Family secrets inspired Amy Tan to create stories. This biography explores how Tan's Chinese heritage shaped her writing. The only daughter of immigrant parents, Tan grew up in several California communities where her minister father preached. She and her two brothers endured their mother's often irrational emotions and expectations. Tan had aspired to write since childhood, but her parents wanted her to become a physician. When Tan was a teenager, her older brother then her father developed deadly brain tumors. Tan's grieving mother divulged truths about her past in China, including having borne children whom she had abandoned there. Tan traveled to China with her mother, meeting her siblings and relatives. She envisioned creating a book of stories tied together by Chinese characters within a community. Featuring "talk story," which this biography explains is the Chinese intergenerational sharing of information, Tan's writing appropriated her family's history and emphasized Chinese resiliency to survive. She participated in a writer's workshop and group, resulting in a friend's agent representing Tan's debut book, The Joy Luck Club. This biography presents critical commentary regarding Tan's writing and places her life in context with aspects of Chinese history in Asia and the U.S. Sidebars highlight Chinese culture and Asian-American female writers. The book also contains illustrations, a glossary, a time line, and a bibliography. A title in the "Asian Americans of Achievement" series.