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Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Why First Look?)


Adeline79 wrote:

Erick_Setiawan wrote:

 Yes, glowing word of mouth recommendations would be fantastic (let me repeat that again--glowing word of mouth recommendations),


 

I have become like Eva's bees and am driving people crazy with all my buzzing about how they have to read your book.


I love this image!  Thank you, this is priceless!

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Personal Inspiration?)


thewanderingjew wrote:

Hi Erick,

You have really made a success of your life in the face of tremendous adversity and difficulty. Is there anyone in particular in your life whom you would credit with inspiring you to follow your dream, at the tender age of 16? Is there one particular person from whom you gathered the courage to move, alone, to a strange land with a strange language and customs?

 

I was wondering how did you encounter the myths and customs you incorporated into your book? Were they tales told by your parents, grandparents?

 

twj

 


Hi twj,

 

Excellent questions!  Thanks for bringing them up.

 

For my reply on the myths and customs question, please read my earlier post entitled "Cultural Influences."   And if you want to know what my family's contribution was to all this, please read my post on "Origin of Story."

 

Now on to your question about a possible personal inspiration in my life . . . I can't say that I had anyone who motivated me to move to a strange land and pursue my dream.  It was my own determination to leave Indonesia that finally made my parents yield and let me go (I fought with them for two years before they did this).  I grew up seeing what oppression and injustice did to the Chinese in Indonesia, and I was fed up with living in a place where my rights as a citizen weren't guaranteed, my dreams could be taken away at a whim, and I had to be constantly alert and vigilant every time I left the house.  I refused to believe that there was no other life possible.  And I saw what living under these conditions did to members of my own family.  They stopped fighting.  They stopped asking questions.  They accepted abuse and humiliation as if that was what they deserved in life.  So I moved to the US.

 

Looking back, I can hardly recognize that very determined, very focused, very nervy, sixteen-year-old boy.   I must have been possessed back then by a power greater than my own!  I'll give you an example.  I came to the US as a junior in high school.  Three months into the school year, I found out that there were such things as honors and AP classes in the US, which my high school counselor didn't bother explaining to me about.  I was so mad!  I thought I would never get into a good college without them.  Now mind you, at this point, I could barely order a burger at Wendy's without tripping over my words, but I was so determined that I belonged in those classes.  So I went to my counselor and asked to be moved, but unfortunately, it was too late and he couldn't do anything about it.  But if he had, I knew that I would have found a way to ace all those classes anyway.  I didn't know how, but I would have.  To prove to myself that I could, the next year I took five AP classes, and yes, I did ace them all.

 

Again, I no longer can identify with that young boy easily, but without him, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Magic)

Dear Erick,

 

I want to add my thanks to you for making Of Bees and Mist available to us First Lookers at B&N. Thank you very much also for your in depth and generous responses to our questions here - they add so much insight to this amazing novel.   It is a privilege to get the inside scoop from you!

 

I would like to add my voice to the many others here in letting you know how much I am enjoying the book - it is really wonderful. I actually finished reading through it the first time (I was unable to put it down!) and am enjoying rereading and revisiting it here at the First Look Club.

 

Congratulations!

 

Best wishes,

Dawn

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JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Personal Inspiration?)


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

Now on to your question about a possible personal inspiration in my life . . . I can't say that I had anyone who motivated me to move to a strange land and pursue my dream.  It was my own determination to leave Indonesia that finally made my parents yield and let me go (I fought with them for two years before they did this).  I grew up seeing what oppression and injustice did to the Chinese in Indonesia, and I was fed up with living in a place where my rights as a citizen weren't guaranteed, my dreams could be taken away at a whim, and I had to be constantly alert and vigilant every time I left the house.  I refused to believe that there was no other life possible.  And I saw what living under these conditions did to members of my own family.  They stopped fighting.  They stopped asking questions.  They accepted abuse and humiliation as if that was what they deserved in life.  So I moved to the US.

