The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Of course, the novel was also very much inspired by East Asian regional history and language, which I've studied intensively for 20 years. The early Vicki Zhao Wei TV series "Princess Returning Pearl/Huan Zhu Ge Ge" definitely gave me ideas about how I wanted to write my group of main characters, and the now defunct local pan-Asian film festival I worked for for a dozen years provided some of the cultural range of my work since the festival's content covered mostly the traditional Silk Road region, which I wanted to use in my stories as a support to the organization's mission. I also looked back at Victorian-era literary horror stories, both classics and lesser known stories such as "The Jewel of the Seven Stars," which inspired me to use some Indian archaeological sites as inspiration for the culture of the province near my mountain temple in the novel as well as some of those traditional horror tropes for my villain, the murderer. This allowed me to feature the spectacular stepwells from India that were discovered not all that long ago. I'm specifically targeting the old "Egypt Gothic" from 19th century British literature by replacing it somewhat with traditional Indian cultural markers.
My story should have a much more romantic feel with the sensibility of a historical novel. Right or wrong, I definitely want my story to feel more literary even as a genre piece. That's just my background. I've studied multiple languages since I was in eighth grade, majored in a language/literary field where we did literary analysis, and continued to learn more languages to an even deeper level later as I entered the workforce and volunteered on the side as an ESL teacher. Exposure to world literature and reading excerpts of those works in their original languages just puts you at a different starting point as a writer.
I hope that it gets more diversified, and what I mean by that is that it's willing to take more risks on different types of stories rather than just looking for the next story just like the last big seller. Hopefully, the indie and self-publishing scene will help make that possible.
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