Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. On May 1, we’re saying goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?


dg wrote:

I'm so happy you were able to join the group.  I really enjoyed the book and, I couldn't believe it until you wrote about how you purposely avoided them but I never even noticed that I had no idea where or when the book had taken place.  I usually am very curious about that but I think this book may have given me so much to think about that the place and time became incidental.  Thanks for giving us the pleasure of reading this wonderful book.


Hi dg,

 

Thank you for taking part in First Look!  I'm glad to hear that you were able to lose yourself in the book without noticing the lack of time and place.  That's one of the reasons why I wrote it--to show that we share enough connections and similarities in our humanity that time and geography--as you said--are incidental.

Erick Setiawan

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

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?


m3girl wrote:

Erick,  Thanks for joining us for the First Look discussions.  I've participated from the beginning and enjoy being able to ask questions and put in my own 'two cents'.  Anyway, I am just back from the Iowa Summer Writers Workshop where I took a class on Writing Beyond Realism.  I would like to know if you think that readers (and therefore publishers) become more interested in fantasy and 'arealism' when the economy and overall environment are in the tank.  Do we want that fantasy escape even more when times are bad?  Just curious what your thoughts are on that.  I'm just starting a book which given my record might be ready right about the next economic downturn...

Thanks,

Susan 


Hi Susan,

 

I think there is some truth that readers in these tough times are looking even more for books they can escape into.  Who wouldn't want to forget about their screaming kids, their mortgage, or their bills for just a few hours?  The example I like to give is how Gone with the Wind became a runaway bestseller during the Depression--people simply wanted to flee their current troubles and escape into a completely different world.  Which brings up my next point--it doesn't have to be a fantasy or surrealist work.  It can be anything--historical fiction, romance, literary fiction, memoir--as long as it has the power to transport readers into another world and hold them there.

 

And that brings me to my next point: always, always write what you love, what you want to write about, without even thinking about what's popular right now or what will be huge in a few years.  When it comes down to it, it's all guesswork, and that's a job for publishers, not authors.  And ultimately, when it's down to just you and a blank page in a room somewhere, I think you'd want to spend the time writing about things you truly are passionate about.  I urge you to keep writing at your own pace--what's slow to you may be fast to others--but write to challenge and satisfy yourself, not with an audience in mind.

Erick Setiawan

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

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Time and Place -- why ambiguous?)


FrankieD wrote:

Sorry...no question comes to mind!!! I mjust want to thank you for the opportunity to read your book...it has been great and I'm sure the final part will not disappoint. Reading your book has gotten me through several "bad" days and added to some really good ones.

                                                      FrankieD :smileyhappy:


Hi FrankieD,

 

Thank you for taking the time to read the book!  I'm so pleased to hear that it has brightened your days in some small way.  That's the best thing that an author can hear--that his or her book allows readers to escape, even for only a few hours, and leave their troubles behind.

Erick Setiawan

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

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Mystical Experiences)


eadieburke wrote:

I have experienced mystical happenings also. One Sunday morning (3/12/06) around 5:30 am I was awoken by a woman's voice that said: "Your father died". My father was 84 years old at the time but was in pretty good health. He did have some circulatory problems where his leg would fall asleep during long car rides but nothing really major wrong with him. He was very active and would do his own food shopping and visited the library often because he loved to read. I waited for a decent hour of the day to call him and he said that he was fine, so I didn't tell him about the voice I heard.

 

He told me that he bought about 20 DVD's for $1.00 each and was mailing them to his friends and relatives. Some of the titles were "Pajama Game",  "Royal Wedding" and "The Lady Vanishes". On Thursday, 3/16/06 my daughter called me to say that she was calling her grandfather all day to thank him for the DVD's he sent her. I got a funny feeling in my stomach because if my father went out he would only be away for a couple of hours at a time. I looked at the calendar and suddenly realized that it was March 16th and it was the same day that my mom died in 1998. My father always told me about his dream of my mom in a blue dress in a field coming to get him.

 

Sure enough, I called my husband who works about 1/2 hour from my dad's house to go and check on him. My father had died very peacefully (the covers were up under his chin without a wrinkle) in his pajamas in his sleep and when the paramedics got there, they predicted that he died just about the time that it turned March 16th.

