My first book, The Fire Horse Girl, is about a teenage girl living in China in 1923 and determined to immigrate to America to escape her curse and find freedom.
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse — the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, reckless, and far too headstrong. While her family despairs of marrying her off, she dreams of traveling far beyond her tiny village, living out a story as big as her imagination.
Then a young man named Sterling Promise offers Jade Moon and her father an incredible opportunity: the chance to go to America. As they travel, Sterling Promise’s smooth manners and Jade Moon’s impulsive nature strike sparks again and again. But America in 1923 doesn’t welcome Chinese immigrants, and when they are detained at Angel Island — the so-called “Ellis Island of the West” — Jade Moon uncovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, she will have to use every bit of her stubbornness and strength to break a new path . . . one so brave and dangerous that only a Fire Horse girl could imagine it.
“What do you think America will be like?” I asked Sterling Promise.
“Your uncle used to say that it was a place where stories began. A place where any ending was possible.”
My eyes widened. “Did Uncle like stories?”
“He liked possibilities,” he said. “I think America is a land that allows you to walk away from an old life into a better one.”
I nodded slowly.
“And you, what do you think it will be like?”
“It will have . . . what do you call it? Getting to live as who you are?”
“Freedom,” he said. But he wasn’t looking at me.
“That is what it will be. Freedom.”