Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis was born in Wales and grew up in Scotland.

He studied Art at Goldmiths College in London, then worked as a travel writer, researching the Rough Guide to China, Beijing, and Shanghai as well as writing for newspapers and magazines.

His second novel, Bad Traffic, is a crime thriller about people smugglers.

From a Q & A at his publisher's website:

1. In Bad Traffic, Inspector Jian arrives on English shores unable to speak the language or understand many of the English customs. How were you able to create his experience?

The first time I worked for Rough Guides, I was sent to the northeast region of China, and told to write a guide to it. I didn't speak any Chinese at the time so I spent several months bewildered, befuddled and alienated. This experience was very helpful in imagining Jian's reactions when he's in a similar situation.

Later, when I started learning Chinese in London, my first teachers were illegal immigrants - I taught them English in return for Chinese lessons - and they gave me many insights into the kind of things Chinese people notice about England - public kissing, no bars on the windows, neat gardens, and so on.

And after that, I lived in China for a few years, and when I came home I noticed things that I had take for granted but which now seemed bizarre - like, all the pet dogs being taken for walks and how the streets are so deserted.

I tried to use all these experiences to see through Jian's eyes, and, in the process, make the familiar strange.

2. What inspired you to write a fictional story about human trafficking?

The book began life as a response to two real crimes...[read on]
Read an excerpt from Bad Traffic.

Visit Simon Lewis' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue