On the surface, Escape from America is the story of an American aspiring to change his life and plan a future in China. Beneath the surface, however, this book features critical analysis of both countries in an effort to promote greater understanding.
China, in spite of its long history, is still a very “young” country where development is slow and unsteady. Sure, we from the “West” can say we’ve arrived—but have we really?
EFA is meant to educate and entertain readers who wish to truly “know” two of the world’s dominant superpowers, as well as provide powerful insight from someone approaching the subject from both a local and global perspective.
But that’s not all..
My “story within a story” is one that I believe can encourage you, whatever your background, to take a closer look at your country, your life, and take everything into account. Step back and examine your world, ask yourself: Am I happy? Do I like what I see? What future goals might I wish to pursue?
Broadly speaking, for anyone who is not satisfied with the status quo and feels there are better ways forward, this book will inspire you.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
I used to bring a book with me during my long commutes by subway to work, but outside that, other than long trips, not really.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
The “bad one” because I like to bust people’s biases or misconceptions about how not everything—or everyone—may be as they first appear. So you may have this notion of me being a creep, but once you get to know me, it’s quite a different story (pun intended)
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
Usually sitting at my desk since most of my reading these days comes from the internet or digital files. When time allows, I might head to a library; it’s rare anymore for me these days, but that’s something I really enjoyed, particularly during my college years.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I’m a teacher, so reading and writing are integral parts of my work, pre- and post-classes. But outside of these, I put on my headphones and go for a walk to exercise and clear my mind, and visit the gym.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
It’s rare that I can do that, even being here in China where most of the books are quite foreign to me. I just like the relaxed atmosphere and also catching a look at some of the latest foreign titles. Back in the US, considering what bookstores (e.g. B&N) have evolved into, it’s nearly impossible for me to not stop in and have a look.
6. What are you most proud of?
The fact that I am able to push myself to pursue goals that often seem insurmountable at the onset. I often try to encourage others to find a greater sense of purpose beyond the typical workday, which can make life so much more fulfilling. Work is work, whether you love your job or not. So what will ultimately bring you the sense of achievement and level of satisfaction you require on a personal level?
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Haha… mine is a digital book, so whether or not I hold the physical product remains to be seen, but I can say after all the time and effort, I’m immensely proud of my new book. I’m also proud of myself for sticking with it and never losing sight of my purpose from the onset: to make a difference in people’s lives.
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Inspiration can strike at any time, but expect that it will find you during “off” hours, perhaps late at night, the middle of the night, first thing in the morning… be prepared. Never shrug off a thought that pops into your mind or put it off till later—write it down. Write notes to yourself, write during moments of self-reflection. You’ll be amazed when you look back at some of what you’ve produced. Whether or not these will amount to a bestselling book or not, who knows? But you’ll have the makings of telling a good story or giving good advice to someone, somewhere. Writing takes on many shapes and sizes; we don’t necessarily have to define writing in terms of authoring a traditional book. That’s how I would approach it. It’s wide open, so write for the love of writing and allow yourself the freedom to be creative. The process in and of itself can yield significant benefits.
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Alan Alda. He was one of my favorite actors when I was a kid—a brilliant comedic actor. So to later discover that he’d go on to write some “serious” self-help books was mind-blowing to me. Upon reading titles like “If I Understood You Would I Have This Look on My Face?” I discovered a distinct commonality between us in our approach to writing, striking a kind of balance between being serious yet frivolous at the same time. So I guess I feel a kind of kinship, if you like, and it would be wonderful to interview him to learn more about how he took to writing and what or who motivates and inspires him.
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
Anywhere at any time, there’s no preference to me. I’m fine sitting at my desk such as I am now, staring at my computer monitor, or simply jotting down notes or observances along my route to wherever I’m going. I’m seemingly in a constant state of self-reflection, so at any time of the day, there’ll be something that inspires me to make a mental note and write about it later.
Thank you, Vinnie Apicella and Love Books Group
About the author
Wow, I’m an “authorpreneur.” I could never conceive of that back when I first took an interest in writing so many years ago. It’s wonderful really, opening doors for us writers to become viable authors and share our work with the public. Quite the learning experience!
My writing career began by drafting press releases and artist bios for NYC music and film companies, then later producing financial articles for Forbes, travel and tourism pieces for a medical publisher, and more recently, marketing and sales copy for a Beijing-based e-commerce firm. I guess you could say I’ve run the gamut of writing on diverse subjects.
I am originally from New York and earned my BA from Columbia University where my guidance counselor had to “convince” me that choosing a major in Literature & Writing wasn’t a waste of time. In hindsight, he was right. Indeed there is much value in a Liberal Arts-based education where primary importance is placed on reading, writing, and critical thinking.
Several years later I relocated to Beijing to reinvent myself and pursue new opportunities for business.
Today, I oversee Shanghai EDGE Consulting, an online education company where I assist students at home and abroad to improve their interpersonal skills and guide them along the best path for achieving greater success in academics or their professional career.
In the future, I hope to use my new book Escape from America: An Introspective Journey from America into China… as a platform for making a positive impact on society and inspiring others to improve their lives and pursue their passions.