Historical fiction Japan Travel

In the Shōgun’s footsteps

James Clavell’s novel Shōgun came out when I was in high school. In 1980, the made-for-TV mini-series version aired in the US. It starred Richard Chamberlain as the English pilot John Blackthorne and Yoko Shimada as his Japanese intepreter Mariko. It’s embarrassing to admit but I think Shōgun sparked my lifelong fascination with Japan. That […]

Craft Japan Travel

Kyoto Craft

There’s something about Kyoto that pleases me. There are grand castles and breathtaking gardens. The people are kind and the food is great. There are more places in Japan like that but Kyoto is special. The lamp glow is soft, the paper screens crisp, the incense seductive. It can’t all be a coincidence. I suspect […]

Craft Creative writing workshops


I’m turning into a craft-obsessed monster. Everywhere I look, I see POV, narrator, mood, tone and voice. I blame this hideous transformation on my writing workshop. Each week, our teacher gives us a new set of craft techniques to apply to our writing. I’ve been using this opportunity to overhaul my many failed short stories, […]

Books Craft Shanghai The Shanghai Quartet

Genesis of a Quartet

Since the publication of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, people keep asking me: what’s next? They’re astonished to hear that I’ve got 3 more novels in the works. It’s all part of my master plan to complete The Shanghai Quartet. Was that the idea all along? Far from it. plotters and pantsers In 2011, […]