Q. What is White Crane?
A. It is a kung fu move invented in Southern China (Fujian or Hokkien province) by a girl who was shooing away a crane who bothered her while she was working. The move is known for its lightness of touch. The idea is that even a weak person, eg a girl, or a small person, has the ability to defeat a Goliath through quick and light moves. My mother is Hokkien and from the Fujian province. The crane represented a lasting, soaring spirit. It was considered the prince of all feathered creatures.
Q. Why Chicago?
A. I read about Chicago as one of the 13 thrilling cities in Ian Fleming’s Thrilling Cities, when I lived in Penang 11 years ago. The history, the dark undercurrents, the seedy music scene, the Lakes, made the Windy City an ideal setting. Thrilling Cities is the title of a travelogue by the James Bond author and The Sunday Times journalist Ian Fleming. The book was first published in the UK in November 1963 by Jonathan Cape. The cities covered by Fleming were Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Geneva, Naples and Monte Carlo.
Q. But have you been to Chicago?
Q. Is this related to your other novel Heart of Glass?
A. Yes and no. WCS is a standalone but also could be a prequel. Heart of Glass (2018) set in Chicago and Macau will be re-released (that IS a hard word to say) later on this year.
Q. But have you been to Macau?
A. No. Listen. These are the sin city locations in Ian Fleming’s Thrilling Cities. They are perfect settings for suspense/thriller/crime writing. I have always been influenced by international themes as I am after all an immigrant myself.
Fans of Charles Yu, Dennis Lehane and Naomi Hirahara and those who like compelling characters, stirring settings and surprising twists will love this smart and witty new thriller.
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