 

As I was calling all his friends and relatives, they were telling me that they were watching the DVD, "The Pajama Game" that he had sent them and they were going to call him to say "thank you". The neighbors arrived at the funeral and told me that he had put the DVD on their car windshield while their cars were parked in their driveways. I went out to the mail box and there were my DVD's waiting for me on the day he died. On the bottom of the "Royal Wedding" DVD it says "Young hearts take flight when love is in the air". That quote made me think that my mom came for him. I still have the DVD's in the same envelope that he sent to me.

 

It may not seem very mystical to other people but when these things are happening to you, it is a very knowing feeling.


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

Erick wrote:

 

I can't say that I've had mystical experiences myself, but I know people who have.  When my grandmother died, my father knew the exact time and condition of her death without being told.  I've heard people tell me that their loved ones appeared as apparitions and said good-bye to them just before they died.  I don't see these things as spooky or supernatural--I see them as more proof of the bonds between us.  When you love someone, or are connected to someone in a deep way, some part of you knows when that person is in danger, in pain, or in need of help (which, by the way, is the basis for Ravenna's relationship with Meridia).


 

Message Edited by eadieburke on 06-16-2009 04:56 PM

Hi eadieburke,

 

What a wonderful story.  I got goosebumps reading it.  Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

 

Something similar happened to my Javanese nurse (I'd written about her in other posts).  One day, she was doing her laundry in our backyard (no washing machines in Indonesia back then) when she saw her son, who lived in another town, wave to her from across the yard.  She blinked and he disappeared.  Later that day, she got a telephone call that her son had been killed in an auto accident at that exact hour that she saw him.  JerseyAngel, in reply to this post, brought up an excellent point.  I think experiences like these are more common than we might think. Just because something can't be explained with logic or reason, it doesn't mean that it didn't happen.  I encourage all of you to look for them in your own lives.

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Inspired Correspondent
Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
Registered: ‎03-16-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Welcome)


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

Hello First Lookers!

 

I am so excited to start the discussionsThank you, first of all, to B&N and to Paul and Rachel for facilitating thisAnd though I don't know their names, I heard there was a fleet of carrier pigeons I ought to thank for delivering the ARCs safely into your handsThank you everyone for signing up and for embarking on this journey with meI know that to many of you, this is not the kind of book you'd normally read.

 

Before we start, I'd like to point out that you can find more information about me in the Meet the Writer section on the book pageAdditionally, you can visit my website for updates and announcements.

 

Let's get down to business, shall weI've read every single one of your postsI know that some of you were immediately drawn in by the story and were able to lose yourselves in Meridia's world by the first chapterOthers needed a few more chapters before they got itI also know that some of you are still lost and confused, while others are ready to hurl the book against the wall and run screaming from the room.

 

No worriesThat's why I'm here.

 

So bring your questionsI will do my best to help untangle every knot of confusion you might have!


Hi Erick,

 

I was one that was sucked right in....

 

You are a comedien too

Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick,

This is not a question because I don't want to know yet what happens in the last section of the book.

But I want to explain a little more about my posts.

I will try to explain more about what annoyed me about the bees at this point of the book.

Eva to me is one of the main characters (and a favorite of mine). I know some one very much like Eva. Someone evil in so many ways, but someone who thinks she is helpful and supportive. So I hope Eva is still there throughout the end of the book. I like Eva for what she adds to the story. The story would not be the same without her, we need that conflict she brings. I think that is why the bees are annoying to me at this point of the book. I think I understand what the bees are representing about Eva.. But I need more to Eva than the bees. As you can tell by what I have written, a few good pages on Eva is a plus for me. I am sure not everyone would agree with that. I think you could do a whole book on the early Eva. Eva's dark side gave her character strength.

I am also waiting to see what Hannah is about.  I am ready for surprises here, but some choices would be better than others for me. I read the posts on Hannah, but I'm not sure yet what I want Hannah to be.

This book has involved me with its characters and its story. But I hope the last section pulls the mysticism or magic in to those strengths ( be it good or bad) of the characters that the book has built thus far. I will be expecting a lot out of the last quarter of the book. Those strong characters you have built need to come out more as the book progresses.

The one thing I think you really nailed is the fragrances of Ravenna and Eva. Because for me a fragrance can evoke strong memories and feelings when it reminds me of an event or person. I could smell the fragrance with the characters in those sentences.

I hope I have explained better what I am thinking at this point of the book.

This is probably repeating myself, but your characters are the best part of the book. You have involved me in their lives.

So I am ready to start reading the next section over the weekend. 

pen21

Inspired Correspondent
tabcat
Posts: 100
Registered: ‎09-17-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan (metaphors or reality?)

