James Lande invites readers to Goodreads Ask the Author

We are pleased to announce our participation in the Goodreads Ask the Author forum, a place where “readers can ask questions and receive answers from their favorite authors.” We have for some time been following several writers at Ask the Author, in particular Lisa See, so when dunned recently by email from Goodreads to join up we were already familiar with the feature and had only to activate it in our Goodreads profile.

We welcome questions regarding Yang Shen Book I, progress on Book II, historical fiction in general, 1860s China, posts on the Old China Books blog, and related topics. To set things in motion we, as requested, have posted answers to two standard questions:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
What are you currently working on?

Even we were a little surprised when we read the answer to the second question – we would not have thought that we know all that much about what we’re doing in the latest chapter – it has no narrator and is told in the thoughts of four characters.

Some things that Norman McLean wrote in his acknowledgments for A River Runs Through It, which we are rereading  now, come to mind. When one doesn’t start out to be an author, he writes, until he has reached his biblical allotment of three score years and ten he needs more than his own power. We would add that so does any fool who continues writing past that age. And then remarking on the literary handicaps of the book, he said that his stories turned out to be Western stories and as one publisher said when returning them “the stories have trees in them.” Similarly, but from a nearly opposite pole, our tales have turned out to be Eastern tales, and “the tales have Chinese in them.”

We’re pleased to note that Isham Cook, the author of Lust and Philosophy, which we were privileged to review back in September of 2013, is now addressing his considerable insight to a reading of Yang Shen, and we very much look forward to hearing from him how he enjoys the book.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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