8 Questions with Ed Lin

Ed Lin is the author of Taipei-based mystery series: Ghost Month, Incensed, and 99 Ways to Die. https://www.edlinforpresident.com/


Which talent would you most like to have?

Every talent has its downside, right? If I wanted ESP, I’d know what people really think of me. If I danced well, then no one would take my books seriously. I guess I’d say I’d want to be able to fix old Mac laptops well. I’m not good at it now, but because I prefer to write on them (nothing feels better than the keyboard that came with the Powerbook G4 aluminum models, except for the Extended Keyboard II), I’m often my top techie, and also my worst techie.


What is your most treasured possession?

I have many physical goods, and some are worth quite a bit, but at this second I’m thinking about the glow-in-the-dark solar-system mobile that was once a prize in Quisp cereal. Oh, you couldn’t pull one from the box–you had to send in three boxtops in order to get it. I had it as a child, but it was lost when my parents chucked my stuff while I was in college. I only recently got it “back” when it popped up on eBay for a fairly reasonable price. Now I need to get my Lucky Charms robot bank “back.”


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My wife Cindy Cheung is an actress (a rather formidable one) and many of our friends act. One of the most fun things in the world is going to a party on opening night. Eating really good (or really bad) food, catching up with people, gossiping, and then leaving before staying too long. Considering that, I guess I won’t be perfectly happy until the coronavirus pandemic is over and theaters reopen!


What is your motto?

Do what thou wilt. Yes, it’s from that wicked man Aleister Crowley, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be applied universally. It’s quite misunderstood, not surprising, considering its provenance. It doesn’t mean, “Do whatever you want.” It means, “Do what you were meant to do, and endure everything in order do it completely.” If you don’t know what you were meant to do, then find it. Start now. It didn’t quite work for Crowley. He died in poverty and supposedly his last words were, “Sometimes I hate myself.” Oh my, look at the next question.


How would you like to die?

Do I have to? I was at an event once where we were required to provide a five-word bio. I gave them, “Ed Lin can never die.” Chinese culture calls for aspiring for wufu (五福), the five blessings, one of which is a peaceful death in old age. Maybe that was something to reach for during the days of endless battles and war. It’s not quite for me. I’d rather go out big, bounce off a trampoline and impale the leader of the invading alien force with a sharpened metal pike. Maybe I’d go out feeling the acidic blood running over my hands and the calm that comes from knowing that I saved the world–at least until the next American election.


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

I’d want to come back as a loud online video ad that you can’t close, skip, pause, or mute.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Forgiveness is so useless! If someone offended you, especially on purpose, why hang out with them again? Well, maybe if there were great sums of money involved. Then you could fake forgiveness to hang out with this person again. Compensated forgiveness is also known as having a dayjob.


What is your current state of mind?

So busy and productive, it’s practically our 51st state!