Skip to content

An Exuberant Adventure: An Interview with Ben Lin, author of My Nine Lives

Lin 1

Ben Lin was born in Shanghai in 1933 and migrated to the States in 1950. A Penn graduate, he was a senior analytical chemist at Merck and a marketing executive at DuPont. Holding a graduate degree in journalism from Temple, he published in newspapers and magazines. Having commercialized America’s first packaged wonton soup, he developed a historic automated production process. He was owner-chef of an award-winning restaurant. As an actor he has amassed some eighty commercials and won accolades for such plays as The Wash and short films as Touch, and voiced Birdnesters of Thailand, an Oscar documentary nominee. Trained as a classical pianist, he soloed with an orchestra.

You can buy My Nine Lives here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was a struggle to come up with the right title. My first choice was “My Nine Lives,” but to my dismay I discovered there were seven published books with the same title. However, in lieu of something more original and appropriate and in light of the fact that I did have exactly nine professions, I decided that My Nine Lives: An Exuberant Adventure would well serve the purpose.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Pure joy—the successful scaling of Mt. Everest.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

The publication of my first magazine article sparked my interest in journalism. After earning a graduate degree, I wrote features for the Courier-Post and published elsewhere, including USA Today. All good writings interest me, be they editorials, essays, reviews, or lyrics from musicals. Surely some of them influenced me.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

If variety is the spice of life, thankfully I was able to indulge in myriad enthralling professions, including several that came about by chance: attending Arthur Miller’s The Crucible inspired me to become an actor, the fortuitous reading of an article about a business tycoon challenged me to be an entrepreneur, as a reviewer of Chinese restaurants I was so fascinated by the business that I became an owner. In addition, I worked as a senior analytical chemist.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Having led a multi-faceted life ranging from science, entrepreneurship, and journalism to the culinary and performing arts, I was motivated to record my salient experiences both as a personal enrichment and legacy. Though handicapped by the lack of a well-kept journal, I was able to rely mostly on my memory to tackle this mammoth project. Its publication naturally fills me with pride and a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. Hopefully, the memoir will also serve to inspire and amuse.

You can buy My Nine Lives here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

atmosphere press

Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.