Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Author Interview: Paula Margulies, author of Favorite Daughter

Favorite Daughter, Part One 
By Paula Margulies
ISBN 13: 978-0-9913545-2-8
ISBN 10: 0991354524
One People Press: July 21, 2014

Q & A with Paula Margulies

1) Where and when do you write? In my home office mostly, although I try to sneak away to artist residencies whenever my teaching and client work schedule will allow. I usually write on Sundays, but that all depends on how much life intrudes (and it does that often, believe me!).

2) Why did you write your book? I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Pocahontas, and since so much of her history has been told to us by English explorers like John Smith, I decided that retelling her story, from her perspective, might make for an interesting read.

3) There have been many books written about Pocahontas. How is this book different? There are a number
of differing versions of the history of that time, and much of what we know about Pocahontas comes from the writing of John Smith and the other colonists, who reported on what they found in the new land when they returned to England. Favorite Daughter, Part One is based on my research on works about her by Native Americans, many of whom tell a darker tale than the English history. Also, there aren’t many fictional works about that time from a Native American perspective, and the majority of those that do exist are written for young adults. Favorite Daughter, Part One is written for adults and focuses on Pocahontas’s coming of age into womanhood and becoming a wife and mother, in addition to her work as a representative of her tribe and, eventually, as a celebrity in England (that part of her story will be covered in Part Two).

4) Are you of Native American heritage? No, both of my parents are of Italian descent. But my father, Douglas Roccaforte, loved Native American history and was a collector of American Indian artifacts, so I grew up with a deep appreciation of Native American culture and history.

5) Whose work inspires you? So many authors inspire me that it’s hard to choose! I’ve always been a huge fan of the Southern gothic – William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor are my all-time favorite writers. As a graduate student in English Literature, I studied Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Bellow, Doctorow, Didion, Heller, and Pynchon. Recent authors whose stories have haunted me, stunned me, or made me weep: Sherman Alexie, Ha Jin, Vikram Seth, David Mitchell, Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Jane Smiley, Jane Hamilton, Sena Jeter Naslund, Anna Quindlen, and Elizabeth Berg.

6) What do you like to do in your spare time? When I’m not working on my publicity business or teaching classes, I enjoy meditation, reading, writing, and experimenting with artisan bread recipes. In the summer, I try to go to as many local Native American pow wows as I can (there are quite a few here in the San Diego area), and I’ve been known to enjoy an Indian taco (or two) on occasion.

7) What are the words you live by? Less is more (except when we’re talking about Indian tacos). ☺

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Blast: The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

Author Alison Atlee's The Typewriter Girl is now an audio­book, nar­rated by Audie win­ner Ros­alyn Lan­dor, and in celebration she'll be touring the blogosphere from August 4-29 with HF Virtual Book Tours!

02_The Typewriter Girl

Audible Audio Book Edition
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2014
Listening Length: 12 hours and 39 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

A Pub­lish­ers Weekly Best Books of the Year pick: The Type­writer Girl is a “spec­tac­u­lar debut, set in a per­fectly real­ized Vic­to­rian England.”
When Bet­sey Dob­son dis­em­barks from the Lon­don train in the sea­side resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After an attempt to forge a let­ter of ref­er­ence she knew would be denied her, Bet­sey has been fired from the typ­ing pool of her pre­vi­ous employer. Her vig­or­ous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her char­ac­ter per­ma­nently besmirched.
Now, with­out money or a ref­er­ence for a new job, the future looks even bleaker than the deba­cle she left behind her.
But her life is about to change … because a young Welsh­man on the rail­road quay, wait­ing for another woman, is the one finally will­ing to believe in her.
Mr. Jones is inept in mat­ters of love, but a genius at things mechan­i­cal. In Idensea, he has con­structed a glit­ter­ing pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Bet­sey, he rec­og­nizes the ideal tour man­ager for the Idensea Pier & Plea­sure Build­ing Company.
After a life­time of guard­ing her secrets and break­ing the rules, Bet­sey becomes a force to be reck­oned with. Together, she and Mr. Jones must find a way for her to suc­ceed in a soci­ety that would reject her, and fig­ure the price of sur­ren­der­ing to the tides of love.

