1. I was born in New York, but my family moved to Asia when I was 6 years-old. I have lived and worked throughout Asia most of my life. Consequently, my stories are set in Asia, it is my ‘neighborhood’.
2. My father and Grandfather were fur traders in China from 1923 to 1937. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 they barely escaped just before getting thrown into an internment camp. My novel ‘The Journal of Rabbi Levy Wang’ is set in 1937 China and describes the escape of two Western businessmen from
the country, along with a precious ruby and an historic Torah.
3. My stories are thrillers, and of course thrillers have ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. However, my good guys are not completely good, and my bad guys are not completely bad. There is always conflict, in the proponents’ minds as well as between each other. These conflicts inevitably erupt into physical fights. Since the age of fourteen I have been involved in the martial arts, from judo, to Shotokan karate, to Muay Thai, to Taekwondo, to Western boxing, and these skills enable me to accurately describe these fights in my novels.
4. I am a total foodie. I therefore sneak very accurate descriptions of local Asian cuisines into my writing. I therefore not only take my readers on a thrilling odyssey but my succulent food descriptions make them hungry to boot!
5. I’ve always had a dog. I connect with most dogs. Some dogs, though, especially ones whose eyes are covered with hair, I have difficulty with.
6. As well as being a writer I am an architect. I have designed and built shopping malls throughout Asia. This vocation has allowed me the opportunity to travel to some very obscure and seldom-visited parts of Asia.
7. I got into writing because I felt that the corporate world was sucking the creativity out of me. I vacillated between starting to paint or starting to write, finally choosing writing as it was not as messy as painting (I hate cleaning brushes). I travel a lot, so I write a lot on airplanes.
8. I am, on the whole, a very positive person (or at least I try to be). There are some parts of our current culture, however, that really annoy me, such as peoples’ obsessions with their smartphones. Real life is happening around you, people, get your attention out of your phone screen!
9. I had a knee replacement (thank you, twenty years of Taekwondo). This is not necessarily a ‘fun’ fact, but it is interesting to me how the human body modifies and adapts to something so alien being placed in the body as an artificial knee. (Seeds of a story there?)
10. I am a very unsuperstitious person, but I do believe in connections. I have a Chinese gold ring that my grandfather wore in the 1920’s. The band of the ring is two intertwined dragons, and on the face has the Chinese characters for long life and prosperity. When I wear that ring, I feel connected to not only my ancestral lineage, but to some ancient power.