Erick,

Like Lisa (quoted below), I like being given the choice to decide if the magical elements are "real" or metaphorical.  For instance, the mists and ice are real to me, the lengthening staircase and bees are sometimes real, sometimes symbols...depending on the context or perhaps just my mood at the time.  I don't usually read books with this high level of family drama and dysfunction.  I like to escape when I read.  Your style of writing allows me to stay engaged with story, but not be overwhelmed by the emotions brought about by Eva's cruelty, the losses, childbirth scenes, and such. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read your book and discuss it with all the other great people on this site!  This book is perfect for a discussion venue. I've especially enjoyed reading your comments and replies.

Best wishes for a successful career in writing!

 

Teresa (Tcat)


lisally wrote:

I'm one of the people who interpret the magical elements as both physical and metaphorical.  I think Eva really does have a swarm of bees when she is angry, the cold of 24 Monarch is the coldness of Gabriel and Revnna's relationship, and Ravenna releases her suppressed anger in the form of a visible spirit.  I interpret this world as a reflection of its inhabitants, with the magical elements as physical manifestations of the character's emotions.

 


 

Distinguished Correspondent
JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick,

 

   I finished the book his evening. I had stuck to the schedule all the way through, but once I got towards the end I couldn't stop. Fortunately next week is the last discussion so I wasn't too bad! I won't give anything away for those reading. All I wanted to say is, well done! I had a little bit of a hard time getting into it in the beginning. I have found this true of other books I have read in the past from best selling authors so I never judge until I am well into the book. Once I got over that little bump, I was swept away. This truly was like an adult fable. The elements of magic (the bees, mists, etc) blended well with the story & I enjoyed them. The characters were wonderful & I loved getting to know them all. I especially enjoyed the lack of place or time because it allowed my imagination to truly take hold. You should really be proud of this first novel! Can't wait for the next one! I'll be sure to write reviews!

   Thank you also for being so pleasant while here. You have shared so much in your answers. It's been so nice to be able to talk with you.

 

Stephanie

Distinguished Correspondent
PB684
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎08-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Mystical Experiences)


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

I have experienced mystical happenings also. One Sunday morning (3/12/06) around 5:30 am I was awoken by a woman's voice that said: "Your father died". My father was 84 years old at the time but was in pretty good health. He did have some circulatory problems where his leg would fall asleep during long car rides but nothing really major wrong with him. He was very active and would do his own food shopping and visited the library often because he loved to read. I waited for a decent hour of the day to call him and he said that he was fine, so I didn't tell him about the voice I heard.

 

He told me that he bought about 20 DVD's for $1.00 each and was mailing them to his friends and relatives. Some of the titles were "Pajama Game",  "Royal Wedding" and "The Lady Vanishes". On Thursday, 3/16/06 my daughter called me to say that she was calling her grandfather all day to thank him for the DVD's he sent her. I got a funny feeling in my stomach because if my father went out he would only be away for a couple of hours at a time. I looked at the calendar and suddenly realized that it was March 16th and it was the same day that my mom died in 1998. My father always told me about his dream of my mom in a blue dress in a field coming to get him.

 

Sure enough, I called my husband who works about 1/2 hour from my dad's house to go and check on him. My father had died very peacefully (the covers were up under his chin without a wrinkle) in his pajamas in his sleep and when the paramedics got there, they predicted that he died just about the time that it turned March 16th.

 

As I was calling all his friends and relatives, they were telling me that they were watching the DVD, "The Pajama Game" that he had sent them and they were going to call him to say "thank you". The neighbors arrived at the funeral and told me that he had put the DVD on their car windshield while their cars were parked in their driveways. I went out to the mail box and there were my DVD's waiting for me on the day he died. On the bottom of the "Royal Wedding" DVD it says "Young hearts take flight when love is in the air". That quote made me think that my mom came for him. I still have the DVD's in the same envelope that he sent to me.

 

It may not seem very mystical to other people but when these things are happening to you, it is a very knowing feeling.


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

Erick wrote:

 

I can't say that I've had mystical experiences myself, but I know people who have.  When my grandmother died, my father knew the exact time and condition of her death without being told.  I've heard people tell me that their loved ones appeared as apparitions and said good-bye to them just before they died.  I don't see these things as spooky or supernatural--I see them as more proof of the bonds between us.  When you love someone, or are connected to someone in a deep way, some part of you knows when that person is in danger, in pain, or in need of help (which, by the way, is the basis for Ravenna's relationship with Meridia).