Praise for The Typewriter Girl

“Atlee’s out¬standing debut unflinchingly explores … the unforgiving man’s world of Victorian England.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

“Easily one of the most romantic books I’ll read all year … John and Betsey are compelling and worth rooting for.” –DEAR AUTHOR (a Recommended Read)

“Sweeps readers to a satisfying conclusion.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

Buy the AudioBook

Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the Author

03_Alison AtleeAlison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky.

For more information please visit Alison Atlee's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Mina's Bookshelf
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 5
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews (Print)
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, August 7
Book Blast at Mari Reads
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, August 8
Book Blast at Book Blast Central

Saturday, August 9
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, August 10
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, August 11
Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, August 13
Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book)
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, August 14
Review at A Bookish Affair (Print)
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, August 15
Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book)
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Saturday, August 16
Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Sunday, August 17
Interview at Closed the Cover

Monday, August 18
Review at The Maiden's Court (Audio Book)

Tuesday, August 19
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Always with a Book

Wednesday, August 20
Book Blast at Literary, Etc.

Thursday, August 21
Review at Books in the Burbs (Print)
Book Blast at Bibliotica

Friday, August 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)

Saturday, August 23
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews

Sunday, August 24
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, August 28
Review at Luxury Reading (Print)
Review at The True Book Addict (Audio Book)
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print)

Friday, August 29
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway

One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
A vintage style postcard "from" Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
A "dream wildly" ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms
To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blast: The Graham Saga by Anna Belfrage

Join Anna Belfrage as her beloved time-slip series, The Graham Saga, is featured around the blogosphere from July 28-August 15 with HF Virtual Book Tours and enter to win your own set of Books 1-6!

About The Graham Saga

The Graham Saga Series

This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met - not when she was born three hundred years after him.

It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham.

In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World - and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex' opinion.

Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go.

Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side.

At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day?

Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

About the Author

Anna Belfrage
Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions.
 As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there.

For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna's website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Broken Teepee
Kincavel Korner
bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Tuesday, July 29
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, July 30
A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Thursday, July 31
Book Drunkard

Friday, August 1
The Lit Bitch

Saturday, August 2
Book Nerd

Sunday, August 3
Literary Chanteuse
Just One More Chapter

Monday, August 4
A Bookish Girl
Historical Tapestry
To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, August 5
CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, August 6
The True Book Addict

Thursday, August 7
Impressions in Ink

Friday, August 8
A Bookish Affair
The Mad Reviewer

Saturday, August 9
Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, August 11
Gobs and Gobs of Books

Tuesday, August 12
Pages of Comfort

Wednesday, August 13
History Undressed

Thursday, August 14
Passages to the Past

Friday, August 15
Mina's Bookshelf


To win a set of Anna Belfrage's Graham Saga (Books 1-6) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Excerpt: Honor and Innocence by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier


Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, a historical romance novel by Glen Hierlmeier, was released March 2014. This book takes the reader through the devastation left by World War II across the European and Asian continents following its main character Hank Fischer, who was drafted to the American Army in 1945 shortly after his high school graduation.

During his service, Hank befriends a German prisoner-of-war, Max, who tells Hank of his twin sister, Roberta, also in captivity. An unlikely romance buds between her and Hank, leaving Hank conflicted between his allegiance to the American Army and his love for Roberta. Hank decides to break out Max and Roberta, and together they make a desperate flight through war-torn Germany where they witness first-hand the destruction post-war Europe has endured. Leaving Max behind in Switzerland, they make their way to the port city of Trieste, where they board a ship and depart to the seas, dealing with pirates, facing adversity, making new friends, and desperately seeking a safe refuge in a place where their love can flourish.

Follow Hank and Roberta on their intense and captivating journey from country to country as they seek refuge. Read as they make their way through bombed-out cities, giving a rare glimpse into the tragic consequences of war, as they remain together bound by love.

