Jun navigates her faith, heritage, and family in her memoir Tell Me the Dream Again (Tyndale Momentum, May).

You write about feeling nameless sadness as a child but only later figuring out it was grief. Was that a motivator for writing this book?

The grief was something I carried for so long, and I didn’t have words for it until I started writing. That’s when I began to process it, and realized this is a sadness that’s very connected to my mother’s story. Writing it out and giving this intergenerational trauma a name in my own life has been really powerful.

How does your faith show up in the book?

My faith journey and my journey to embrace my ethnic identity were very intertwined. Earlier in my faith and in Christian communities, I received the message, whether outright or otherwise, that the other parts of me, including my ethnicity, weren’t important, and that since I was a Christian, I could now discard them. But how can I have a truthful relationship with God if I can’t accept all the parts of who I am? Hitting those roadblocks was really hard, but they forced me to examine parts of myself that I wanted to hide.

In the memoir, you describe food as intimately connected to culture. Could you talk about that?

Food is so tied to the way that I experienced love from my family, but especially from my mom. But it was also a site of tension, and when I rejected my Korean heritage at certain points of my life, food bore the brunt of that. In the book I write about seaweed soup, which is a meal Korean mothers make for their kids on their birthdays, and for their daughters after they give birth. Growing up, my mom would always try to feed it to me, and I didn’t know the meaning. Later in life, I found out the significance while flipping through a cookbook, and I just started crying in the middle of the bookshop, thinking about how many times I’d refused it. Food is also what welcomed me back into my Korean identity. Even in the middle of that bookstore, I felt like I was being called to come back and receive the ethnicity I’d been given.

Was there an aspect of the book that was hardest to get right?

One of the biggest challenges was telling stories that involved me and many others as truthfully as possible, with my imperfect memory. Also, in many cases, these stories are still unfolding and the people are still unfolding. It’s impossible to neatly wrap up a narrative, because everything is still in motion.