Saturday, January 3, 2009
Interview with Mystery Author Deborah Shlian
MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have mystery author Deborah Shlian with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.
M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, Rabbit in the Moon.
Deborah Shlian: Rabbit in the Moon is the third novel I have co-written with my husband and also our most ambitious book. It’s an international suspense/thriller that takes place in China, Macao, Hong Kong, Korea, Los Angeles and Washington, DC – all places we’ve either lived in or traveled to many times. Rabbit in the Moon contains at least three main stories:
First, it is the story of Dr. Ni-Fu Cheng, a Chinese physician who has spent his entire career searching for the secret of longevity only to finally face the fact that not only may his discovery NOT save the world, but it could possibly destroy it.
Second it is the story Ni-Fu’s grand daughter- strong-willed Dr. Lili Quan, American born Chinese and medical resident in Los Angeles, who has spent her 28 years fighting against her Chinese identity. When the story begins, her life seems to be coming apart – her mother has terminal cancer; she’s challenged her chief of medicine whose recommendation she needs for a coveted geriatrics fellowship. On impulse, she accepts an invitation to study in China - ostensibly to fulfill her mother's dying wish. But in fact, she’s been lured there. Little does she know that she will become a pawn in a deadly international scheme as greedy and ambitious men vie to gain control of her grandfather's discovery.
And third, it is the story of Chi-Wen Zhou, a young man close in age to Lili, but worlds apart in terms of culture and how they each view the world.
Within the novel, Lili and Ni-Fu and Chi-Wen meet and ultimately change each other’s lives.
Our story is set against what we feel is probably the most tumultuous seven weeks in recent Chinese history: from the rise of the democracy movement on April 15th, 1989 to its fall with the June 4th massacre at Tiananmen Square.
M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?
Deborah Shlian: : One of my favorites is the scene in which Lili returns to her childhood home in San Francisco just after her mother’s death. Her relationship with her mother has always been rocky, but while going through the apartment Lili finds evidence in a memory box her mother kept of a young woman not terribly unlike herself. It is a revelation that makes Lili decide to visit China and learn more about her roots.
M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?
Deborah Shlian: The mystery genre requires a certain discipline in terms of how you tell your story i.e. how and when you reveal clues to solve whatever puzzle you’ve created for the reader and/or your characters to solve. At the same time, a good mystery should have interesting characters that are every bit as compelling as those you might find in a more “literary” novel.
M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?
Deborah Shlian: My very first book was a romance novel that I wrote under a pen name and that was fun. My other published novels, Double Illusion and Wednesday’s Child have been called psychological suspense/thrillers.
M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?
Deborah Shlian: It’s not really funny, but sometimes characters become so “independent” that they almost tell you what they would do in a particular situation. I have written a scene that I thought was fine and then days later, it’s as if the character is talking to me (in my head of course), telling me that the lines he or she is supposed to be speaking aren’t true or the situation just doesn’t work for them! It’s quite weird.
M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?
Deborah Shlian: I am currently finishing the second novel in a soon to be published series featuring Sammy Greene, a 20-something radio talk show host who becomes an amateur sleuth. The first book, Dead Air will be out December, 09. The one I am just finishing is called Devil Winds, date of publication to be determined by our publisher. This series I am co writing with a physician friend in Los Angeles named Linda Reid. Once that is done, Joel and I would like to start a sequel for Rabbit in the Moon.
M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Deborah Shlian: My books can be ordered through any bookstore or online. Most are now on Kindle and e-book as well. Check out my website at: http://www.shlian.com
Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.