 

Looking back, I can hardly recognize that very determined, very focused, very nervy, sixteen-year-old boy.   I must have been possessed back then by a power greater than my own!  I'll give you an example.  I came to the US as a junior in high school.  Three months into the school year, I found out that there were such things as honors and AP classes in the US, which my high school counselor didn't bother explaining to me about.  I was so mad!  I thought I would never get into a good college without them.  Now mind you, at this point, I could barely order a burger at Wendy's without tripping over my words, but I was so determined that I belonged in those classes.  So I went to my counselor and asked to be moved, but unfortunately, it was too late and he couldn't do anything about it.  But if he had, I knew that I would have found a way to ace all those classes anyway.  I didn't know how, but I would have.  To prove to myself that I could, the next year I took five AP classes, and yes, I did ace them all.

 

Again, I no longer can identify with that young boy easily, but without him, I wouldn't be where I am today.


Erick,

 

   I'm not sure if I missed this anywhere, and if I did I apologize. I was just curious who you stayed with once you were here in America at 16? Did you have family here? I admire your determination & courage at such a young age. Many 16 year olds are fearless but not many are actually able to achieve as much as you did by not only changing your circumstances but pursuing your education with so many roadblocks in your path!

 

Stephanie

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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Hi Erick:  I hope I'm not being too dense with my question...why didn't Gabriel want Meridia to marry Daniel?  Could he have known something about Daniel that made him deny Meridia's wish to marry? If he had been a typical father, I would've thought that he just wasn't "good enough" - as so many fathers believe of their daughters beaus, but Gabriel never showed Meridia an ounce of love - why the sudden interest in her welfare? 

 

Thank you for a very interesting, thought provoking read!  Congratulations!

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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Thayer
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick,

 

Although this is not my usual genre of choice, I find that I am thorougly enjoying your wonderful debut novel.

 

This book has enabled me to "step out of the box" so to speak, and I realize that I must stop labelling (and therefore) limiting myself and become more unpredictable in order to not miss out on something unexpected and delightful such as your book.

 

As you mentioned that you have been reading our posts, you have found no doubt that we leave no stone unturned (i.e., we overanalyze EVERYTHING) :smileyvery-happy:  I am intrigued by your methodical use of numerical description. There are many references to numbers and values of time throughout the story.  What is the significance of such precise detail?

~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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debbook
Posts: 1,823
Registered: ‎05-03-2008
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick, thank you for the chance to read your book, I am enjoying it immensely. I have a lot of questions but will wait and see if they are answered by the time I finish the book. I love the magical elements of the story and think it is beautifully written.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
"bookmagic418.blogspot.com
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Hi Erick,

 

Please let me first add my thanks both for sharing the book with First Look and for giving so generously of your own time on these boards. 

You mentioned that aspects of the story reflect different parts of your background - which I think is one of the things that drew me so completely in.  (A restaurant I like here in AZ is named "Cowoy Ciao" - a mix of southwestern and Italian cooking.)    Anyway, I'm wondering if you've had feedback from editors in some of the other cultures you mentioned.  Is it likely your book will be published in Indonesia, for example?   And, if so, what do you think the reaction of readers will be to some of the more "American" incidents;  the disobedient daughter-in-law, for example?  Would that be seen as not credible?   Or as mysterious as the mists?   Or  as perfectly reasonable behavior in the context of the story, as we saw it here?  Or is everyone there going to recognize it as simply "American?" 

  

I hope that when the movie is made there is also no distinguishable place;  and that the casting includes a variety of race and body types within each family.  Trying to keep it in a sort of dream world will get tricky when it comes to costuming, though... 

Inspired Contributor
LISA-BRYAN
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎12-16-2008
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (All about the cover)

Erick-

 

I have another question regarding the cover -- On the back - lower right at the base of the yellow flower there seems to be a set of eyeglasses.  These really come into view better when you look at them while rotating the book.  However, when you look a the bases of other flowers -- it seems you are seeing the eyeglasses from the side. 

 

Am I just seeing things (I am due for an eye appointment :smileyvery-happy: ) or are those really eyeglasses?

 

Also I am one of those people who have seen the upside down and rightside up ghosts on the front cover -- it is very intriguing how they are in line with the pairs of eyes.

 

Lastly, it is also interesting how the vines form closed spaces -- boxes -- on the spine and on the front cover.

 

Thank you and Kerri for such a wonderful cover -- it really adds to the book!

 

 

Inspired Contributor
LISA-BRYAN
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎12-16-2008

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Dear Erick-

I appreciate your letter and your background.   This is my first First Look book and I am still learning the ropes -- the do's and don'ts.

