Love Made of Heart Turns 9 Years Old October 2011

To celebrate my novel’s anniversary . . .

Last Thursday I was at San Francisco Public Library for a Women’s National Book Association meeting to shoot one-minute videos of WNBA members and guests so that they can use them to promote themselves. So, there I was, Writing Career Coach Teresa, demonstrating how to create a short video, express yourself, and not have to be in front of the camera.

I am still overjoyed that my novel Love Made of Heart is in public libraries and also archived at the San Francisco History Center.

In this video, I re-declared that I use Love Made of Heart to inspire adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families. Also, I encourage everyone to get a library card.



Look what I received in the mail !


card to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Teacher Sheryl Fairchild and her delightful students


sweet messages to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Sheryl Fairchild's wonderful students


Bette Davis stamps used on envelope sent to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Ms. Sheryl Fairchild of San Francisco State University. Protagonist Ruby Lin in Love Made of Heart had found her role models in characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. So sweet of Ms. Fairchild and her students to think about the details! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and that's no pun.

Ms. Sheryl Fairchild’s wonderful students in First Year Composition at San Francisco State University had asked me these questions when I visited them last month.

Our Conversation with Teresa LeYung Ryan

Nicole:  I would like to ask her why she wanted to share her story to the world?

Erin:  I’d like to ask why she used Hollywood movie starts as Ruby’s “voice”  . . .   why she wrote certain characters like Mrs. Nussbaum or Emily into the story and if they represent someone she knows in her life.

Allison:  I would like to ask her if the events that she described in the novel are synonymous with her real life or if they just represent different things that have happened to her.

Stephen:  Was the story of her mother having mental illness true or was it completely made up?

Rozlynn:  I would like to know more about Ruby’s brother John, he’s a very mysterious character in the novel.

Heather:  I would like to ask her if she wrote her story to help people dealing with similar domestic violence issues or people that have someone with mental illness in their life, feel like they aren’t alone, or if she wrote the story for therapeutic reasons of her own.

Kerri:  How long did it take for her to be comfortable with writing this story?

James:  I would like to know if she overcame her past through therapy or was it a different source that was able to help her like a friend or lover?

Jonathan:  If Teresa’s view on men has changed when going from a traditional Chinese man . . . to her new marriage of 7 years that she talks about on the back cover.

Ashley:  What challenges did you face writing the book? What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Kyndal:  Did she ever find out more information about her grandmother?

Reyanna:  I would like to ask about Ruby’s grandmother. We never really know what happened to her and why she left America. Was it because of the harsh trials immigrants suffered? Also, I would like to know about Ruby’s brother as well. She never mentioned much about him or the grandmother.

Questions for Teresa from our worksheets:
o    Why did you want to share your story?
o    Have you gotten in contact with your brother?
o    Why did you choose not to use any Chinese language in the novel?
o    Why did you use a paper that Emily wrote to tell Ruby’s story at the end of the novel, rather than having Ruby tell the story herself?
o    Why did you choose that specific ending?
o    What did you find out about your culture as you were writing this novel?
o    Is your husband Chinese?
o    Did you ever talk to Vincent again?
o    How did your family react to your writing the book?

The Essence or Meaning of the Novel:
In Our Own Words

*     Do not dwell on the past, if you do, you cannot move forward with the future.

*     Forgive, but do not forget what you’ve learned from that experience.

*      Cannot judge people right away (such with Vincent)

*     Tradition vs. modern

*      Substituting fictional characters’ lives for Ruby’s – the life she wished she had

*     “Different kinds of love”

*     Culture – Culture’s clashing

*      Childhood – How the things you see as a child sculpt your life and views: violence at home,
family values/traditions, family relationships

*      Communication – If it exists or doesn’t

*     Family ties – Loyalty vs. independence

*      The book Love Made of Heart shows how someone’s troubled past affects their present life.


What a lovely way to celebrate the birthday of Love Made of Heart !  I’m overjoyed. I’d like to believe that my mom is giggling on Cloud Nine. Thank you, Ms. Fairchild, Allison, Ashley, Chris, Colin, Erin, Heather, Henriikka, James, Joelle, Jonathan, Kerri, Kyndal, Luis, Niki, Reyanna, Roxanne, Rozlynn, Stephen, Teja, Zenia for reading Love Made of Heart and asking thoughtful questions. YOU all are love made of heart!


Because of Martha Alderson’s plot coaching, my novel Love Made of Heart was transformed into a page-turner. The story grabbed Stacey Glick‘s attention, then Kensington Publishing’s John Scognamiglio‘s [ Thank you to Stacey and all the folks at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management!  Thank you to John and all the folks at and associated with Kensington Publishing NY ].  Fast forward… Love Made of Heart is:

  • used as required reading in colleges and universities
  • available in libraries
  • archived at the San Francisco History Center
  • attracting a steady flow of readers/fans
  • being my passport to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.
  • linking my mission statement to Glenn Close’s BringChange2Mind and NAMI‘s.  I use Love Made of Heart to inspire other adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families.

None of this would have happened if Martha had not taught me how to plot the front-story.

Thank you, Everyone (starting with first Critique Group members Cat, Theresa Stephenson, Evelyn Miche, Olga Malyj . . .) who have played a role in sending Love Made of Heart into the world. You all have my deepest gratitude.

Martha’s new book The Plot Whisperer is inspiring me to write another novel.


Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”





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