To highlight the emotional human connection that binds us all. That’s my goal when writing. I write stories which speak of real life, both contemporary and historical, and I write stories that cross-cultures simply because I’ve lived in Southeast Asia (Vietnam & Malaysia) for most of the last twenty years.
I love Asia, Asian food, Asian culture, and Asian living. I live in Penang – a beautiful island – which has been my muse the last few years – and a productive few years it has been. I’ve written nine original full-length plays or musicals which I’ve had the privilege of directing and bringing to the stage. In December 2012, I published my first novel, Beauty Rising, which has been beautifully received. It comes right out of my passion and experiences in Vietnam. My latest novel, just recently published in October, is The Recluse Storyteller, which I’ll highlight a little below. But before I do that, I wanted to mention that my third novel is already finished and will see the light of day in the middle of 2014. I’m very excited about it. It’s completely set in Vietnam and has the title The Reach of the Banyan Tree.
Now a little about The Recluse Storyteller. You can read the synopsis on-line so I don’t want to rehash that. I thought I would list ten interesting items about this book, which I hope will peak your interest.
1. It all started for me with an image of a woman in a second story apartment looking out onto the street and seeing a man in a red hat. That’s it. That single image inspired a whole novel.
2. Red Hat is not exactly a likeable character. My mother doesn’t care for him. But he does get to drive a van into a bank’s picture window. It’s pretty cool.
3. The recluse storyteller’s name is Margaret. She is socially awkward, but quite intelligent and a real inspiring storyteller.
4. The book starts out with Margaret telling four different stories to herself inspired by her neighbors, whom she watches.
5. The plot doesn’t stay there. The stories move closer to real-life and start affecting the neighbors in unexpected ways. It was really fun creating this.
6. I’ll admit, all the stories and characters can be a little confusing at first. But please stick it out. It will be worth it!
7. At one point I’m telling the story of Margaret telling a story of a Vietnamese man telling a story. Whew!
8. One story is set in Vietnam. One story is set in the Midwest USA in 1880s.
9. The third story is about the aforementioned Red Hat and a small nuclear device. The last story is about a blinding light which just gets more intense as the novel moves along. Yes, it inspired the cover.
10. I loved how all the stories Margaret tells come back around to each other in a unique and meaningful way.
Please check it out. I hope you like it. And please drop me a line somewhere. I’d love to dialogue with you.