 

I have finished reading "Of Bees and Mist" and I can say that it is a wonderful book. It is not the type of genre I usually read but the book grabs you and doesn't let go until you stay up and quietly read while the rest of your family sleeps.  The complexity of the characters and the cover with all its hidden objects ---- very interesting.

 

I love how the book is timeless and also placeless.   I never even missed it  --- it would not work for all books but for "Of Bees and Mist" it wouldn't work any other way.

 

I am still trying to figure out all the symbolism with the numbers 3, 10.... and the names of roads, streets....  Do you have any explanation for these.

 

"Of Bees and Mist" is truly a book that makes you think!  So many books are like watching TV in that they require little to no thinking on the readers part.  Reading should be exercise for the mind and you have accomplished that without forcing it upon the reader -- excellent job!

 

In closing I want to say how very privileged I feel by having the opportunity to read such a wonderful book.

 

Thank you so much for your time and effort in creating this great book!

Inspired Correspondent
mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick,

Thanks for such an amazing eye opener! Although not my typical read, this book has been an incentive to step outside of my element and be totally open to anything.

I found myself wondering at the beginning how I could get into the book without concrete "givens" such as time and place, but that is EXACTLY what makes this book so special.

I agree with other readers on here that years later people will be calling this book a "classic" and speaking of its "timelessness."

You have managed to weave daily conflict and strife in with intrigue and things that I don't even know if magic is the correct term. It's definitely more of a symbolic/metaphorical kind of surrealism. It makes magic seem almost tame to what is going on here.............

Of all the First Looks I have been involved in, THIS is the one that I find so hard to put down! (Of course I must because if not I would probably type in the dreaded "spoiler".......)

I want to congratulate you on your certain success, and also say that you are an inspiration to many because of your determination and intense desire to follow your dreams!

In addition, I have thoroughly enjoyed your enlightening sense of humor during the response to posts! You are the complete package!!!!

Best of luck and I look forward to the coming story you are brewing up!!!!

Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Hannah)


daisy03 wrote:

Who is Hannah??


Hi daisy03,

 

Finally!  The Hannah question!

 

I'm amazed and flattered that this mysterious young lady has captured so much of your imagination and created endless debate on the boards.

 

So far, I've heard her described as a ghost, a guardian angel, an imaginary friend, Meridia's split personality, someone Meridia wishes she could be, a reincarnation of the mists, and a spirit sent by Ravenna to help her daughter.

 

Have I got everything?

 

For now, let me just say that I worded those Hannah passages very carefully so that they support all those interpretations.  And perhaps one more.

 

I think there's another angle that no one's considered before.  If nobody except Meridia seems able to see Hannah, maybe it's because Meridia doesn't want them to.  But why?  Go back to the chapter when they first meet and pay attention to what they're doing.  Can it be taken in a different context?  Remember that when Meridia meets Daniel and he begins taking her around town, she knows that she's retracing some of her adventures with Hannah, but keeps that to herself (p. 54).  Why?  And the second time Meridia parts from Hannah (p. 173), what is it that Hannah is trying to say that Meridia keeps interrupting?

 

Just like the mists hide Gabriel, maybe Meridia is keeping Hannah a secret for a reason.  I'll  let the conjectures begin (and no, you can't ask Kerri!).

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
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biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick,

I'm enjoying the book so far and was wonder if you can picture the "Mrs. Olson" character we have been talking about as the mental image of Eva? Little House on the Prarrie ran from 1974-84  I agree with others that Eva is much worse than Harriet Olson was on the show but it creates a clear picture in my mind of who she is.  

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
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Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (US vs. UK/Australian Covers)


vivico1 wrote:

I love seeing other countries' book cover choices. I just looked at that link and I have to say, I think this is a better cover for the American market Erick. I would pick up this version just walking by and see what it is about. The UK and Australian version, I would be more likely to just walk past. Isn't it interesting that different countries have different covers, and tastes. I am very pleased to see that this book is being released in other countries too! Awesome! :smileywink:

 


JerseyAngel wrote:

Erick_Setiawan wrote:

 

Hi DSaff,

 

It's been a pleasure reading your posts. And yes, if anyone wants to keep up with updates and events on Facebook, here is the link.


