With her sunshine smile, it’s hard to believe Corrie Wang (it’s pronounced WONG) could ever depict the dark side of popularity, but that’s what she’s done in her debut novel, “The Takedown,” a young adult story about technology and how it can be used to ruin a reputation.
You may be more familiar with Wang as the salty-tongued partner in Short Grain, the food truck that just got named a semi-finalist for a James Beard Foundation award – a really big deal and almost unheard-of for a food truck.
And although she is married to Shuai Wang, the seeds for “The Takedown” began on an online date, obviously before Shuai.
“We were sitting and chatting and (the guy) said, ‘You know what? You should write a book, something about technology.’ That sparked something and I started writing about these girls,” Wang says now, just one day before her big book launch party at Edmund’s Oast. The book is through Disney’s FreeForm books, another big deal.
Wang says she wanted her heroine to be strong and smart.
Corrie Wang launches her new book — Photo by Ferris Kaplan
“At the time, I felt like I was reading a lot of books where the main female character was bumbling, or sweet but shy, a socially awkward girl,” Wang says. “It was setting up a stereotype. I wanted to write about girls who have everything together, to do away with that mean girl stereotype and to show that bad things still happen to everybody.”
Wang started with adult fiction, but it wasn’t until she had a job at a literary agency and saw another young adult series that a “light bulb” went off and she realized she had been writing about teens but not for them.
She wrote the book while helping to run Short Grain by writing first thing in the morning.
“I’d take that cup of coffee and hunker in on the couch. If I do have to be on the food truck, I have 45 minutes to an hour. Mondays, I’m not on the truck, so I tell everyone, ‘Leave me alone. It’s my time to focus.’ I couldn’t write in the evenings because I was fried at the end of the evening,” she says.
Launching a book is a heavy lift and Wang says Short Grain has been on a hiatus while the book is launched.
“It’s always being on your phone and responding to emails and always feeling a bit harried but in a good way,” Wang says. “It gets to feeling like a lot. If I didn’t take time off, I wouldn’t have been able to take care of everything.”
She adds that “everything” includes looking for restaurant space and looking for a house.
Corrie Wang with her books — Photo by Ferris Kaplan
Wang has two books in the works. One is “a standalone novel that kind of focuses on relationships and men and women and gender and it’s kind of futuristic.”
She’s also working on a middle-grade novel that she says is an environmental fantasy.
Wang is signing her book, “The Takedown” this Saturday (April 15) at the West Ashley Barnes & Noble from 11 am – 1 pm.