Saturday, June 6, 2015

Featured Author: J.J. Chow


Runner-Up, 2015 Beach Book Festival

Winston Wong used to test video games but has left his downward spiraling career to follow in the footsteps of Encyclopedia Brown, his favorite childhood detective. When the Pennysaver misprints his new job title, adding an extra "s" to his listing, Winston becomes a "Seniors Sleuth." He gets an easy first case, confirming the natural death of a ninety-year-old man. However, under the surface of the bingo-loving senior home is a seedier world where a genuine homicide actually occurred. Winston finds himself surrounded by suspects on all sides: a slacker administrator, a kind-hearted nurse, and a motley crew of eccentric residents. To validate his new career choice (and maybe win the girl), he must unravel the truth from a tangle of lies.


Jennifer, what’s the story behind the title of your book?

Winston Wong decides to advertise himself as a “senior” sleuth, so he can sound more experienced. Unfortunately, his ad gets misprinted as “seniors” sleuth — and he gets his first case at the local senior home.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
This book is the first in the new Winston Wong Cozy Mystery series. Each novel will be a standalone with a different case, but the emotional growth of recurring characters will take place throughout the series. 

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
I would blow it all on books, of course!

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
To stay true to your dreams. Life is too short to pursue anything other than your deepest passions.

What dumb things did you do during your college years?
I pulled a lot of all-nighters in college — to socialize. I’m not sure my body has ever quite recovered.

What do you love about where you live?

Los Angeles is a great place to live. I love the opportunities here to do so many diverse activities and to explore the surrounding natural beauty, from beaches to mountains. Plus, the weather is lovely! 

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
It would have helped to understand that I could be different from my peers and embrace my uniqueness (e.g. talents, heritage, etc.).

What makes you happy?
I enjoy spending time with my family and having relaxed nature outings.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I’m currently focused on writing, but I still have my license in social work. I used to do geriatric social work and enjoyed working directly with seniors.

How did you meet your husband? Was it love at first sight?
We met in college, and it was not love at first sight. Sure, I thought he was handsome, but our personalities were quite opposite. After getting thrown together in a lot of activities, though, we both started appreciating each other’s qualities and began dating. 

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Yes, I have several friends in the tech field, so they influenced my Winston Wong character. The senior residents of Sweet Breeze are a mixture of different folks I’ve encountered during my volunteer and work experiences with older adults.

Are you like any of your characters?
I find my inner geek in Winston. I have fond memories of playing video games as well.

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I’m reading paperback versions of the first two books in Naomi Hirahara’s Officer Ellie Rush mystery series.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?

My previous novel, The 228 Legacy, helped someone to reconnect with her father. She told me that she better understood him after reading my book.

What would your dream office look like?

I would love to have a little nook of an office. All I’m asking for is my own desk with black pens that don’t run out of ink. (And maybe a cute shelf to house all my published books and signed copies from other authors.) 

Why did you decide to self-publish? 

I started out with a small press, but I was curious about what really goes on behind the scenes with making a book. I’ve enjoyed learning about all the various aspects of publishing up close. Also, I wanted to expand into different genres, and self-publishing gave me more flexibility to share my various stories.


J.J. Chow writes Asian-American fiction with a geriatric twist. She has a gerontology specialization from Cornell University and a Masters in Social Work with geriatric field experience. She lives in Los Angeles and is a member of Sisters in Crime. You can follow her blog and find more about her other writing at

Connect with Jennifer:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads