Stanford graduate releases debut novel

In her debut novel, “Follow  Her Home,”  published April 16, Stephanie Cha ’03 introduces her protagonist, Korean-American Juniper Song.

Song’s interest in noir writer Raymond Chandler’s detective novels drives her to accept a request from a college friend.

Song agrees to investigate whether her friend’s wealthy father is having an affair with another Korean-American woman. Upon accepting the request, Song finds herself involved in a real life murder mystery.

Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and the LA Times gave “Follow Her Home” positive reviews before its release. Cha began writing while she was in law school.

“I started writing because I decided that I didn’t know if I really wanted to do law and I decided to give writing an honest shot,” Cha said.

Her interest in books and literature stemmed from her time at Harvard-Westlake, Cha said.

“I liked English at Harvard-Westlake; it was my favorite subject,” Cha said. “It was my worst subject but it was my favorite subject.”

Cha’s courses at Stanford University introduced her to Chandler’s noir novels, which are a genre of crime fiction with a focus on dark ambience, Cha said.

“After I read Chandler in college, I thought that somebody should write a Korean-American female noir because I think noir is an interesting way to explore different parts of society,” Cha said. “I

thought it’d be a cool idea. At the time I had the vague notion that maybe I could try it.”

Cha wrote the first draft of her novel in her second year of law school and finished her work several years later.

“I’ve had the idea for somebody like Song for a long time; the actual character came more into shape while I was writing her and the side characters kind of fell in too,” Cha said.

Cha will be visiting Oakland and bookstores in Los Angeles to promote her debut novel for the next two months.

“It will be kind of tiring, but it will be fun,” Cha said.

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