Guest Chick: Vivien Chien

Give a warm Chicks welcome to Vivien Chien, author of the wonderful Noodle Shop Mystery series. It’s her first time guesting with us and we’re thrilled to have her!

One of the questions I get asked the most is: what’s my favorite part of writing? Hands down it’s the creation of character and their development. Since I began writing, my intentions were always to work with series characters that could be continuously developed and evolve with each story setting I put them in. While I do love me a great stand-alone, I’ve always found myself saying, “But what happens next?!”

Which brings me to the heroine of the Noodle Shop mysteries, Lana Lee. When the first book (Death by Dumpling) came out, many people thought I chose to make Lana a twenty-something to appeal to a younger crowd. Until I started reading reviews, I hadn’t even realized that a lot of readers felt there was a gap in this age bracket within the cozy mystery world.

But, the reason behind my choice was actually very different.

I think for most people, especially the current generation, your late 20s can be a very pivotal time in life. As society changes and options for different lifestyles broaden, people are waiting longer to have kids, focusing more on careers, or simply spending a significant time trying to figure out this wacky thing called life and what it all means. (I am no stranger to that conversation myself.)

Now in my late 30s, I look back at that time in my life and realize all the things I did not realize. What a journey of self-discovery we go on, and wow, look at all the things you think are going to happen but don’t or vice versa.

In several instances throughout the Noodle Shop series, Lana contemplates how she thought life was supposed to be and how it didn’t go the way she planned. How many of us have done the same? How many of us have said, “By the time I’m this age, I’ll be [insert life goal here].” And, how many of us thought we had it all figured out before we even truly got started?

My grandmother tried desperately to warn me about these pitfalls early on. She’d always tell me to go through life with no limitations or expectations on age. That I would never know what would happen when or if things would happen at all and to simply enjoy life as it comes. To be grateful for the journey and the opportunity to exist in a time when so many options are available.

So when I created Lana and cobbled her life together, I thought about what a perfect opportunity it would be to re-explore all of that through her and the different interactions that would take place with other characters in the series. I think we can relate to it at all stages of our lives, whether you’ve just gone through it, went through it many years ago or find yourself going through it now.

As the third book, Murder Lo Mein, prepares to release, I find myself reviewing the progress that Lana has made since her introduction. And I have to admit, it makes me smile to see the challenges and changes she’s conquered since her story began. As we all know, adversity and how you handle it, is what keeps things interesting. There is no shortage of that for Lana and friends! I hope that those of you who read it will enjoy her journey just as much as I have. There is something truly intriguing that happens during that part of your life and my main goal—for myself and for my reader—is that I capture it with clarity and sass.



Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

BIO: Vivien Chien was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next doughnut. She is the author of the Noodle Shop Mystery series, including Death By Dumpling and Dim Sum of All Fears.





32 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Vivien Chien

  1. Welcome, Vivien! Lana sounds like a very relatable character, and I love your grandmother’s advice. It’s so true that we think we have an idea of how our lives will turn out, yet end up somewhere completely different.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. My daughter is 18 and has her life mapped out, almost to the minute. She’s never getting married (she just plans to live long-term with the perfect guy some day), she’s going to move away from Pittsburgh, have a fabulous law career, a dog – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I’ve warned her that life has a way of throwing you a curveball, but she isn’t really listening. I’ll be interested to see where she is in ten years.

    Lana is a great character!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. This series is one of the best. Lana is a real hoot and he relationship with her sister is hilarious. Thanks for including Vivien Chien on your blog.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Vivien,
    I think your choice and reasoning makes total sense. Honestly, when I think of these kinds of businesses, you have two generations working them. The late 20 something group because they have gotten their education, messed around for a year or two, and then go support the family, and the patriarch/matriarch. There is no other choices. So what you did made it seem more real in my eyes.
    And then of course in five years she will either decide to stay for good, or she will totally go the opposite direction in life.
    Honestly? I can’t and don’t want to remember that age! It was a very pivotal time for me as well. Good and bad. And what a learning experience!
    Nice work so far!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m ok with remembering it…the good and the bad…but don’t ask me to do it again. LOL. One time was MORE than enough.

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. With my birthday last week, I was just thinking about this as well. I’m certainly not where I thought I would be at this age – not by a long shot. That can be good at times but bad at others.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Well first…happy belated birthday!! And yes, I completely agree, it comes with good and bad. But I think the most important part is that we live to tell the tale! And what a story it is! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this, Vivien! Every age has its joys and pitfalls. I wish I’d realized that sooner. If I have a regret about rasing my kids, it’s wishing they’d hurry and move on to the next stage in their lives. Hurry up and crawl/talk/walk/be potty trained/read/etc … because I wanna see what that’s like!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Becky, I feel this hurry-up regret about the kids so keenly now that the eldest is in high school. I had a friend who told me not to wish the time away while waiting for the next stage, and she was so right. I guess it’s that journey lesson. I hope I learn it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s why that “Slipping Through My Fingers” song rips my heart out and leaves me a sobbing pool of Mom on the floor. I’m lucky, as are you, that we figured it out sooner rather than later.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Nope, nope, nope. Can’t listen to that song any more than I can read Love You Forever. This fleeting-time feeling is why I make the kids play board games and bake (and and and) with me. It’s going too fast.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. That is really the only sensible response, Kathy. Like a dummy, I have that song on my stretching playlist. So when it pops up, I’m usually contorted in some way that renders me unable to skip it fast enough. Lotta tears soaked into my carpet!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. It really does! I don’t have kids, but I can relate to that sense of hurrying up to see what will happen next or what certain events will bring. If anything, my new goal is to practice mindfulness and truly enjoy just living in the moment. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Hoo-boy. Not sure I could write a cozy about my own twenties (it would definitely fall more into the “edgier mystery: category, what with all that rock ‘n rolling and carousing I did, lol). You grandmother is very wise, indeed!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chcks today, Vivien! I’ve been meaning to pick up your series and now I truly will!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Welcome, Vivien! I love this so much. Oh, the things I wish I could tell my younger self!

    The idea of being grateful for the journey, no matter where it leads, really resonates with me. It’s something I wish I’d figured out earlier and something I keep trying to tell my own kiddos, especially when things don’t go as planned. (And it seems they rarely do!)

    Congrats on your fabulous series and upcoming release!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Kathy, They never actually listen (well, seemingly), nor appreciate our wise words. But don’t worry, they will come to understand–when they’re our age. (Which is, I think, what my mom used to tell me, as she threw up her hands.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m waiting for that day! Actually, no. I’m mindfully staying in THIS moment, while looking forward to their epiphany. 🙂


  9. Vivien, this is a fun series and Lana is such an appealing character! Thanks for visiting Chicks today! Late 20s was a pivotal time for me. Got married, started a business. Closed business — but kept husband.:)

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi Vivien! Thanks so much for visiting today. Loved your post and wow, that’s such a great perspective. And Lana is a terrific character–congrats on your success to date and best wishes with your third book launch! So exciting.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Vivien, It’s so great to meet you (and Lana)! I will definitely check out your series–it sounds truly awesome. I write a 20-something sleuth also. Sometimes my readers are a little appalled at her antics (her sleuthing partner is 70-something, and tries hard to guide her). One cool thing about being in your twenties is that when you mess up, you come up with extra-creative ideas about how to fix them, b/c you don’t rule anything out due to crushing experience, lol. Thanks for visiting us and my apologies for being late to the party–just friended you!

    Liked by 2 people

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