Q What is the title of your book?
Q What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A Retired travel writer retreats to a village in the mountains of Southwest China on a kind of Year in Provence quest, falls in love with the wrong girl, and watches his tiny slice of paradise yield to the forces of the travel scene he thought he was escaping from—and with ultimately tragic results.
Q What genre does your book fall under?
A I’ve never really thought of Harvest Season as genre fiction, but “travel fiction” if you need a label.
Q Where did the idea come from for the book?
A A surprisingly unusual scene in China that I discovered on a writing assignment. I almost never left, and for a while I was worried I would wind up dead for staying as long as I did—for reasons I think the novel ultimately makes clear, even though it’s a very fictionalized version of events.
Q How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A Six weeks
Q Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A The madness of modern China.
Q Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A This is a re-release. It was first published in October 2010, with a small Hong Kong, Shanghai-based publisher, Earnshaw Books. It’s currently self-published through Amazon in print and Kindle formats, but that may change in the near future.
Q What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
A I hate questions like this. They’re rather like, what’s your favorite color? Simon Lewis, in his latest—see above—is in similar territory. I think James Hamilton-Paterson is a sadly neglected literary exile who has written extensively about Asia. It’s difficult to get his books, but try The Bell Boy, set in an imaginary Asian country, and poignant on the subject of culture clash, much as Paul Bowles was in Under the Sheltering Sky. There were endless comparisons to The Beach when Harvest Season was first released. I found it tiresome. I think they’re totally different beasts.
Q What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
A I seriously can’t imagine Harvest Season as a movie, although some readers, I know, disagree. If it were to happen, I would hope the casting isn’t left to me. I’d never make up my mind.
Q What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
A As far as I know—in English or in Chinese—it’s the first drug novel set in China.