Authors

Post image for Maggie King’s debut novel looks at the consequences of China’s One Child Policy

Menlo Park resident Maggie Shen King‘s second go at writing a novel shows perseverance pays off. Not only was An Excess Male picked up by Harper Voyager, but it’s gotten noticed. The Washington Post selected it as one of the five best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2017, applauding Maggie for “distinctive and sympathetic characters” and calling her vision of a not-so-far future “unnerving and thought-provoking.”

Maggie has long thought about writing and used the consequences of China’s One Child Policy as the basis for her novel. “I took one creative writing class in college but couldn’t imagine writing full time,” she said. “Then when my youngest was in middle school, I started taking writing classes at Stanford and got into a writing group. That was about 10 years ago. I wrote another novel but wasn’t able to get an agent. So this is my second novel, the first to get published.”

Born in Taipei and moving to the United States when she was 16, Maggie was taught English while growing up. The premise of her novel is based on actual statistics: Initially conceived to control overpopulation, China’s One Child Policy will, by the year 2030, unintentionally create a society in which more than 25% of men in their late thirties will never have married.

An Excess Male is “the story of one excess male, the less-than-perfect family he seeks to join, and the fight for their version of home, for the freedom to be their true selves, and for the country they have lost to a totalitarian regime that aims to control sex and define the boundaries of marriage in the name of the public good.”

“I wanted to write about China,” she said. “The One Child Policy was intended to control China’s population but it had more than one unintended consequence. The reality was stranger than fiction.”

Maggie doesn’t intend to stop at one published novel. She’s percolating on the idea of writing the next one about China’s ghost or shadow children, those that have never been registered with the government because they are second or third children.

For now, she’s enjoying hearing back from readers and doing book clubs. You can watch at trailer for An Excess Male online produced by fellow Menlo Park resident Connie Tamaddon.

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017

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Devorah Heitner, PhD, of Raising Digital Natives is M-A parent ed speaker on Jan. 23

Thumbnail image for Devorah Heitner, PhD, of Raising Digital Natives is M-A parent ed speaker on Jan. 23

Devorah Heitner,, PhD, talks about Empathy is the App: Raising Thoughtful Kids in the Digital Age. This inaugural 2018 M-A Parent Education lecture takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 7:00-8:30 pm at the M-A Performing Arts Center. Register for the free event online. In the digital world, no skill is more crucial than empathy. Learn what […]

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The Mystery Readers Group welcomes a special guest – author Cara Black

Thumbnail image for The Mystery Readers Group welcomes a special guest – author Cara Black

New York Times bestselling author Cara Black joins the Mystery Readers Group to discuss “Murder in Saint-Germain,” the 17th book in her Paris-set Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which now has over 400,000 copies in print. Her appearance takes place on January 17, 2018, at 7:00 pm In the new book, Aimée is walking through […]

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Local author Constance Vincent explores karma in latest book

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Karma is not a religious term. And it is not a judgment from a past life. Karma really means “a call to action,” appropriate as one starts thinking of New Year’s resolutions. In her latest book Karma in Action, psychologist and author Constance L. Vincent, a Menlo Park resident, has written the only book that […]

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Al Gore comes to the Peninsula as part of Kepler’s Literary Foundation speaker series

Thumbnail image for Al Gore comes to the Peninsula as part of Kepler’s Literary Foundation speaker series

The truth continues to be inconvenient, according to former Vice President Al Gore who appeared on the Peninsula earlier in December as part of Kepler’s Literary Foundation‘s speaker series. The Nobel Laureate talked about his latest book, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, in conversation with Angie Coiro (top photo), who is now the Literary […]

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Eboo Patel speaks about his work as founder of Interfaith Youth Core

Thumbnail image for Eboo Patel speaks about his work as founder of Interfaith Youth Core

Social entrepreneur and founder of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Eboo Patel (pictured right) was in Menlo Park earlier this week appearing at a couple of events sponsored by Christ Church in Portola Valley. “IFYC was founded on a simple premise that religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division,” he […]

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Bo Crane authors a book, The Streets of Menlo Park, in time for the city’s 90th anniversary

Thumbnail image for Bo Crane authors a book, The Streets of Menlo Park, in time for the city’s 90th anniversary

Take a quick glance at the photo to the right, taken in Menlo Park. Now answer: Where exactly? Is there a street in Menlo called Fourth Street? Of course there is, or it wouldn’t be in the new Menlo Park Historical Association book written by Bo Crane called the The Streets of Menlo Park. Bo explained […]

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Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park to launch her book, “From Basement to Sanctuary”

Thumbnail image for Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park to launch her book, “From Basement to Sanctuary”

Holly Hayes returns to Menlo Park on October 27, a town where she’s experienced some of the lowest and highest points of her life. She’s back home to launch her book, From Basement to Sanctuary, a story of conversion and transformation through God and the 12-step recovery movement. The launch event takes places from 6:00 […]

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“Nora Webster” is Menlo Park Library Literature Book Club’s October pick

Thumbnail image for “Nora Webster” is Menlo Park Library Literature Book Club’s October pick

Join the Menlo Park Library Literature Book Club for a discussion of the novel Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín on Tuesday, October 10 from 7:15 to 8:30 pm at the library. About the book “Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man […]

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Bay Area author Mark Coggins talks about his novel, Runoff, at Mystery Reader’s Club

Thumbnail image for Bay Area author Mark Coggins talks about his novel, Runoff, at Mystery Reader’s Club

The Mystery Reader’s Club invites the greater community to join them when they welcome local author Mark Coggins on Sept. 20 at 7:00 pm at the Menlo Park Library The crimes in his book Runoff take place in multiple spots throughout San Francisco and feature private investigator and jazz bass player August Riordan. Coggins’ work […]

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Sonia Arrison explores the impact of radical human longevity – and its intersection with technology

Thumbnail image for Sonia Arrison explores the impact of radical human longevity – and its intersection with technology

Reading Sonia Arrison’s bio on her website, we were a bit stumped. So, when we stopped by her office on Sand Hill Road, we immediately asked: “What is it that you do?” “I have trouble describing myself,” she acknowledged. “So sometimes it’s easiest to say I’m an author.” That she is, and her most recent book, 100 […]

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