 

Message Edited by eadieburke on 06-16-2009 04:56 PM

Hi eadieburke,

 

What a wonderful story.  I got goosebumps reading it.  Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

 

Something similar happened to my Javanese nurse (I'd written about her in other posts).  One day, she was doing her laundry in our backyard (no washing machines in Indonesia back then) when she saw her son, who lived in another town, wave to her from across the yard.  She blinked and he disappeared.  Later that day, she got a telephone call that her son had been killed in an auto accident at that exact hour that she saw him.  JerseyAngel, in reply to this post, brought up an excellent point.  I think experiences like these are more common than we might think. Just because something can't be explained with logic or reason, it doesn't mean that it didn't happen.  I encourage all of you to look for them in your own lives.


 

Eadie and Erick,

I absolutely loved those stories! They definitely gave me goosebumps. I had a very similar experience for the first time at the age of seven when my father died of cancer. My mother hadn't had the courage to tell me yet but I woke up in the middle of the night because a voice in my ear told me he had died. I began to cry and when my mother asked me what was wrong I said it was just a bad dream. I think I was just scared to acknowledge the truth. This has happened several other times in my life. I always have the same sensation that someone is speaking into my right ear...I like to think it is my Guardian Angel especially because that voice helped save my son when he was a baby and was very sick.

Paula

PB684
Inspired Correspondent
Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Teachers and Writing Courses)


Erick_Setiawan wrote:


I never took a single writing course in my life.  The idea of having a group of people sit around and judge my work was too intolerable to me. 

 

_____________________________________________________________

 

Lol, Erick--now here you are at First Look!  I think you're very brave!

 

Joan

Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Mystical Experiences)

PB684 and Erick:

 

Some people are more open to mystical experiences then others but I think we all have them but not all of us are paying attention to realize them.

 

I have to be careful about my thoughts sometimes. When my daughter was playing soccor, we were at a field near the high school and I noticed that the flight path to the local airport was right over the soccor field and small planes were flying overhead. I thought that was not a good idea and what would happen if a plane ever crashed in the field. Well the next day, on the front page of our local paper was a picture of a plane which crashed in another field close by to that one. That really spooked me.

 

Another time right after we bought our house, I was washing dishes and was admiring the tall hedges in the back of my home which is a barricade from a busy road. I wondered if anyone ever crashed into the the hedges because we lived right on a curve in the road. Well within a 1/2 hour there was a guy on a motorcycle hanging in my hedges. So, now I try to think only pleasant thoughts.

 

But, I am really enjoying Of Bees and Mists and all the mystical experiences. I am truly amazed about Erick's insight and interpretation of these people and all their experiences. It really is very true to life. If you think about all the people you know, we all know someone that has had an affair, someone who has a wicked mother-in-law, someone who is married to a weak husband, etc. etc. They may not have bees coming out of their mouth and I don't necessarily have to hear what they are saying. I think it is a good example of what all their nasty words sound like. I can also relate to the fact that those who are having affairs are definitely in a fog, mist or fantasy world!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Frequent Contributor
hookedonbooks09
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-04-2009
0 Kudos

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

Hi Erick,

 

Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your book--have told so many folks about it, too.

 

I have to say I find your prose so lyrical and inviting, it's hard to imagine you selected classes based on how little you would have to speak or write!  Well that's all in the past and we have this beautiful book as testimony of that.

 

Your input to the discussion group, as many have mentioned, was so valuable in shedding insight to the end product that I went through and copied out those answers of yours that I thought should be part of the book.    I will print them out and fold them to go in the back of the book and stay with it.  Yes, I'm a little compulsive!

 

I'm so thankful for you, your publisher and B&N for providing this opportunity.  It might have been a book that got by me otherwise.  And that would truly have been my loss!

 

Best of luck to you,

Barb

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
Author
Erick_Setiawan
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎05-07-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? *****SPOILER ALERT******


goingeast wrote:

*********************SPOILER ALERT*************************** 

 

 ********************SPOILER ALERT***************************

 

Hello Erick,

 

I must tell you of my experience with your book.  The night I received it I, I fell in love with the cover.  The contrast of the orange/red with the black was beautiful and reminded me of lovely Spanish fabric I have seen.  Then I started reading.  I read the first sentence and hated it.  I read the second sentence and hated it.  Then it was as if a giant hole opened in the ground and I fell through, floating through each and every sentence on the page.  I read and read until I finished it, almost panting at the end.  You definitely pushed a lot of emotion to the surface with your story. 

