Biography of Jamie Ford

Author of Novels of the Chinese-American Experience

Jamie Ford, born James Ford (July 9, 1968), is an American author who gained notoriety with his debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." He is ethnically half Chinese, and his first two books focused on the Chinese-American experience and the city of Seattle.

Early Life and Family

Ford grew up in Seattle, Washington. Although he no longer lives in Seattle, the city has played an important role in both Ford's books.

 Ford graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle in 1988 and worked as an art director and as a creative director in advertising.

Ford's great-grandfather immigrated from Kaiping, China in 1865. His name was Min Chung, but he changed it to William Ford when he was working in Tonopah, Nevada. His great grandmother, Loy Lee Ford was the first Chinese woman to own property in Nevada.

Ford's grandfather, George William Ford, changed his name back to George Chung in order to gain more success as an ethnic actor in Hollywood. In Ford's second novel, he explores Asians in Hollywood in the early twentieth century, around the time his grandfather was pursuing acting.

Ford has been married to Leesha Ford since 2008 and has a blended family with nine children. They live in Montana.

Books by Jamie Ford

  • 2009 "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet:" Ford's debut novel is historical fiction that moves between Seattle during World War II and the present day. It is a love story about two 12- year old friends, a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl, that delves into the ethnic tensions of the time and Japanese internment. The story also features the Seattle jazz scene and examines parent-child relationships. The accolades it received include New York Times Bestseller, IndieBound NEXT List Selection,  Borders Original Voices Selection,  Barnes & Noble Book Club Selection, National Bestseller, and #1 Book Club Pick for Fall 2009/Winter 2010 by the American Booksellers Association.
  • 2013 "Songs of Willow Frost:" Ford's second novel is also a work of historical fiction that deals with the Chinese-American experience in Seattle. "Songs of Willow Frost" takes place during the Great Depression and starts with the story of an orphan who sees a Chinese-American actress on screen who he believes is his mother. He runs away to try to track her down. The rest of the novel shifts between his perspective in 1934 and his mother's perspective and story in the 1920s. It is a story of family, hardship and a specific time and place in American history.

    Ford on the Web

    Jamie Ford keeps an active blog where he writes about books and some of his personal adventures such as a family mission trip to Africa, mountain climbing, and his library adventures. He is also active on facebook.

    One interesting note is that he said his first novel has attracted much interest for being made into a Hollywood movie, but because it wouldn't star a white male actor, it is unlikely to get made.