Jaclyn asked Yangsze Choo:

I loved The Ghost Bride - thank you so much for the incredible story! It was also such a great insight into a side of Chinese culture I knew nothing about. (a) What inspired you to explore these customs as a theme, and (b) which other Chinese writers inspire you to write?

Yangsze Choo Hi Jaclyn,

Thank you, I'm delighted that you enjoyed it! Growing up, I heard a lot of ghost stories and eerie tales from relatives and friends, some of which were just fragments of a story - like the pretty woman with no feet who appeared by the side of the road, or the spirit who lives in banana trees. I also read a lot of classic Chinese ghost stories and always wondered "what happened next?". So it was very fun to write "The Ghost Bride", which is set in that peculiar, shifting world of the Chinese afterlife, and explore what might have happened.

Pu Song Ling, who wrote the classic Chinese "Strange Tales of Liaozhai" was definitely a huge influence on me, and in some sense, perhaps I have always been trying to write my own "strange tale". I spent part of my childhood in Japan as well, and one of my favorite writers is Haruki Murakami. I've always loved how he melds the fantastic with the everyday, and how his prose, in an understated way, can lead the reader all the way from how to mow the perfect lawn to a supernatural wild sheep chase in Hokkaido. "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" is one of my favourite novels by him.

I'm currently working on my second book, which is also set in colonial Malaya and explores, amongst other things, weretigers and severed fingers, and women who put gold needles in their faces to stay young and beautiful forever... another odd and tantalizing tale that I hope will be fun to read!

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