I met Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito through the Horror Writers Association during the pandemic. The timeline is hazy in my mind, but her wonderful, compassionate, beautifully described horror stories still haunt my imagination.
When I asked her to write something for Death’s Garden Revisited, Frances responded with an essay about uncovering the unmarked graves of the Chinese and Chinese American pioneers who helped to build Portland.
Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito is a Chinese American writer based in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in Nailed Magazine, Red Penguin’s Collections, Buckman Journal, Flame Tree Press’s Asian Ghost Stories, Strangehouse’s Chromophobia, and anthologies through Moms Who Write and Not a Pipe Publishing. She can be found at
What’s your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?
Walk through the various plots and look for clusters of families. It’s nice to think of families and friends being able to rest together. I also enjoy looking for unusual structures or plants/trees, especially for historic cemeteries.
Tell me about your favorite cemetery.
My favorite is Lone Fir. There’s so much history.
Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?
Shirley Jackson’s gravesite.
What would your epitaph be?
Remember me by the words I left behind and the memories of how we took care of each other.
Clusters of families resting together, I like that. Good interview!