I just took a look at your Facebook page & saw the cover for the UK & Australian versions. Interesting that it has a sort of fairy tale appearance but with none of the hidden pictures that we all found so fascinating.

 

Stephanie


 

 


Hi Vivian and Stephanie,

 

I love both covers equally--they're my children.  It's interesting that both of you (and American readers in general, I'm sure) much prefer the US cover.  Here's what's funny.  I showed both covers to a British friend without telling him which was which, and asked him which one he liked better.  Without a second's delay, he went for the British cover.  When publishers tell you that they know their market, they're not kidding!

 

So for those of you who have British or Australian friends, feel free to test them and get back to me.

 

The book so far has also been sold in Italy, Greece, and Spain.  It will be interesting what covers they'll come up with.

 

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
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Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Inspiration for Eva and Ravenna)


joyfull wrote:

Hi Erick,

 

Thanks a lot for taking our questions. Your book has been fun to read.

 

I want to ask about Eva and something I find very funny. She is a coupon collector! She saves magazines and clips out the coupons and uses them somewhere. I swear you had some specific influence in your life for that little snippet. Mother, maybe?   

 

I also like the character of Ravenna. She's quite complex and I'm hoping I'll learn more about her as the story goes on. Who was your inspiration for her? 

 

Okay, you don't have to confess to real names or people but give us a hint on how these two characters came to you. 


Hi joyfull,

 

I'm glad you're having fun with the book.  About the coupons . . . my mom is actually more similar to Ravenna: she rarely looks at the price tag when she buys anything.  This, of course, causes my dad endless headache when he has to pay the bills.  I actually didn't encounter the whole coupon business until I came to the States.  In Indonesia, stores either had fixed prices or you had to haggle your way to the death (things have changed since I left, I assume).  When I came to the States, I was fascinated by how many people were so eager to clip coupons and storm the grocery stores during double coupon days.  I remember telling my mom to do the same when she came here for a visit and she just looked at me as if I'd gone insane.

 

Eva is based on my paternal grandmother.  She had ten children (my dad was the second oldest), and she always set them at odds so that they would fight and bicker with each other.  When this happened, they always ran to her for advice and comfort, and I think that made her feel needed, respected, important.  She had eight daughters-in-law and she didn't get along with a single one of them.  My mom, for one, had many an unpleasant name for her.  As a child, I was both terrified and amused by the dynamics between them.  I used a lot of their interactions to inform Meridia's relationship with Eva.

 

I'm so glad you like Ravenna!  She is actually my favorite character (and my agent's, too).  I know First Lookers said a lot of unflattering comments about her especially during the first segment, and I hope you'll change your mind by the end of the book.  Bring her up again in two weeks and I'll let you in on the inspiration behind her.

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?


eadieburke wrote:

 

For 10 of my favorite books, please read the Meet the Writer section in the book page.

 


Erick:

I clicked on the link above and was reading the info about where you live etc. Did you know that where they have listed your date of birth that it actually reads "date of death"? Was this intentional? Then I thought that maybe it is a clue possibly about Meridia that maybe her birth really was her death. Am I reading too much into this? Just curious!


Hi eadieburke,

 

That is most definitely a mistake.  And how creepy!

 

Thanks for alerting me--I'll message Paul right away.

 

If it wasn't so creepy, I'd be tempted to pretend that I'm talking to you all from beyond the grave . . .

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

My mistake. I confused our current discussion with another one of our programs, the Only Look Book Club.

 

In the latter club, we preview a book prior to its publication, and then we set upon the author a la' Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

 

No worries. It'll be corrected by the end of the day. Sorry for snuffing you out, Erick.

 


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

 

For 10 of my favorite books, please read the Meet the Writer section in the book page.

 


Erick:

I clicked on the link above and was reading the info about where you live etc. Did you know that where they have listed your date of birth that it actually reads "date of death"? Was this intentional? Then I thought that maybe it is a clue possibly about Meridia that maybe her birth really was her death. Am I reading too much into this? Just curious!


Hi eadieburke,

 

That is most definitely a mistake.  And how creepy!

 

Thanks for alerting me--I'll message Paul right away.

 

If it wasn't so creepy, I'd be tempted to pretend that I'm talking to you all from beyond the grave . . .


