Welcome to Chinese Circles, a sequence of novels about China and Hong Kong.
I recognise I’m not a great writer, but believe I can tell a good story.
As the editor of my first novel said, ‘You have chosen a subject, a time, and a set of characters and woven a story around these factors. Is that not what Grisham does with legal stories, or Clancy with politics? And how successful are they! They are certainly not Hesse or Orwell for that matter, but they formulate an interesting book without having massive amounts of flair or talent for writing, and that’s true of the vast majority of writers, even successful ones. I am not going to say you’re the next Hemingway or anything, but you have an interesting, well developed, well written book on your hands that I found enjoyable to read. And that is what really matters.
Why did I start to write? As a hobby. I started to research my family and found, for perhaps the first time in my life, history was interesting.
How did I choose China and Hong Kong? Because I found an ancestor had fought out there and I’d lived in Hong Kong for ten years.
I’d always considered myself the traveller of the family, and certainly the first to ever live in Spain or the Far East. However, my research revealed ancestors who were in Spain two hundred years ago, and China over a hundred years before me. The Bussicott family history is a story of fighting, medals, and court-martials all over the world, and a story by itself.
William Bussicott fought in the Opium Wars in 1842 and these wars created the Shanghai and Hong Kong that my novels’ characters find themselves in a century later.
I was able to use my experience of living in Hong Kong for ten years as inspiration. As an expat surrounded by six million Chinese, the smells, noise, typhoons, squalor, wealth and a kaleidoscope of other events and incidents, I have been able to mine a rich source for ideas. Add to this the remarkable history of China and Hong Kong over the past century, WWII in the Far East, triads and taipans and much more. So I started to write.
The Shanghai Circle covers the build up to the war with the Japanese during 1936 and 1937 and is currently available as an eBook. The second in the series, The Hong Kong Circle sees the action move to the colony through the war years and up until 1949. This is due for release in January 2014. Eventually I hope to bring the descendants of my initial characters back to the Shanghai of today, which is now once again one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world. Just as it was in 1936.