Love, fiction and life in the Central Valley with Author Paku Her

By Melissa Hutsell

Paku Her is a self-described hopeless romantic with a lust for tragedy. Her debut novel, “The Reasoning of Luke,” and other works focus on the fictional storylines of young adults who struggle with suicide, cancer, prostitution, and most of all, love. We spoke with Paku to discuss her self-published novel, and life as a writer in the Central Valley.

Question: Why/How did you become a writer?

Answer: I’ve always had a lot of things going on in my head, whether it is a design idea, a theory I had or more strangely, rehearsed dialogues. Yet, I did not always want to become a writer. As a matter of fact, I hated reading and writing as a child. I failed my English placement test twice and was placed in remedial English as a freshman in college. It was then that I actually learned how to write and read properly. I was an avid reader for about two years before I started noticing that the characters in these books were not having the conversations I wanted to read, so I started actively writing my own stories.

Q: How did growing up in the Central Valley influence your work?

A: I was born and raised in Stockton. This city is so culturally diverse that although I am Asian, I never once had to remind myself that I looked different or that I didn’t fit in. This ultimately enhanced my belief that I could be anything I wanted to be and my gender or ethnicity would not hold me back from dreaming or achieving any of it.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I find inspiration from all sorts of places. Whether it is a conversation I just had with someone, a book I read, a song I listened to, an encounter I witnessed or trends on social media. It is usually something that sparks an emotion in me and I have just got to let it out.

Q. How did you begin the process of self-publishing your own novel?

A.I started writing my debut novel, “The Reasoning of Luke,” because of an inspiration I got from listening to a song. I remember having the urge to just translate that song into a story right after listening to it. Before I knew it, I had written several chapters. At the time, publishing this book had not crossed my mind because I had been working on another. However, I knew I wanted feedback, so I sent chapters to my sister. We would end up having very in depth conversations about the characters or scenes as if they were real people. With that said, I just knew I had to share Luke and Lyla’s story with the world. I made the final decision to self-publish through Amazon – I just could not wait to share it with everyone. I took on the task of self-editing my entire book, cover design, and the whole sha-bang. It was definitely a struggle – but it was all worth it.

I cannot wait to share what’s next to come on my writing adventure.

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers in the region?

A. As Alfredo Cabrera, award winning fashion designer and illustrator, once said, “For what is creativity if it isn’t to take something existing in one’s head and give it relevance in the real world?” Give your work relevance because no one else will.

For more information about Paku and her work, visit: PakuHer.com

PakuHer’s debut novel, “The Reasoning of Luke,” is available at amazon.com in eBook or paperback form. The sequel, “The Understanding of Lyla,” will be released soon.

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