Monday, January 9, 2012

Up Close & Personal with Author - (Hock G. Tjoa) (Heaven is High and the Emperor Far Away, a Play)

Hi Hock, Where were you born and where do you call home?

Born in Singapore.  Home now in the Sierra Foothills of California.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Heaven is High and the Emperor Far Away, a Play.  
This is about the regulars at a Teahouse in Beijing before and after WWII; it is a world of the poor caught up in the spin-cycle of world historical change. 

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

We have to be who we are and do what we have to do.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
Yes and yes; my goal is to write or translate stuff that show traditional Chinese values and ideas.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?

The enforced leisure of early retirement drove me to find something to keep my mind occupied.  I tried studying calculus but that lasted only six weeks.  Studying Chinese language and history so I could explore my roots has kept me occupied for the last six years.  I have written before this and it seemed natural to continue.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?
My play is actually an adaptation of "Teahouse" by Lao She whose Chinese original was published in 1957 and was produced in China.  It was one of the first things I translated in my studies and it made a great impression on me (I am active in community theater) but as it spanned 50 years and has nearly 70 characters, I felt radical pruning and changes were necessary.  But the play reminded me of this common saying among the Chinese, so that became its title.  

The cover design includes a picture I took (somewhere in Asia) of a sign over a shop; it says "this old place"--something I felt would convey the feeling the regulars of the Teahouse might have about their favorite watering hole.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
There are authors whose work I have enjoyed and admired, from Chaucer to Haruki Murakami, but I have never felt any need to model my writing on any one else's.  Sorry if this sounds immodest.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

I'd love to listen in on Oscar Wilde, but I don't know about meeting him.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?

Have you ever read a book more than once?
Several actually.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
The Graduate; I had read the book first and didn't think it would amount to much.  Also Lawrence of Arabia.  The Seven Pillars of Wisdom suffers seriously from self-importance and close acquaintance with fleas, camels, etc.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

War and Peace (in e-book format).

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?

No, but I am open to comments and suggestions.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Always proof-read and "spell check" until you can't stand it any more, then get someone else to do it for you at least one more time.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Just do it.

Do you write under a pen name?

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?

What are your pet peeves?
Authors who think having written a book makes them an expert on anything.
Cats or dogs?

Cats (pot-bellied pigs actually but my wife objects).

White wine or red?

Coffee or tea?

Tea but I don't say no to coffee.

Vanilla or chocolate icecream?

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Oatmeal with dried fruit.
One of your favorite quotes -

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Twitter:  @hgtjoa

Other:  mailto:

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?  One book (The Battle of Chibi) in print and Heaven is High in both formats.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...