 

I know someone who is Eva.  Unfortunately, I still have this person in my life.  So it wouldn't surprise you to know that my favorite part was when Eva was lying in bed in her own excrement.  I enjoyed that thoroughly and was quite upset with Meridia for getting her cleaned up.

 

I would like to know the significance of the marigolds taking over the roses, though.  If you've already answered this, I apologize for asking again.  Just tell me it's been covered and I will look for it. 

 

As for the setting, I really imagined the story taking place around the same time as Moulin Rouge, which you mentioned in one of these posts.  I think it is because you described the women as 'lifting their skirts" at various points so the time period would seem to fit turn of the 20th century.  I like that time period best of all, so it made the story much more enjoyable. 

 

As for the name Meridia, I had a hard time getting used to it.  I found Meridia to be very childlike and innocent throughout the novel.  She reminded me of the character of Scarlett O'Hara at times.  The ending reminded me of the ending of Gone With The Wind.  She forgives her husband, again, but won't take him back until he gets rid of his mother.  In Gone With the Wind, I think Ashley will have to go before Rhett takes Scarlett back.  Come to think of it, there were a few mists in Scarlett's life as well.  Perhaps a mist could come and take Ashley away, permanently.  Maybe you could write the sequel the way it should have been written?  But then again, you are so talented that I can't imagine you writing anything but something original. 

 

I just wanted you to know this is probably the best book I'v read in a long time.  It's always surprising when men write so easily about women.  Especially about evil women.  It always seems that men are oblivious about how some women can be.  I can only guess that you must have been around women most of your life.  You clearly have great insight about them. 

 

Again, thanks for a great read!

 

Ann  (goingeast)

 

**********************SPOILER ALERT***************************

Message Edited by goingeast on 06-16-2009 05:48 PM
Message Edited by goingeast on 06-16-2009 05:50 PM
Message Edited by rkubie on 06-16-2009 10:29 PM

Hi Ann,

 

**********SPOILER ALERT **************

 

I'm so delighted to read your post!  I loved that giant hole analogy--I certainly have read books where I fell headlong inside the pages and the world around me ceased to matter.  Thank you!

 

I'm sorry to hear you have someone like Eva in your life.  I hope you learned a thing or two from Meridia.

 

To me, the marigolds and the roses represented the battle between Meridia and Eva.  Before Meridia steps foot inside 27 Orchard Road, the roses reign supreme.  Then slowly with her arrival, the marigolds multiply and take over.  At the end of the book (since you've finished it), the marigolds have covered the front lawn.  Some readers take it as a battle of good vs. evil, although I don't think that Eva is pure evil, and I don't think that Meridia is pure good.  They both are very strong, very complicated women with their own set of flaws, and to reduce them to simply "good and evil" does them a great disservice.

 

It's interesting that you brought up Gone with the Wind, because if they ever make a movie out of this, I think the young Vivian Leigh would be perfect for Meridia.  They both have that unbreakable determination and defiance of the world that sometimes becomes their downfall. About writing the sequel to Gone with the Wind . . . too many people have tried and failed.  I am too much of a fan of the original that I think it's best left alone.

 

Please read my post on Origin of story and Cultural Influences and you'll see that indeed, I grew up surrounded by women.   You mentioned that men sometimes can write about women so well, but I think the opposite is true as well.  Some of the best books about men were written by women.

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? (Genre)/ Understanding bees and things


vivico1 wrote:

Hi Erick,

I just wanted to try to explain to you my personal problem with so much of the bees. I can't speak for others and I do want to preface this again with telling you that I DO like the story of these families. It is what keeps me reading. Here is the problem for me. As you mentioned below and before, you got the idea from what was said about your grandmother, how, I believe it was your grandfather, who said she is always ranting in his ear about something and won't stop and it sounds like a bunch of bees. That was cool to know where you got that. And it was fun to know that when first reading about them. But now, you see, you have an advantage over us because this was a family word for her and everyone knew what that meant. You guys knew it meant her moods, or what she was saying, or what she was doing as to when to use the phrase or if someone said it, you understood why. So you knew her and knew all the things that make it fit.

