Ghost Hero interview
Q: Ghost Hero is set in the world of contemporary Chinese art. Some of that stuff is really weird, you know.
A: Some of it is, yes. Though I’m not sure a culture that produced Jeff Koons can reasonably point fingers.
Q: Fair enough. Do I get a guide through the art, or will I be floundering and lost?
A: When have I ever left my readers floundering and lost? For one thing, you can read my feature on 30 Days of Chinese Art. It’s a little silly to do that, that huge land mass, so many different cultures, over 5,000 years, but we’re fearless over here. There’s a companion guide, too, in case you’re inspired to dig deeper.
Q: Excellent, and we’ll all make use of that. But will it be enough to make the book make sense?
A: Wait, you want the book to make sense? Oh, okay. Well, for another thing, Lydia Chin knows as little about contemporary Chinese art as anyone, and she’s narrating this book.
Q: So we can all get enlightened along with her. Cool. But she has Bill Smith — isn’t he an art maven?
A: Yes, Bill knows a lot about art. But for this book, even his expertise isn’t enough. He does, though, have a friend he can call on.
Q: Doesn’t he always? Who’s the friend?
A: A PI who specializes in art.
Q: Be still, my heart! Not Jack Lee? From the short story “Seeing the Moon?”
A: The same. Yet another Chinese-American PI, an ABC like Lydia but second generation, and from the Midwest. You obviously know and love him, but any reader who doesn’t can download the story at Amazon.com for a Ghost Hero promo price of .49, from Sept. 1 until Oct. 31.
Q: So come on, are there ghosts in Ghost Hero?
A: You mean, is it a paranormal? Lydia Chin? Are you kidding me?
Q: So why the title?
A: Read the book.
Q: How did I know you’d say that?
A: Because you’ve interviewed me before?
Q: Okay, get serious. This book’s about politics, too, isn’t it?
A: Not politics, but human rights. Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo’s been in prison in China since 2009, and artist Ai Weiwei was arrested while I was finishing the book, though he’s since been released. They’re only the most prominent of the dissidents China’s got locked up, and China’s only one of many countries that locks up its dissidents. Which is why we’re doing a special promo with Ghost Hero : for each book sold before Oct. 31 — yes, okay, Halloween — I’ll make a donation to Amnesty International.
Q: SJ the Good.