MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the “Women To Watch” spotlight this week, Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani salutes beloved novelist Amy Tan.

Amy Tan is a New York Times bestselling author. Fourteen books and counting, and her novel “The Joy Luck Club,” was a top grossing feature film.

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It’s about the discovery of her mother’s secret family.

Amy is revered for her exploration of mother-daughter relationships. She added “grandmother” to that list with “The Valley of Amazement,” her latest book inspired by yet another family secret—the finding of a photo with other women lead her to the shocking truth.

“It turned out they were courtesans,” said Ms. Tan. “And they all had the same clothes on and I asked myself, how can that be?”

Reality led to more research and the implosion of family myths.

“Courtesans in China, Shanghai, during the early 20th century were obviously in the sex trade but sex was a negotiable commodity,” Tan said. “They had a lot of power in a sense because they had a choice.”

“The Valley of Amazement” is a beautiful title for a book and an apt description of Amy Tan’s life.

Watch Trend Tracker Tara Gilani’s interview with Amy Tan

Gilani asked Tan to share her best advice with all women which were the same words as her mother…women must work.

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“My mother said, ‘You have to have your own job so if you marry and if you want to leave, you can leave at any time,” said Tan.

For the record, Tan’s been productive her whole life and she’s been with her husband for more than four decades.

“We’ve been together 44 years and it’s with that notion that I could leave at any time but didn’t have to,” said Tan.

When she’s not writing, Amy is rocking and rolling in a band called the “Rock Bottom Remainders,” along with fellow authors, Dave Barry and Stephen King.

Amy has style; her phone case is by friend & designer, Vivienne Tam.

Also, the Trend Tracker took note of her shoes—which she loved.

“They are Sidewalk. Spelled C-Y-D-W-O-Q and they are designed by an architect and they’re handmade and they are the most comfortable shoes that are not Crocs!”

For more on Amy Tan, visit her online at


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