 

We do not have that same kind of connection with Eva personally. So if the bees are buzzing, we know she is up to no good and trying to tear people down but not having felt the emotions being them ourselves personally, rather than more bees for more abuse, I want to hear, read what the characters are feelings and saying at that moment, and also what Eva is feeling and thinking when she does this. I have started losing any contact emotionally with the scenes when the bees are around because of this. I just KNOW that there is trouble afoot, but now, its the bees, we all know the bees and so I don't FEEL with them anymore. It feels gimmicky now.

 

It is very similar to when as kids, we had a term for our Grandmother at times when she would get a subtle smile on her face but depending on the situation, we knew exactly what that meant! We would whisper, Mona, or say it behind her back. Mona, as in the subtle smile of Mona Lisa, but it mean an array of things to us. Depending on how we said it or why, it meant, she is hacked off at the world, watch out, or she is in her depressed mood and hiding her pain with that painted smile. It meant a lot of things to us see? I think all of us explained it that way to at least one friend or another at some time. BUT, I remember a time when someone said she was Mona today, and I had a friend with me and we had stayed and talked with my grandmother and others for a while and left. I was crying. My friend said, what is wrong? I said, she was really Mona today! She said, you guys say that and you have explained it to me but I don't understand, what just happened that has you crying, I don't understand? And she didn't, and she couldn't see why I felt emotional because she didn't know all the nuances that Mona meant to us or what my grandmother was doing at that time to be Mona that day.

 

This is what I feel here, in this book. You say, take it with some humor but Erick, I am not in on your family joke or understanding of what your grandmother did or made you guys feel when you talked about her bees! It is your word for things you have experienced with your grandmother that in this story, I am not experiencing with Eva. I know what she is trying to do for the most part and this story, for those who would like to get rid of Eva now, would not be the story it is without her, but I just wished I understood her more, or could get more emotionally invested with the characters at these times, rather than just be mad at the bees, who are now becoming detached to me from Eva in a way,so I don't care about the bees. They are starting to be like an adjective to me that is used repetatively to express her in ways that I would really like to have express to me in more terms each time so she or the bees don't get old, or like some are saying, the book is getting too long or seems like the same stuff over and over again. Well, I don't think the book is too long but I do understand how they could feel its the same stuff over and over because its the same descriptive word over and over. I hope this makes sense.

 

Its not just the bees for me either. You write some really wonderful passages and have me hooked into the drama of what is going on at the time, with such great lines and then suddenly we get the bird instead of the bees. Or we get winds instead of this or that, or I still do not get the whole thing with the ice over Gabriel and chipping away at it. I mean, ok maybe its a cold heart or something but ahhh, its frustrating lol, I wanted to read and feel the real emotions that were happening at that time. And you did do some of that, but its like then you went back to using a metaphor rather than other words that could express everyone's feelings in this scene, including Gabriel, that would have made sense to me and really grabbed me. It is the switching back and forth between wonderfully written scenes that make sense, maybe even with a touch of magic in them but completely understandable and feeling, and then drop the mysterious bomb, the figure this one out now thing. It slows my reading and the rhythm and pace of the story to me to suddenly have to figure these out and then I have lost my emotion about it all.

 

I really do like the idea, the plot of this story but its losing me as far as caring. Please understand that I do not say this in any mean way, as sometimes things can come off in internet writing. I just so want to explain, as best I can, what I am feeling because written without the magical metaphors, I really think this would be one of my favorite first read books ever. But, I am sorry , it is not. And I know that probably for every one of me, there will be one or more of people feeling the opposite, so all this may not matter to you, from me. But because this is your first book and we are here, I wanted to tell you what I thought in a very honest way.

 

I am sorry too, if this post is way too long, but I am doing my best at it. One last thought, every story should have some mystery in it, even maybe some mysteries that are never solved. As a reader, I don't need things always tied up in a nice neat bow, on the contrary. But one of the mysteries, to me, should not be in trying to understand the journey you are trying to take with the book, if that makes sense. Thanks again.

 

_________________________________________

Erick Setiawan wrote:

"....As I mentioned elsewhere, Eva is based on my paternal grandmother, who passed away many years ago (please read my earlier post on Inspiration for Eva and Ravenna to find out more about them). So I have nothing to fear from my grandmother unless she decides to plague me with bees from the afterlife. I know that some readers are complaining that there are too many bees in the book, that they are annoying, etc., etc., but my mother will tell you that Eva is an angel compared to my grandmother. Many of the horrendous things that Eva does in the book I borrowed straight from my grandmother's page.

 

I hope my editor and I aren't the only ones who find the bees absolutely hilarious. Read them with a bit of humor."