About the Author:

Glen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then earned a Masters of Business Administration at The University of Wisconsin at Madison. He served in the US Air Force on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory space exploration program and on the design phase of the development of the F-15 fighter aircraft. After leaving the Air Force, Glen returned to Wisconsin and became Vice President of the largest bank in his home state, First Wisconsin National Bank. In 1979, he moved on to become President and CEO of several real estate development and management companies. Glen retired in 2009 to devote full time to his grandchildren and his writing. Glen is the author of Honor and Innocence, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Glen-Hierlmeier/664924423550587
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlenHierlmeier
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6035175.Glen_Thomas_Hierlmeier
Website: http://glenthomasbooks.net/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Honor-Innocence-Against-Tides-War/dp/1495207617


There was little rest for Hank again that night. His heart and his mind were being pulled in different directions. He had made commitments to Max and Oliver, then to Captain Stein, and now to Roberta. He had always been trusted by everyone, a pillar of integrity. Now, he would surely destroy that reputation. As he tossed and turned, and scolded himself for getting himself into such a quandary, his thoughts kept going back to Roberta, warm thoughts full of wonder and excitement. But, as the night progressed, doubts began to creep into his head.

Hank couldn’t deny how he felt; he felt fantastic, incredible. He had met the girl of his dreams---love at first sight. He couldn’t wait to see her again. She was everything he had always imagined she would be, everything he hoped for in a woman. Yet, he began to wonder, is this real? Could it be possible for two people to be in love when they’ve only known each other for two days? Was he being foolish? Had the events of the past five months and his absence from the comforts of home made him vulnerable in a dangerous way? A frightful pang of fear shot through his gut as he thought: Is she just using me? Does she see me as her way out of confinement? Am I being fooled by her? Maybe she doesn’t care about me at all; she only needs me to get what she really wants. Why should I trust her? I don’t really know her. Oh, what a fool I must be to fall for the first beautiful woman who shows an interest in me, who caresses me. Am I that vulnerable? Am I that foolish?

Thoughts of Roberta dazzled and confused him; nothing in his young life had ever left him so unsure of himself. No amount of concentration overcame the cascade of emotions flooding his chest. He tossed and turned long into the night, soaked his pillow through with his sweat, though he wasn’t warm, and felt his pulse exploding his temples; alternating between visions of pure, romantic love and sheer foolishness. The pull on his heart skidded back and forth like a tug of war. That is…until he recalled his mother’s words, spoken on his eighteenth birthday, just after a high school sweetheart informed him that another man had won her heart.

Hank, you are such a precious son. I adore you. I am sad when you are sad, but you must know this pain you feel will pass. Sometimes love is fleeting, it may disappear as quickly as it appears. You have your whole life ahead of you. I know you will meet the woman who will love you completely, and for your lifetime. I have no doubt. Love between a man and a woman cannot be easily defined; love comes in many forms and is never the same for everyone. Almost always love charges into your life like a cosmic experience, even magical, it is so difficult to predict or understand. Sometimes that special feeling in your heart really is true love---sometimes not. When love comes suddenly, we can be swept off our feet. It’s a dazzling experience that confuses us. That’s often called love at first sight, but it’s never really love at first sight. If it happens to you, don’t take it for granted, it’s very special and you won’t want to lose it. It’s one of the best feelings you will ever have, and I believe the best beginning for true love.

Don’t be deceived, true love has to be built; it takes a lot of hard work and may take a very long time. When two people stop working on their love, it fades, no matter if it’s the first month, the first year, the tenth or the twenty-fifth. There will always be difficulties and complications, that’s how life is, not just marriage. Use those difficulties to work on making your marriage stronger. Don’t expect not to have challenges, welcome them and be ready to take them on together. Everything really worthwhile in your life will require hard work. Your marriage is the one very most worthwhile jewel you will ever have.

Laying silently in the darkness, eyes wide open, thinking warm thoughts of his mother, a smile came across his face. Of course, he thought, mother is right. I have to work on it. Tomorrow I’ll have to find out if Roberta truly feels the same way about me. Sleep finally came.

He should have been exhausted the next morning, with little sleep and tormented the whole night through with all his mixed emotions, but his adrenalin had taken over. Hank needed to get things resolved, and though he wasn’t sure how to do that, he needed to attack his demons head on. By the time he met with Oliver and Max in the evening he wanted to have his life back on track. Since he was drafted there had not been a dull day in Hank’s life. He never knew quite what to expect, and that day would be no different. It would begin with his report to Captain Stein.

