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Diane Wei Liang Photo
photo credit: Donata Zonatti

"You are not doing anything illegal, are you?" Mei wondered why he was so keen to pay her a deposit. That was most unusual, especially for a businessman as shrewd as Mr. Shao.

"Please, Miss Wang. What's legal and what's not these days? You know what people say: 'The Party has strategies, and the people have counterstrategies.'" Mr. Shao stared at Mei with his narrow eyes. "Chinese medicine is like magic. Regulations are for products that don't­ work. Mine cure. That's why people buy them."

He gave a small laugh. It didn't ease the tension. Mei couldn't­ decide whether he was a clever businessman or a crook.

-Excerpt from the opening of Diane Wei Liang’s The Eye of Jade
(Simon & Schuster Canada, 2008)

  1. What do you love about being a writer?
    Flexibility, license to imagine, reading books as part of a job.

  2. What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
    To write good books.

  3. If you were not a writer, what other profession would you want to pursue?

  4. In your opinion, what is the most influential crime novel of the last 100 years?
    I haven't read too many of them. But I think Raymond Chandler was hugely influential.

  5. Which fictional hero do you admire or despise the most?
    Isabel Archer, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.

  6. After writing, how do you spend the rest of your time?
    I look after my children when they come out of school in the afternoon. When weather permits, I go for a run in the parks.

  7. What city or location has the most impact on your writing?
    Beijing, which is almost a character in all of my books.

  8. Do your books have a message?
    Yes. The Eye of Jade is about forgiveness and Paper Butterfly is about loss and revenge. Both of these books address the cruelty of history.

  9. What are you currently reading?
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

  10. If you could meet any person (living or dead), who would that be?

  11. What is your greatest vice?

  12. What is your greatest extravagance?
    Hotel suites and vintage Burgundy.

  13. What is your idea of misery?
    Narrow minded and unkind.

  14. What is your idea of happiness?
    To love and be loved.

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