Interview with Mira Fu-En Huang, 2nd Place Winner in the WOW! Winter 2024 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, June 11, 2024


Mira Fu-En Huang is a professional musician who likes to tell stories through singing as well as writing. When she is not dashing about for concerts or working her day-job in the nonprofit sector, Mira enjoys reading, writing, café-hopping, crafting, and collecting stuffed animals. She is currently working on a young adult coming-of-age novel (which may or may not ever see the light of day), and is honored to have her first publication under WoW. To learn more about Mira’s other work, please visit

 ----------Interview by Renee Roberson 

WOW: Welcome, Mira, and congratulations on your win! The imagery in “That Place Beyond the Sky” is beautiful and evokes so much emotion. How did you get the idea for this story? 

Mira: I had no idea what I was going to write about until I read Hannah's bio [guest judge Hannah Andrade], which said she was "interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities." I'm Taiwanese American, and as I typically engage in writing sci-fi and fantasy, I figured this could be a good incentive to write more explicitly about my identity. So, I thought about something uniquely Asian American from my childhood, and I ended up landing on my late grandfather. I would visit his grave as a child with my extended family, and all my relatives would line up to whisper prayers in Taiwanese, a language I didn't and still don't understand. I'd helplessly tell my mother that I didn't know what to say, and she'd reply, "Just tell him you hope he's happy in that place beyond the sky." So then I thought about the sky, and wishes, and the things we lose before we realize we've lost them, and I remembered that the floating lanterns you see in "Tangled" are actually from the Chinese and Taiwanese tradition. That's about it, really. 

WOW: As a professional vocalist, how did you first discover your love for the art form? 

Mira: Sheer exposure. I arbitrarily sang in choir as my childhood extracurricular, and after years and years of doing that multiple times a week, I stopped being able to imagine a world I could live in without singing. 

WOW: You have such an amazing array of talents. Along with your day job and performance schedule, how do you determine which projects to focus your interests on at any given time? 

Mira: For me, music—and to some degree my day job—are my life partners, while writing is my on-again-off-again love affair. I love singing and I love my day job, but I'm never so passionate that I lose sleep over them. Writing is more extreme for me; sometimes I'm unable to write properly for weeks, and sometimes I'm on such a roll, I find myself jotting down scenes during gigs or writing at 3 a.m. Because of that, whenever I'm compelled to write, I let it happen, and in those moments I push through all my other obligations with the help of a little luck and a lot of practice in time management. 

WOW: I love that description of writing being an on-and-off again love affair. Can you tell us a little about the young adult novel you’re working on? 

Mira: Broadly speaking, it's a character-driven story about identity, prejudice, and what it means to be "human." It takes place in a fictional world that's post-telephones, pre-Internet, but with some soft sci-fi elements thrown in. There are six major characters—a warrior princess, a child soldier, a teen idol and her bodyguard, an assassin with a bomb in his brain, and a girl who will die in thirty days—and they all cross paths as they get sucked into various aspects of a political coup. Needless to say, chaos ensues. I'd say I'm about a third of the way through the first major draft right now. 

WOW: Sounds like a compelling plot and I'm sending you positive writing vibes! How has your study of music inspired or influenced your writing? 

Mira: I think my background in music is most obvious in the mechanics of my prose, as well as the kind of content I gravitate toward when writing. As a singer specifically, I'm hugely concerned with how my prose sounds—I often select words according to their rhythms first, and meanings second. More importantly, though, I think my musical background inspires my interest in eliciting emotion. I love building worlds and characters, and I'm an absurdly meticulous and perhaps overly complex plotter, but ultimately, I'm most interested in writing in a way that is equivalent to getting chills after listening to a song. To me, the highest compliment is when someone says my work gives them "the feels," be that from music or from writing.

WOW: Mira, thank you again for joining us today and we look forward to reading more of your work!


Angela Mackintosh said...

"That Place Beyond the Sky" is such a gorgeous story! Mira, I was deeply moved by it, and I loved hearing about your inspiration and your mom's quote. It's smart to tailor your story to the judge, and something I always recommend to writers.

I'm similar to you with my writing and write when the inspiration strikes. Your WIP sounds fantastic! Good luck with it, and WOW! is thrilled to be your first publication. :)

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