Q&A with Erick Setiawan discussion

57 views
Welcome

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Erick (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
Of Bees and Mist

Hello, Goodreads members! Thank you for taking the time to check out Of Bees and Mist Q&A!

I am here to answer any questions you might have about my debut novel. Or we can just talk about pretty much anything you want. If you want to know what I usually have for breakfast, that would be fine, too.

Welcome aboard. Don't be shy.


message 2: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 4 comments Hello. I very much enjoyed your book.

Did you conceive the "magic" first and then create a story around it, conceive the story first and create the "magic", or was it a mix of both?


message 3: by Erick (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
Hadley wrote: "I loved Of Bees and Mist so much and hand sell it to people all the time at the bookstore I work at (Cornerstone Books in Salem MA -come visit for Halloween!) Is there another book in the works?"

Thank you so much, Hadley, and I owe you a big one for hand selling the book to your customers! I've heard so many good things about Cornerstone Books (I believe Beth Simpson was one of the people who nominated BEES for the Indie Next List last year--please thank her!). I'm hoping I can visit the store on a future tour . . .

Which brings me to book #2 . . . Yes, I'm working on it, very slowly yet surely. One thing I'm going to say about it is that similar to BEES, it will (hopefully) take readers to a place that they've never seen or imagined before and encountered characters that they won't soon forget.

Salem during Halloween . . . I'm getting a kick just imagining what that must be like.


message 4: by Erick (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
Mawgojzeta wrote: "Hello. I very much enjoyed your book.

Did you conceive the "magic" first and then create a story around it, conceive the story first and create the "magic", or was it a mix of both?"


Hi Mawgojzeta,

I conceived the story first, and the first 70 or so pages I wrote actually didn't have any magic. But then I sensed that something was missing, but I didn't know what. Around that time, my dad was visiting from Jakarta, and he told me a story about a friend of his who was constantly kept up at night by bees. "By bees?" I asked him. "What do you mean? Is he a beekeeper?" My dad laughed and said no, it was actually the friend's wife who was keeping him up at nights, because she was constantly nagging him about this and that, and the sound of her nagging sounded exactly like bees buzzing. All night long.

That's when the idea hit me that I could use magic and magical occurrences to illustrate what is truly going on with these characters on an external level.

Glad you enjoyed the book and thank you for writing in!


message 5: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 4 comments Thank you, Erick. That is so interesting to me.


message 6: by Erick (last edited Oct 09, 2010 12:15PM) (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
Hi Hadley,

That is more than okay! Marquez and Wharton . . . I will erect a shrine to both of them one of these days. If only I can count the number of times I've read The Age of Innocence.

Gosh, I'm so bad at selling my own book (which is probably why it's not doing better) . . . My agent pitched the book as something similar to Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child. My editor thought it resembled John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. I've heard readers tell me it reminds them of Isabel Allende's writing (I'm also a huge fan of hers). Some said that the supernatural passages in the book recall to mind Toni Morrison's Beloved (totally undeserved, since I think Beloved should be every writer's bible).

I wish I could be more helpful, but I think my style is sort of a hybrid of different things. For better or worse, it's mine and mine alone!

Erick


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (suburban_standard) | 3 comments Congratulations on an impressive debut! I'm reading OF BEES AND MIST for a book club I recently joined.

I'm not crazy enough to compare your work to Larry McMurtry, but one thing you both have in common is a shared empathy toward your characters that results in a pretty vivid story. Would you mind sharing some of your background and telling us how it contributes to your writing? Who are the greatest influences for Meridia's character?


message 8: by Erick (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
Thank you, Michelle. That's so generous of you to even mention McMurtry!

I was born and raised in Indonesia, and moved to the States when I was sixteen. Indonesia (at least at that time) was a place saturated with superstitions, cultural mishmash, and even beliefs in the supernatural. So it was fertile soil for a novelist in training. To add to this, my family was Chinese, so I had a lot of Chinese influences as well when I was growing up . . .

Meridia's life story was inspired by what my mom went through in her early years of marriage. Meridia is not my mom, I must say, but the arc of their narrative is similar. If you would like to read more about how my family fit into the book, please check out the essay I wrote for the Guardian earlier this year:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

I'm so glad your book club is reading the book. I hope they like it!


message 9: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (suburban_standard) | 3 comments Erick wrote: "Thank you, Michelle. That's so generous of you to even mention McMurtry!

Ack! I apologize for my remark. I had meant that I wouldn't compare the style of your writing with McMurtry's. However, in terms of character development, I believe the caliber is on the same plane. And I do love well-developed characters, just like everybody else.



message 10: by Erick (new)

Erick Setiawan | 19 comments Mod
No need to apologize, Michelle . . . McMurtry is a wonderful writer (hey, he won an Oscar and a Pulitzer!). I consider it an honor if in any way, however modest, my book begs comparison to his.


message 11: by Severine Bambang (new)

Severine Bambang | 1 comments Hello,
Congrats on your debut.
I saw your book at Kinokuniya and it struck me that I haven't heard about this book before.
Well written, and entertaining.
I really like that the theme isn't too deep as "the end of the world" but simply about any conflict that could happen in every family.
Can't wait to see your next book.
Last question, do you have any plan to get "Of Bees and Mist" published in Bahasa?


message 12: by Jeff (new)

Jeff | 1 comments Hadley wrote: "Hi! Question #2-if that's okay: If you had to pick an author or 2 that are similar in style to your work, who would you pick? Your book us so unique I can't think of anyone who has written anything..."

Erick wrote: "Hi Hadley,

That is more than okay! Marquez and Wharton . . . I will erect a shrine to both of them one of these days. If only I can count the number of times I've read The Age of Innocence.

Gosh,..."


Hadley wrote: "Hi! Question #2-if that's okay: If you had to pick an author or 2 that are similar in style to your work, who would you pick? Your book us so unique I can't think of anyone who has written anything..."

Erick, I also think your writing is very reminiscent of Allende, whom I love, and Beloved. You're writing is so beautiful. There were times I'd just put the book down and let the beauty of a sentence or paragraph soak into me.

Any updates on the ETA for your next one?


back to top