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Victoria Namkung


1. Tell us about your new book, “The Things We Tell Ourselves."
My novel follows 22-year-old aspiring journalist Georgina Park, who enters into an affair with Simon Grant, an older, married foreign correspondent.
Many years after that relationship ends, some compromising photos from Georgina’s past come back to haunt her. It appears Simon is to blame, and she must use her investigative reporting skills to save herself—and revisit the affair that started it all. It’s part romance, part psychological thriller. I would describe it as a steamy beach read with substance.

2. Where did you get your inspiration to write it?
I don’t like predictable stories so I wrote the kind of book that I wanted to read—one that is sexy, funny, scary, and keeps you guessing until the very end. I also wanted to portray an untraditional love story that isn’t necessary right or wrong, but lives somewhere in the middle. Some of today’s hot-button issues, such as privacy, mental health, and revenge porn also inspired me.

3. Words of advice for anyone wanting to write a book.
You have to write. It sounds so simple, but I meet people all of the time who talk about writing books, yet they have never actually typed one page. Start with a paragraph, then a page, then a chapter, and keep going. If you want to be accountable, join a writer’s group or take a class at a local college. Personally, I have to write when inspiration strikes, so I may do 50 pages in one sitting or I may stare at the same page for hours. There is no magic formula for finishing a book—I wish there was. You also have to have a thick skin and be open to criticism and editing.

4. How long did it take you to write?
I wrote the book over a nine-month period and did two more drafts over three months. The publication process took another year, so from start to finish it’s been about two years.

5. If you had to begin a different career, what would you do?
Cocktail waitress at the Tahiti Nui in Hanalei Bay, Kauai.

6. What can’t you live without?
Bar Method, Voluspa candles, eos lip balm, 30 Rock and Seinfeld reruns, headphones, Karen Walker sunglasses, my iPhone, Spotify, good books, family, friends, and my husband.

7. What’s next on your “to do” list?
I should be working on a second novel, but I don’t have an idea yet. I’m hoping inspiration strikes soon.

8. Biggest regret?
Not saying exactly what I was thinking throughout most of my twenties. I was so afraid of hurting people’s feelings that I often sacrificed my own.

9. Cause that you’re most interested/involved in?
I have two: United Nations’ World Food Programme, which absorbed my family’s non-profit, Kids of Kilimanjaro, and is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger and I’m a stem cell donor and advocate for Be The Match.

10. Your dream day in Orange County?
Breakfast at Ruby’s Diner in Laguna Beach, followed by a long beach walk at Crystal Cove, and later, a swim and lunch at the Coliseum Pool at Pelican Hill. Then it would be the patio at Muldoon’s for late afternoon drinks with friends, and after a little rest, I’d hit Memphis for dinner and then do drinks at Habana or Kitsch Bar.

11. What do you do to relax?
It sounds so seventies, but we bought a hot tub two years ago and it was a game changer. I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) while I was writing my book and it’s so relaxing that you sometimes feel like you’re going to float away. I also love massages with Zdenka at Equinox Century City.

12. What was the best day of your life?
Any day where I’m sore from laughing too much.

13. What’s your most prized possession?
Fifteen years ago I was tipsy and bought a small Jeff Koons balloon dog that is now worth more than my car. I don’t even get to enjoy it because it’s locked away.  

14. Favorite vacation spot?

15. If you had to live somewhere else, where would you like to move?
Tuscany will do.

16. Favorite books?
"Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn, "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay, "The Kiss" by Kathryn Harrison, "Love Me Anyway" by Tiffany Hawk, "The Humans" by Matt Haig, "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed, "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer, "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann, "The First Bad Man" by Miranda July, and Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale." I also love and read everything by David Sedaris, A.M. Homes, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ruth Reichl, and Anthony Bourdain.

17. Favorite restaurants in Orange County?
Zinc Café in Corona del Mar for breakfast, Zov’s Bistro for healthy lunches, A Restaurant for corn bread and steaks with a Rat Pack vibe, Andrea at Pelican Hill for  romantic three-hour dinners, Pizzeria Mozza (get the butterscotch budino) after the beach, The Ritz for Christmas Eve, and the original Wahoo’s in Costa Mesa is a sentimental favorite. I also find myself thinking of the meatballs from Mare in Laguna way too often.

18. Biggest accomplishment?
Donating stem cells to an unrelated recipient who was battling leukemia. I’m pleased to say that he not only survived, but he and his wife went on to have two children, one of whom is named Victoria. Nothing I do in my career will ever top that.

19. What’s your biggest fear?
I would not do well if I came across an anaconda.

20. Secret most people don’t know about you?
I have never had a cup of coffee in my entire life and there’s no real explanation as to why.


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