Hank was surprised to see the Captain waiting for him. Stein motioned Hank to his office as soon as Hank appeared in the doorway. Hank’s curiosity was aroused.

“Hank, we have to release everyone except the SS Officers. The staff and family are being released as soon as possible. We’ll have 30 days to hold the officers and unless we can get enough evidence they participated in war crimes we’ll have to release them too! Something about the Geneva Convention says we can’t hold them unless we have sufficient evidence to take them to trial. It’s foolish as far as I’m concerned. What kind of fair trial did the millions of dead Jews get?”

Hank was stunned again. His first emotion was that he was losing Roberta, but his first thought was that might be best. He had to set his feelings aside and listen to Stein without revealing his feelings.

“I’m sorry, sir. I know how important this is to you. It really would be a shame if guilty men went free.”

“Ya, well, there’s nothing we can do about it but work our butts off to get the evidence we need to hold the bastards. That’s our job, and by God, we’re going to make sure every last one of them hangs for what they’ve done. Did you get anything out of the girl?”

“I thought I was really close…I mean…I think she was beginning to trust me. I needed more time; maybe a few more days, but I’m not sure she knew anything.”

“Come on, Corporal, of course she knows things. I’ll bet she knows plenty. We’re losing a good opportunity by letting them all go. It makes our job harder.”

“What will we do now?”

“We’ll get busy interrogating the officers. The British have been at it for weeks. They have files on all of them. The Russians are sending men to help too, and we’re getting some young Army lawyers by next week. Today, you and I are going out there to go through files. We’ll make a list of the ones that look like they were in charge, in some position of leadership, the higher the better, then we’ll start meeting with them. I want to get the top guys.”

Hank didn’t know what to think. His emotions all melted together in a jumble of confusion. All he could do was follow orders for the moment, until he could sort through all the feelings bombarding him.

Within a few minutes he and Stein were on their way to the compound, where they came upon a blur of activity. Those who were being released were jubilant as groups of them gathered in the streets to celebrate. There was pitched cheering, yet, others pushed against the fence separating them from officers, loved ones and former employers who they would be leaving behind. There was sadness and tears, as well as questions about what may lay ahead for each of them, the uncertainty for those who were released to communities that may not still exist, and for those who remained in custody, facing the possibility of imprisonment or death.

As Stein and Hank walked into the officer’s compound, Hank did his best to keep Stein from seeing him looking among those being released through the fence. In spite of his doubts, his heart told him he was in love and he was growing desperate about losing Roberta so soon, thinking she could be gone forever, and wishing he could know for sure if what they had begun was truly love, or whether he was just a fool. They were moving too quickly for him to see clearly. He couldn’t find her. They were up the steps and into the meeting hall, leaving behind any chance he might see her again. He was numb, unaware of anything going on around him.

“Hank, Hank, come on, get moving. Pay attention!” Stein gave him a nudge toward the stairway leading to a room above, where they spent the rest of the morning poring through files, assessing information that had been gathered by the British, looking for clues to help them decide which officers they would interrogate first. Stacks of files were set aside, awaiting the lawyer’s arrival. Hank couldn’t focus his attention; all he could think about was that he may be losing the one person who was right for him, the one he would commit his life to. Convicting German criminals wasn’t important to him at that moment.

By noon Stein was satisfied they had enough files to get started. They were loaded in the back of the truck and about to leave.

“Captain Stein, I’d like to see if I can find Roberta and make an appeal to her to give us the information you believe she has. Once she is gone, it will be lost. I think it’s worth a try.”

“If you think so, Hank. There can’t be any harm in trying. In fact, I like your attitude. Go ahead, get what you can, and jump on another truck heading back later. I’ll see you in the morning. Good luck.”

Hank felt relieved that Stein went along with the idea, but he felt a tinge of guilt for taking advantage of Stein’s trust in him.

