For much of her life, Tasha Jun felt pulled between the two worlds of her white American father and her Korean mother. Jun spoke to PW about her debut memoir, Tell Me the Dream Again: Reflections on Family, Ethnicity & the Sacred Work of Belonging (Tyndale, May 9). In the book, she shares her journey toward herself, toward healing, and toward a joyful identity she is proud to share with her three children.

What inspired you to write this book?

I started this book more than 20 years ago in a memoir class in college. I started writing, and the only thing that would come out was a bit of my story in tandem with my mom's story. I couldn't finish it then, I needed to live a lot more. Maya Angelou said, "There's nothing worse than having an untold story inside of you." I felt like there was this story that just needed to come out, and a lot of it was my mom's story and my story together.

How did your Christian faith relate to your exploration of your identity?

It was a progression of things. I had believed this message that many Christians say your identity is in Christ; the other stuff doesn't matter. The fact that you're Korean doesn't matter. Except that all the things I struggled with the most or felt the deepest had to do with being biracial, being Korean, growing up with a mother who had grown up in Korea and loved me through those very Korean cultural ways. For me to actually move further in my Christian faith— to believe that this God that I say I believe in loves me wholly—there was this whole other part of me that needed to emerge.

Can you describe a Korean cultural practice you embrace now that would've felt like a barrier to your younger self?

Celebrating Chuseok, which is kind of a harvest holiday in Korea, is something I didn't grow up doing. It's something I've learned about as an adult and have reached back towards to learn about and to talk with my kids about, to offer that kind of new tradition for them and for me too. We also want to make it a priority to travel to Korea as a family, which is not easy to do. We are just trying to make that trip something that they see as an important part of our understanding of self.

You write about the Korean symbol of the tiger. What does it mean to you today?

When I was younger, my mom said she had this reoccurring dream that she saw this tiger in the night sky—and that tiger turned into me. I always thought, "I'm nothing like a tiger." What I associated with a tiger was that it was loud, it could roar. It was fierce and strong. I felt nothing like that for most of my life. Learning later in life that the tiger is very symbolic in Korean culture, that sometimes people draw a tiger that's the shape of the Korean peninsula, the tiger image felt like a legacy or piece of heritage that my mom was handing me. When I was ready to embrace being biracial, being of both worlds, I could pick it up that symbol and own it in my own way.

What do you hope your readers will gain from your story?

Although it's about my journey with embracing my ethnic identity, I really hope the book will help readers think through their own journeys—embracing their own stories and their histories and their family connections, and heritage.