but I’ve always admired her tenacity and fearlessness. Despite having to basically raise a kid on her own since my dad wasn’t around much, she went back to school in her late thirties and get her Associate in Arts degree. Then she went on to get her B.A. and eventually, her M.A. She didn’t care that she was the one of the oldest people in class or let debilitating chronic migraines stop her from going for what she wanted. I try to remember that when I feel like giving up.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Naomi Hirahara. When I worked at The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood, I was touched by how thoughtful she was with her readers as well as the bookstore staff. I was a big fan of her work and initially nervous around her, but she immediately put me at ease. Eventually, we became friends and she’s helped me in so many ways. I admire how she manages to juggle multiple projects at once while being involved in numerous community events. She’s one of the hardest working writers I know, yet always finds time to bring people together.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Claire DeWitt. I’ll read anything by Sara Gran so when I picked up Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead I knew I was in for a hell of a ride. I’d follow Claire anywhere but with the expectation that I’d need to silence the worrywart in me and not freak out about everything. She’s way more adventurous than me and a little terrifying.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

Normally, I listen to 80s music or 90s hip hop. But when Amy Winehouse died, I surprising cried. No artist’s death has ever hit me as hard. It’s not like her death was really shocking as her battle with addiction was well-known. But I absolutely loved her Back to Black album and I played that thing over and over. Her voice was so powerful and sultry. She was mesmerizing to watch perform. It’s heart-breaking to me that the world won’t get to see her growth and what she could’ve become.

My personal catch phrase is (or should be):

No is a complete sentence. This is what I want my catch phrase to be. A former bookstore boss used to say this and I always thought, “I need to remember that.” It’s so hard for me to say no to things, and if I do say no, I feel guilty.

Find out more about Sarah M Chen on her website