Nancy Yeang is an explorer at heart, and a wanderer in the mind. Both have gotten her into trouble plenty of times, but never enough times. Her first job was at 11 years old, helping her aunt run a donut shop. After volunteering at the library for two years in the children’s department, once she hit the legal working age of 16 she worked for another two years at the same library until she graduated from high school. Her first written works consisted of creating magazines (from hand-sewing the spine together to filling the pages with original stories, games, and art) that she would exchange with her best friend from the third grade until junior year of high school.
After crossing off almost everything on the “potential majors” list, Nancy graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in International Relations and a desire to change the world. She left Southern California to teach English in Japan and Cambodia, with travels to several countries in between. During this time she wrote chapter-length e-mails to a list of over 20 friends in the States as a way to keep in touch.
It was in Cambodia, while she was carrying a two-year-old student with a fever through his village situated next to a garbage dump – walking through a muddy sludge with empty syringes peeking out – that she realized she couldn’t change the world if she couldn’t change the life of one child.
She came back to the States determined to find the one passion where she could make the most impact to the greatest amount of people. She went back to community college to explore where writing could take her.
It must have been fate that she finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho during this time, because once she began her path toward writing, the phrase, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” kept ringing true. From that one creative nonfiction class, she’s garnered several positions that have helped her on her journey, but she feels fortunate to hold a title she can fall in love with every day: writer.