Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deanna Fei

For The Oregonian, Jeff Baker interviewed Deanna Fei about her debut novel, A Thread of Sky. Part of the Q & A:

Q: Talk a little about the genesis of your book. Since this is your first novel, I assume this is something you've been carrying around for awhile.

A: Ten years ago, I toured China with my mother, my sisters, my aunt, and my grandmother. As with most family vacations, there were moments of wonder and reconnection, along with plenty of conflict and frustration -- but there was also the central tension of seeing our ancestral home from the confines of a guided package tour. Afterward, I couldn't stop thinking about the dramatic possibilities of that journey: the conflicts and secrets among six strong-willed women, the family history that had led from China to America and back, the complicated notion of returning to one's roots. I started scribbling some notes and the characters began taking on lives of their own, completely apart from their real-life counterparts, and soon I was writing a novel. At the time, I didn't realize, of course, that while that tour with my own family had taken two weeks, this novel would become a six-year odyssey.

Q: You have six main characters and multiple settings in the U.S. and China. How was it juggling all that? Was this a bigger or smaller book at some point?

A: It's true that the writing process often felt like a juggling act, and sometimes I needed to create timelines for each character and even draw graphs to illustrate for myself how their storylines would intersect. But I always knew there was no other way for me to tell this story. In the same way that each woman is something of a mystery to the others, China is...[read on]
Read an excerpt from A Thread of Sky, and learn more about the book and author at Deanna Fei's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Thread of Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue