Saturday, April 27, 2024


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of their books’ releases. This issue’s featured authors include Jen Soriano.

What is your most recent book?


NERVOUS: Essays on Heritage and Healing


Who published and when was it released? 


Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins and the oldest press dedicated to publishing Black and African American stories. They recently expanded to publishing IPOC stories as well.



What has been the response/what has surprised you most about the response?


Before the book came out, I decided I should become a shut in and never leave my house after publication day. Kidding, sort of. I was highly anxious about how much shame and vulnerability I would feel once it was published and I had to actually face people and talk about it. I’ve been most surprised by the fact that readers don’t want to ask me probing questions or put my life on blast any more than it already is in the book. They want to talk about their own stories of generational trauma. I’ve legit cried many times when receiving these responses, because this was one of my greatest hopes in writing the book—that it might inspire others to share their stories about the pain, the grief, and the strength and love they carry in their bodies as well. 



Tell me something not obvious or known about the book. 


Exactly 25 people read my manuscript in its entirety before NERVOUS got published—that includes alpha and beta readers, my agent, and blurbers. This doesn’t even count all the people who co-remembered with me, shared their stories with me, helped wipe my tears after ugly cries, and did co-writing sessions with me. It took a city to help create this book and this kind of collaboration is something I am so grateful for, and is my favorite part about the writing process. Also, I queried more than 65 agents before landing one. I never heard back from more than 50 of those agents. That’s all to say, if you’re looking for an agent, keep going, and hit me up because I’m down to share my lessons learned when (and if) I have the bandwidth. That goes for publishing lessons learned as well.


What are you working on right now? 


I’m working on letting my writing grow wild. I’ve been writing about whatever comes to mind with no end product in mind. I started toying around with short stories and the beginnings of a novel. Last month I wrote about cars. Last night I wrote about how much work it takes to deprogram male privilege as a parent of a cis boy. This interview is making me want to write about halo halo—with leche flan and macapuno balls and halayang ube and ripe jackfruit, and how much my dad loved it, of course.




Jen Soriano (she~they) is a Filipinx writer and musician who has long worked at the intersection of grassroots organizing, narrative strategy, and art-driven social change. Jen is the author of Nervous: Essays on Heritage and Healing, which was recognized by TIME, GLAMOUR, The Atlantic, Positively Filipino, This Filipino American Life, and other outlets as a notable book of 2023. Jen is also co-editor of Closer to Liberation: A Pina/xy Activist Anthology with Amanda Solomon Amorao and DJ Kuttin Kandi. Originally from a landlocked part of the Chicago area, Jen now lives with her family in Seattle, near the Duwamish River and the Salish Sea.


1 comment:

  1. Rachielle ShefflerJune 2, 2024 at 9:31 PM

    Love the intersection of science and memoir!