Hi Vivian,

 

I'm touched that you put so much time and thought into your post.  I'm not in the slightest bit offended.  This is why I'm here--to discuss and answer questions.

 

The bees are in no way unique to my family.  I didn't write them as an inside joke for my family members in memory of my grandmother, but to capture a universal experience that we all go through when somebody we know criticizes every single thing we do, blames us for everything, and no matter what we've accomplished in our lives, we are never good enough for them.  If you have never encountered someone like this in your life, then count yourself lucky!  But if you have, you know exactly how relentless and unstoppable they can be, and the way they pester you and sting you over and over with their words is exactly what bees are so good at.  However, if you don't happen to be the brunt of their wrath and you're simply eavesdropping on them rage on and on against someone else (don't tell me you've never done this--look amongst yourselves!), it could be a very amusing diversion.  And therefore my comment about reading them with a bit of humor. Elias and Meridia and Patina may be covered with bee stings from head to toe, but thankfully, we're not!

 

About the bees not giving you enough access to Eva's emotions . . . some authors like to put everything out on the surface.  If Susan was angry and bitter and jealous, they wrote, "Susan was angry, bitter, and jealous."  I'm not one of those writers.  I respect my readers too much to spoon-feed them in this way.  Reading is not a dictatorship.  Just as I encourage them to think up their own place and time for this book, I also encourage them to peel the layers of the story and discover for themselves what lies beneath.  What they find there may be different from person to person, and that's the joy of reading.  Otherwise, why not just watch a movie where you know exactly when to cry, what to feel, when to laugh, because they tell you to.  You also wrote that the bees make you feel detached from Eva, that they hide and distract from her true emotions.  I think the exact opposite is happening.  When the bees swarm the page, they bare and reveal Eva to a significant degree.  If you listen to them, you'll see the range of Eva's anger, her jealousy and insecurity, but also her wit, her determination, her power of exaggeration and wicked sense of humor. I can write passage after passage describing all these emotions, but the sheer buzzing of the bees, if you read below the surface with a bit of intuition, already convey all these.  I don't need all those passages.

 

Ultimately, reading is a very subjective experience.  You might think that the bees clutter your perception of Eva, but others might be able to read between the lines and understand exactly what Eva is feeling and thinking without me having to spell it out.  You might think that the book is repetitive and tedious, but others might find every page a fresh and thrilling discovery.  You might like your story handed to you in a more literal way, but others prefer to have theirs veiled and alluded to.  It doesn't mean that you're right and they're wrong, or vice versa.  It simply means that we all have different taste and sensibility, and that's what makes the world a diverse and exiciting place.  We don't all read the same books, and we don't all think the same thoughts.

 

If you end up hating the book, don't feel bad about it.  I've certainly hated books that later, after the third or fourth try, became my personal favorites (The Makioka Sisters was one).  And I've certainly despised a book so much while reading it (W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage comes to mind) but after I finished it, I realized that it challenged me and broadened my horizon in a way that no other book did.

Erick Setiawan

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

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?(Hannah)


lisally wrote:

Erick,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to everyone and share your thoughts with us!

 

I have to say that I am loving the book so far! I admit that it took me a while to get used to the writing style (may be because I read way too many boring scientific papers) but I was quickly able to get lost in the book and Meridia's world.  Having a good book take you away to another place like this is such a wonderful thing!

 

I'm one of the people who interpret the magical elements as both physical and metaphorical.  I think Eva really does have a swarm of bees when she is angry, the cold of 24 Monarch is the coldness of Gabriel and Revnna's relationship, and Ravenna releases her suppressed anger in the form of a visible spirit.  I interpret this world as a reflection of its inhabitants, with the magical elements as physical manifestations of the character's emotions.

 

That said, is Hannah actually a manifestation of Meridia?  I see Hannah as physically existing, but also borne of Meridia's loneliness and an intense desire for friendship.  Meridia makes Hannah visible at school to show off her firend to the other students and to shelter herself from their opinions of her.  Off the campus, I think Meridia wishes to have private moments with her friend, to have someone to care for her alone.  Maybe Meridia brings Hannah back only when she is most desperately in need of a friend?

 

Thanks again,

Lisa


Hi Lisa,

 

Thank you for your generous words!  I'm glad that you're loving the book and that you are able to escape with it to another world.

 

I can't disagree with what you said as far as Hannah is concerned.  She is all those things and more.  Please read my other post, Hannah part II, for a side of Hannah that I don't think many readers picked up.  See if that changes your perception of her, and by extention, of Meridia.  I'll leave it to you to decide what you make of their relationship.

