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Author Vanessa Hua, who is also a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, revealed to NPR's host Simon Scott how the idea for her book A River of Stars came to be. This is what she had to say: 

"I was pregnant, and living in Southern California. And when I first heard about these maternity hotels (of the sort her characters Scarlett and Daisy end up in), the news stories were really interesting. The neighbors were baffled: Why were all these pregnant Chinese women coming and going? Why were there diapers piled up in the garbage cans? It sounded like a brothel in reverse. And what really struck me was: Being pregnant is one of those vulnerable times in a woman's life. And what was it like to be so far from friends and family? And what was it about U.S. citizenship that was so important to them?

 

"Why were all these pregnant Chinese women coming and going?" 

The other thing about being pregnant ... was that when you're pregnant like I was with twins, you're hugely pregnant. I think when I went to the gym and went for a swim, people thought they were about to witness a water birth. But given that, people would always say, "Oh, come to the head of the line," you know, "Take this seat," and were very gentle and generous with me. But in the maternity hotel, you have a dozen pregnant women. So who gets the good wishes? Who gets to be queen bee? So it seemed like a situation ripe for drama — but also comedy."

 

If you don't remember the news...

Welcome to Maternity Hotel California. August 19, 2015.  "While birth tourism has become extremely popular in China, no one knows exactly how many Chinese visit the U.S. each year to have a baby. In 2012, according to Chinese state media, there were some 10,000 tourist births from China; more recent estimates have put the number as high as 60,000 a year. Some of the boom is due to a 2012 crackdown by the government in Hong Kong, where an excellent education system, top-notch healthcare and the prospect of political freedom attracted expecting Chinese parents for years."   Read more 

 

 

Federal agents enter an upscale apartment complex, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Irvine, Calif. Shortly after sunrise, federal agents swarmed the complex in the Orange County where authorities say a birth tourism business charged pregnant women $50,000 for lodging, food and transportation. The key draw for travelers is that the United States offers birthright citizenship. Read more  Source: The Orange County Register

 

More about the book...

Vanessa Hua has been calling her book " a pregnant Thelma & Louise" 😄 The reason is that the book is kind of a road story with pregnant women as protagonists.

Scarlett, a factory worker from China, and Daisy, a Taiwanese-American teenager, go on the lam. They're fleeing Perfume Bay, a secret home in Los Angeles where pregnant women from China are sent — by rich husbands, married lovers or prosperous parents — to give birth such that their babies may enjoy "the most precious gift of all": U.S. citizenship. But Scarlett and Daisy have their own suspicions about what might happen to them after they give birth.

This is how Scott Simon describes it and it let you wanting for more, didn't it?

 

 

 

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