Senior in Action – C.L. Hoang

Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.

Senior in Action – C.L. Hoang

Where did you grow up, and how did you come to live in southern California?

Hoang: Born and raised in South Vietnam during the war, I came to the U.S. in the 1970’s as a foreign exchange student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. After the war ended in 1975, I stayed on, first in the Midwest (Ohio, Pennsylvania), and then moved to California when I went to graduate school at UC Berkeley in the early 1980’s. After graduating, I accepted a job offer in Southern California and have lived here (Orange County, San Diego) most of the time since then. I am an electronic engineer by training, with 11 patents to my name.

Who would you credit with having the greatest influence along your life’s path?

Hoang: My parents inspired me with how they survived through a long dark period in the history of our war-torn country and how they always tried to rise above their own grim circumstances. They also worked tirelessly to instill traditional family values in my siblings and me, as well as compassion for other people, and a desire to do well and become productive members of society.

Is staying active important to you at age 62?

Hoang: Of course! I’m staying active physically (exercising, gardening, traveling) and mentally (reading, writing, watching history and discovery programs on television). I go to the gym three times a week, and also walk and swim. I’m a light eater and drinker, and a non-smoker.

What can you tell NBY readers about the books you’ve written?

Hoang: Even though I’ve made my living as an engineer, I like to write and share about my experience growing up during the Vietnam War as well as my traveling. I have published two books. “Once upon a Mulberry Field” is an award-winning historical novel set in Vietnam at the height of the war. It is based on real-life events and experiences and provides a balanced account from both perspectives: the young American soldiers, and the long-suffering Vietnamese people. My second book is a journal of my 2016 visit to Vietnam after a decades-long absence, titled “Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees: A Travelogue of Vietnam.” It contains over forty pictures as well as a historical and cultural background of places we visited (five cities from the south to the north). Both books are available in print and eBook editions on,, and all online vendors. I always welcome the opportunity to come and have a face-to-face interactive discussion of my experience and my books with any interested group in the community: writers groups, book clubs, libraries, church groups, civic groups such as P.E.O. or Rotary or Lions Clubs, veterans groups, museums, travel groups, etc.

How can people contact you about a possible speaking engagement?

Hoang: I can be contacted via my website where I share bits about my writing and publishing journey, the latest news on my publications, as well as insights into the Vietnamese history and culture. It is:


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