I have been asked to participate My Next Big Thing, on a couple of occasions. The first time I was going to Korea and then again to Spain, anyway, Sarah R. Yoffa, did a good job persuading me that I could do it on my return from my holiday. Better still, after my request for five more authors to participate did not materialise, she assured me that I could be a ‘cul de sac’, not a dead end. So thanks to Sarah R. Yoffa, also known as Webbiegrrl and Marjorie F. Baldwin, I’m publishing an interview of myself about the book I have just released, which I hope will be the Next Big Thing . I even have a T-shirt to prove it
Here we go
What is the title of your book?
Land of Hope. It’s only been published over a month ago and has been well received.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The best part of the story came from my work as a professional interpreter, which has kept me busy for a number of years until over a year ago when the current British Government decided to mess it up with funding cuts and outsourcing to exploitive agencies. Part of the story came from my vivid imagination, as one of my reviewers had commented
What genre does your book fall under?
I did not set out to write in a particular genre, except my unrelenting desire to tell a story of our times. I was a little surprised but delighted when one of my first reviewers labelled it as a powerful, potent ‘suspense thriller’, which happens to be my favourite genre of reading in recent years. So I guess my genre of writing can be classified as contemporary ‘crime fiction’.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Jack Gordon, who was a former SAS man served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now a Detective Inspector in the British Serious Crimes Squad, I’d love to have Daniel Craig to play him, given that Land of Hope has been compared to a Bond Movie. I would definitely have a British actor to be cast, rather than an American. It would give the story a more authentic feel. Of course, Daniel Craig is fabulous actor who I totally enjoy watching on screen.
Pearl Zhang, the female protagonist in the book, would have to be a bilingual Chinese actress. My choice would be Gong Li. Pearl is highly Westernised and would need to speak very good English.
For Andrew Church, Pearl’s husband and love of her life, I’d cast Hugh Laurie – his voice is so sexy, just like Andrew’s
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A modern tale of fighting injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
All my books have been self-published, and any future books are likely to be going the same route, unless a super cool publishing house decides to snag me
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
On and off in a year, and another six months for editing and polishing. It took a decade of my working life to prepare for this book, so you can say that this is the result of labour of love and dedication.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
One of my reviewers compared Land of Hope with the works of Pearl S Buck, because the Chinese characters in my book reminded her of what she has read by the well-known American Nobel prize winner. Personally I think Land of Hope is quite unique – it addresses many important, under-reported modern-day issues like human trafficking – it goes beyond scratching the surface and digs deeper into that sinister world than many crime fiction in the same genre, and best of all, many incidents in the book actually happened and are itched in people’s memories.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Myself, and my work, and people I have come to meet. Many of my readers believe that Pearl Zhang is Junying Kirk, and they have every right to think so. Pearl is my alter ego in so many ways that it is hard for separate fiction from reality – I think it is this unique mix of fact and fiction that will make Land of Hope a book that will stand the test of time.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Yes, there is a film-maker/script writer based in Shanghai, who has read the book and loved it so much that she will be working on a script, so turning it into a film is definitely a plan hopefully becoming a reality – that would be a dream come true, and I can promise that cinema lovers would not be disappointed.
In all possibility, that my books will be turned into big or small screens, either in China or in the West. That is where dreams take flight.
Finally, although I have not been able to recruit anyone for the blog, I’m going to direct you to a few authors who have been part of The Next Big Thing – Do go and check their fabulous interviews and find out what they are up to: