eBook Dynasty 2013 May Resident Writer: Southerner


Q: Can you please describe how you started writing? Why do you think you have to write?

A: Since my younger days I have always loved writing. Yet I have never formally published; neither have I thought myself as being overwhelmingly talented. It is just a personal interest. Nonetheless, since I relocated to Australia, I have seen many wonderful stories among the local Chinese communities, some of which are really incredible. And I thought, how nice it would be to record them as fictions. It could be a testimonial to Australia as a multicultural society in this day and age.

Q: Among the world’s writers, who do you think have most influenced you?

A: I like reading stories portraying how ordinary people struggle to survive under extraordinary circumstances. What happens to these commoners — their joy and sorrow, success and failure, togetherness and falling apart, etc — is a great indicator to the silent yet unstoppable transformation of our times. In terms of Chinese classic novels, I like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin. As for modern Chinese writers, I really enjoy Long Yingtai’s books. Here in Australia, my most favorite English-language writer is Bryce Courtenay, who unfortunately died not long ago.

Q: You have published an erotic novel, The Wife Coach, as a Chinese ebook. What do you try to convey in this book?

A: The term “erotic” often causes a fair bit of misunderstanding among readers both within and outside of the Chinese world. You can describe sex as much as you want, but you can also explore the nature and significance of love through the sex. I think there is a considerable difference between the two. Without revealing the major plots, in The Wife Coach I intend to present the life stories of some of the Chinese female migrants in Australia. These women have their dreams and hopes, and are mostly naive and kind-hearted individuals. Most of them are wiling to work hard to achieve their goals. Only a very small minority of them try to make their way into Australia by improper or even illegal means.

Also, in The Wife Coach I want to explore the complex relationship between sex and marriage, especially the Chinese women’s views about them. My view is that the role played by Chinese women in relation to sex and marriage is often defined by their society. Specifically, it is defined in accordance with all kinds of male-oriented and male-dominated thought and behavior patterns. Therefore, what these Chinese women need is an opportunity — and a willingness — to reflect exactly what they want, what they need, and how to define and evaluate their achievements.

Q: In terms of erotic novels, what do you think a writer should be aware of when constructing plots, creating characters and managing the overall themes?

A: Many of the Chinese erotic novels I have read are full of cliches. Their female characters are always victims, while the men are either saviors or torturers of women. Therefore, my view is that in terms of constructing plots and creating characters, you should strive to create something new, i.e. never repeat or re-enforce the cliches. At least this is a goal I want to achieve.

In terms of managing the overall themes, I think erotic novels have to be beautiful writings. Whether you are describing sex or love, it has to be beautiful. It has to have some meaning, a purpose. It should not be simply expressions of a physical or verbal nature. Again, this is just a goal that I want to achieve.

Q: Have you ever encountered problems while writing? How do you conquer them?

A: Writing is not a easy thing. I do not know how the others feel, but I often find it difficult to describe what I think and feel in exactly the way I want it. Whenever this happens, I would put down my pen and let my subconsciousness deal with it. I would try to relax and forget about it, and in a few days or weeks, the problem would have itself sorted out. Perhaps writing as an act cannot withstand too much pressure?

Q: In your view, what is the most difficult thing about writing erotic novels?

A: As aforementioned, whatever you are writing, it has to be beautiful. It has to have a purpose, instead of simply connecting words together. Being beautiful does not necessarily involve pretty sentences and poetic tones. Being beautiful can be perfectly practical and plain. The point is, being beautiful is definitely NOT trying to be ugly, difficult or complicated. Which is precisely why erotic novels are hard to write. Perhaps being beautiful is simply to be sincere.

Q: If someone asks you how to become a novelist, what will you say?

A: Write it, and finish it. Then you can start asking questions.

Q: Among all the erotic novels out there in the market, which aspects do you think should be further developed and promoted — writing, storylines, style, theme, etc?

A: As aforementioned, most of the Chinese erotic novels I have read are full of cliches. There is hardly any style or theme in them. My own goal is to explore love through sex. I think this is an approach worthy of recommendation.

Q: As a writer, in your view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing your stories as ebooks?

A: Let us just say, without digital publishing, stories like The Wife Coach may never get published. It is not that these are not good stories. It is just that there are so many talents out there in the traditional publishing market — everybody desperately tries to break through to the top, but the whole arena is so crowded that hardly anybody really gets a chance to do so. Therefore, digital publishing offers an alternative way to get published. As for the disadvantages, my view is that in today’s Chinese world, unlike the West, you still cannot survive by selling ebooks. This is because the great majority of readers are yet to really understand and accept the ebooks. I do not know whether this problem will be improved. I only want to keep writing.

Southerner welcomes questions relating to writing and creativity from all readers. Thank you.

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