Ha Phuong Chu Tran’s novel, Finding Julia, was the basis of a major motion picture, also titled Finding Julia. Ha Phuong, or “HP” to her many friends and fans, is a popular actress and singing superstar in her native Vietnam. She now lives in New York but continues to perform globally.
The premise of the book: In Manhattan, Eurasian acting student Julia Chamonix (played by actress and singer Ha Phuong) is unable to enjoy the privileged life she shares with her doting father (Andrew McCarthy). Haunted by the tragic early death of her mother, a former star actress and singer in Vietnam, and likewise haunted by a secret desire she has to hide from the world, Julia struggles in her acting studies under renowned coach Igor (Richard Chamberlain). However, her ambitions to emulate her mother’s success are thwarted by her severe difficulties with the English language. Her only confidante is her wise Vietnamese grandmother (Kieu Chinh), but even with her she limits what she confides.
Meanwhile she begins to experience recurrent nightmares in which she relives the car accident that killed her mother. Caught between two very different cultures, East and West, Julia questions if she will ever fit in anywhere. The surprising conclusion to the heart-pounding drama makes it not only an unforgettable story, but also, on the deepest subconscious levels, speaks to the plight of millions of men, women, young adults and teens who are caught between cultures, who likewise feel “different,” and who are struggling to find a place in the world.