 

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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

How do we know you're not! What color is your mist Erick. :smileywink:

 


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

 

For 10 of my favorite books, please read the Meet the Writer section in the book page.

 


Erick:

I clicked on the link above and was reading the info about where you live etc. Did you know that where they have listed your date of birth that it actually reads "date of death"? Was this intentional? Then I thought that maybe it is a clue possibly about Meridia that maybe her birth really was her death. Am I reading too much into this? Just curious!


Hi eadieburke,

 

That is most definitely a mistake. And how creepy!

 

Thanks for alerting me--I'll message Paul right away.

 

If it wasn't so creepy, I'd be tempted to pretend that I'm talking to you all from beyond the grave . . .


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (All about the Mists)

[ Edited ]

dragonfly_yayn wrote:

Erick,

First of all, I would like to thank you for writing this wonderful book and also sharing it with us. I am a person who loves to read and do crafts, but as I adopted a 7 year old 4 years ago and then had 2 babies in 16 months, both of those sanity checks had been gone for me.  Thankfully a neighbor told me about the B&N Book Club at registration time for OBaM.  This was the perfect book to come back to reading with (that said, this is not my normal reading material)!  It has been very difficult to put it down (even with my extremely busy life).  I especially love the timelessness as that does let my imagination work in overtime.  So many of the lives of the book can really reflect in a mystical way the family's we all have.  I have interpreted the magical aspects of the book to be symbolic, what do the different colors of the mists signify?


Hi dragonfly_yayn,

 

I'm so happy to hear that this was the book that welcomed you back to reading.  Thank you for your lovely comments.   My best wishes to your family--it sounds like you have your hands full there with the babies and the now 11-year-old.

 

Again, I'm amazed by the breadth and depth of First Lookers' speculations surrounding the colors of the mists.  I wish I could claim some of the credit, but my explanation is much humbler.

 

I wanted to give the mists different colors because each of them serves a different function: one transports Gabriel to another existence with the mistress, another hides and protects his secret by keeping other people away from 24 Monarch Street, and still another returns him every morning to a house that always makes him cold.  Each of them, in their own way, is both a physical and emotional bind for this family.  When Gabriel plunges into those mists, he becomes another man, depending on whether he's coming or going.  But the mists also serve as a trap for Meridia and Ravenna.  The scene at the end of chapter 3 when Meridia realizes that the ghost is Ravenna and she sees how much her mother is hurting but can't break away from the mist to help her--that scene was very difficult for me to write (this line always breaks my heart: "She told herself that any other daughter would have found a way to drive back the mist." ).  We've all been there--seeing a loved one in pain yet feeling powerless to help.  In the original draft, I wrote paragraph after paragrah describing all those feelings between mother and daughter, and then I had the good sense to put the mist between them, and suddenly I didn't need all those paragraphs anymore.  The mist, just by being there, is saying everything I wanted to say.

 

Why yellow, blue, and ivory, you ask?

 

The yellow mist--the one that comes and fetches Gabriel away every night--I borrowed from two lines of the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot:

 

"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes"

 

The blue mist--the one that returns Gabriel every morning to Monarch Street--is blue because it's my favorite color (I can already hear the gasps of disappointment).

 

The ivory--the one that shields the house and keeps other people away--is my homage to the fog here in San Francisco where sometimes it's so thick that you can't see your own hands.  When I'm walking in the fog and it's cold and windy, I do feel that it might have the strength to rip my hat and coat away--just like the ivory mist.

 

I'll leave it to you to give your own personal meaning to these colors.  Reading, after all, is about individual interpretation.

 

And if you want to know what happens to the mists, you're just going to have to keep reading.

Message Edited by Erick_Setiawan on 06-10-2009 01:55 PM
Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick, thanks so much for your thoughtful and thorough responses to the questions posed so far.

 

I have a question on the pacing and momentum of the book.  Yes, I admit, I have completed it, but no spoilers here.  It seemed to me as I was reading that the pace and momentum of the book sped up as the book went on.  The first fourth felt like it was paced as background and "getting to know you," in the second fourth things starting happening with the characters and some mysteries were unraveling a bit, the pace picked up in the third section even more, and by the fourth section, I felt like the speed was in high gear.

 

Did you deliberately work on the pacing and/or momentum of the story or did it just come "naturally" as a result of the way the plot flows?

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.