Trucks loaded with released detainees were rolling out the gate as Hank walked over to the camp. He ran alongside each truck calling Roberta’s name but got no response. Others were still loading near a barracks building to the rear. He ran into the building asking each person he came to about Roberta until an older woman stopped him.

“Yes. Roberta was here. But she has gone.”

Hank’s world came to a sudden stop. He just stood there as people pushed past him toward the trucks. He lost her. She was gone. Maybe she didn’t love him after all. Maybe she just didn’t need him anymore. He really didn’t know what to think. He only knew this was the worst day of his life.

As he walked back toward the gate past the office where he had met with Roberta, the guard who had brought Roberta to the meetings called out to him.

“Corporal! Corporal Fischer! Come quickly. There is someone who wants to see you.”

Hank wouldn’t allow himself to believe it could be her. He hurried into the building and found the front office area empty, but the door to the room in back was ajar. He slowly opened the door and there sat Roberta. She leaped from her chair and into his arms with a scream of delight.

“Oh, Hank, Hank! I knew you would come for me. I knew it in my heart!”

“They told me you had left. I thought you were gone!”

“I couldn’t go. Where would I go without you now that I have found you? I love you, Hank, I love you! I feel like I have loved you since always, and forever.”

Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and her lips found his. Her words washed away any doubt. He had never known such elation. He was in love. It was real. He was sure of it.

“I love you, Roberta. I love you, too!”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blog Tour: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (Character Spotlight + Giveaway)

Character Spotlight: Old Wong

My book, THE GHOST BRIDE, is a historical fantasy set in 1890s colonial Malaya (the old name for Malaysia where I come from) and is about a young Chinese woman who receives a marriage proposal for the son of the wealthiest family in town. The only problem is, he’s dead.

I had a lot of fun writing this book, based as it is on the blurred borderline between spirits and humans. In fact, there's strong Chinese literary tradition of strange tales set in the shadowy, elaborate Chinese ghost world, where nothing is as it seems and beautiful women turn out to be foxes. I enjoyed reading a lot of these stories when I was young, and I also heard many odd stories about ghosts while I was growing up in Malaysia. One of these, in fact, led to the creation of the character Old Wong.

When people ask me who my favourite character in this book is, I have to say that besides the main character Li Lan, my favourite has to be the cook, Old Wong. He's a crotchety old Chinese man who has worked for Li Lan's family since she was a child, and has seen their household fall into penniless straits. I based him on the numerous grouchy old Chinese people in my life who have constantly lectured and loved me. Writing dialogue for Old Wong was surprisingly easy. I just had to listen to the little voice that berates me in my head and translate what it said from Cantonese into English, retaining, of course, the occasional exclamation of "Cheh!" and "Aiya!" for good measure!

Old Wong has a secret in the book that I'll reveal to you (much to his displeasure). He can see dead people. This is also based on a real story told to me by friends. In fact, when I first watched the movie "The Sixth Sense", I let out a yelp of surprise and told my husband that this was exactly what had happened to my sister's friend's husband back in Singapore. I've actually come across two people who claimed to see the dead. I think it is, in some ways, a difficult gift to live with, and in writing Old Wong's character, I made it part of his general taciturnity and reluctance to talk much about himself. Still, because he can see ghosts, he's able to help Li Lan when she gets stranded in the spirit world. I really enjoyed writing about Old Wong - he is an unexpectedly funny character and I hope that readers enjoy him too.

Thank you so much for having me - it's been a pleasure!

[Photo caption: Characters from THE GHOST BRIDE, illustrated by Singaporean comic book artist Sonny Liew who is working on the graphic novel with me]


Author bio:
Yangsze Choo is a fourth generation Chinese from Malaysia. After graduating from Harvard, she worked in various corporate jobs while secretly writing fiction in her spare time. Yangsze eats and reads too much and often does both at her blog http://yschoo.com/


Oprah.com’s Book of the Week, a Carnegie Medal nominee, and Goodreads 2013 Best Fantasy finalist. THE GHOST BRIDE is a historical fantasy.

“One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride…”

Li Lan, a young Chinese woman, lives in 1890s colonial Malaya with her quietly ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition — the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their dead son. After a fateful visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets, before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever