Laurence Yep was born on June 14th, 1948 in San Francisco California. His was the youngest child of Thomas Gim Yep and Franche Lee Yep. Yep’s mother was born in Ohio and Yep’s father immigrated from China at the age of ten. Laurence grew up in a multicultural neighborhood that was mostly African-American and never felt that he fully fit in to any mold. He attended Bilingual Parochial Jesuit School in San Francisco’s Chinatown and only spoke English. While in school, Yep worked as a bagger at a grocery store his father owned. Even then he loved to write in-between bagging groceries. During high school he started writing for a science fiction magazine and was paid one cent per word. This may have been where his love of writing historical fantasy novels was solidified. He attended Marquette University for two years, then transferred to University of California at Santa Cruz graduating in 1970. At 23 years old he published his first novel, Sweetwater. He then earned a PhD. in English from the University of New York at Buffalo in 1975. By the time he had graduated with his PhD. he had written the highly acclaimed book Dragon Wings. He has taught writing and Asian-American Studies classes at the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
Below is an interview with Laurence Yep: