INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
Q: Briefly, what’s the book about?
A: Oracles, fate, love, Chinese philosophy, Western religion, foreign interventions, rebellions . . . and the question that has been phrased and asked throughout the Middle Kingdom’s history--“What is Heaven’s Reason?”
Q: Why did you choose the historical fiction genre?
A: Years ago, curiosity got me wondering about the Chinese who’d come to America.Tracing their roots back to China, I discovered the astounding conditions in their native land: the Christian influenced, Taiping Rebellion. I find that real people and events, when combined with characters that can add a bit more intimacy than a what one might get out of pure historical accounts, makes things . . . if I may be so ostentatious—more real. It sticks inside my head better than if I were reading a history book (or creative nonfiction, for that matter). Facts and fiction are to me, the best of both worlds. Fantastical events, recorded, painted, stroked and brushed with words. Not pure fantasy, but the real thing, enhanced—so it’s easier to grasp—apprehend.
Q: What’s the rest of the series about?
A: Well, it’s a continuation of a character in the first book (but I can’t say which one now). It’s how one person manages to cope with an alien way of life in a young America. It’s the age of the transcontinental railroad, distrust of foreigners, and notorious characters plucked out of the Wild West. And, as with the first book, proverbs find an easy way of fitting in all over the place.
Q: Is the second in the series complete yet?
A: I can’t say it’s finished yet, but I’ve been working on it for over a year. I keep finding more interesting facts. At some point, I’ll have to release some for the follow-up, or third in the series. It’s not written yet, but ideas are brewing. One thing I can say without hesitation, for better or worse, is that they’ll all be written in the same style (I’m unable to do anything else). To wrap the series up, I would say that, “A cloth is not woven from a single thread"—but by following a pattern, using a similar stitch, the tapestry will complete itself.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
A: That was easy. Writing the first chapter served up images, but perhaps the atmosphere surrounding the book came first—and wrote the chapter. I’m reminded of the proverb that says, “The mind shapes and polishes 100 thoughts that cluster around it.” After I finished with the ending, I went back to the beginning (naturally) to sketch what was already there. At that point, I needed serious design help.