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Inspired Contributor
goingeast
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎01-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Genre)/ Understanding bees and things

Hi Erick,

 

 

You wrote,

 

 

________________________________________

Erick Setiawan wrote:

 

"If you end up hating the book, don't feel bad about it.  I've certainly hated books that later, after the third or fourth try, became my personal favorites (The Makioka Sisters was one).  And I've certainly despised a book so much while reading it (W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage comes to mind) but after I finished it, I realized that it challenged me and broadened my horizon in a way that no other book did."


 

 

I was wondering why you would make 3 or 4 attempts to re-read a book if you hated it the first time.  When I put a book down, I usually don't pick it up again.  Just curious!

 

Ann (goingeast)

 

 

 

Distinguished Correspondent
PB684
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎08-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Mystical Experiences)


eadieburke wrote:

PB684 and Erick:

 

Some people are more open to mystical experiences then others but I think we all have them but not all of us are paying attention to realize them.

 

I have to be careful about my thoughts sometimes. When my daughter was playing soccor, we were at a field near the high school and I noticed that the flight path to the local airport was right over the soccor field and small planes were flying overhead. I thought that was not a good idea and what would happen if a plane ever crashed in the field. Well the next day, on the front page of our local paper was a picture of a plane which crashed in another field close by to that one. That really spooked me.

 

Another time right after we bought our house, I was washing dishes and was admiring the tall hedges in the back of my home which is a barricade from a busy road. I wondered if anyone ever crashed into the the hedges because we lived right on a curve in the road. Well within a 1/2 hour there was a guy on a motorcycle hanging in my hedges. So, now I try to think only pleasant thoughts.

 

But, I am really enjoying Of Bees and Mists and all the mystical experiences. I am truly amazed about Erick's insight and interpretation of these people and all their experiences. It really is very true to life. If you think about all the people you know, we all know someone that has had an affair, someone who has a wicked mother-in-law, someone who is married to a weak husband, etc. etc. They may not have bees coming out of their mouth and I don't necessarily have to hear what they are saying. I think it is a good example of what all their nasty words sound like. I can also relate to the fact that those who are having affairs are definitely in a fog, mist or fantasy world!


 

Eadie,

If it's any consolation I don't think you are making these things happen, I think you are just seeing them ahead of time:smileywink: I had that happen a few years ago when a plane crashed in the water off of the Rockaways of Long Island...I actually saw the whole thing in a dream that morning before it happened. When I saw the news that afternoon my jaw dropped.

Paula

PB684
Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Mystical Experiences)

Eadie,

If it's any consolation I don't think you are making these things happen, I think you are just seeing them ahead of time:smileywink: I had that happen a few years ago when a plane crashed in the water off of the Rockaways of Long Island...I actually saw the whole thing in a dream that morning before it happened. When I saw the news that afternoon my jaw dropped.

Paula


___________________________________________________________________

 

Paula:

I think you are right. The morning of January 28th 1986, my husband and I were listening to the radio when there was a report from Florida that the Challenger was getting ready to go up but they were waiting till the weather got a little warmer because it was unusually cold for Florida. I told my husband, I don't think they had better let the Challenger go up today because I got a very strange feeling that something was going to go wrong. Around 11:30 am, we all know what happened. My husband called me on the phone because he couldn't believe it. Maybe you and I are just very intuitive like you say. But it does surprise you when it happens.

Eadie

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Genre)/ Understanding bees and things

Erick,

Just as I am not one to like things all tied up in a neat bow necessarily. I also do not have to be "spoon fed" as a reader. For example, I do love good suspense thrillers and Harlen Coben is one of my favorite authors. But I can never figure out the ending until the ending and I love that he can keep me from guessing! I also can handle "alluding to", I read a lot of poetry and is anything said outright in most of the very best poetry? I know Eva is mad when the bees are there, I know she is angry, I know she is trying to control people. And yes, I very much have know an Eva in my life! I had to completely break off my own relationship with my own mother, completely, because of her trying to tear me down emotionally and spiritually and it was not an easy decision. But for me, to hear the term bees used over and over to represent Eva's wrath, waters it down and maybe makes it more palpable for those who do not wish to know how bad it can be. On the other hand, there are times that one line, one or two words, can convey what a thousand can not. For example, if you have read Cormac McCarthy's book, The Road, an incredible book to me, there is one line that makes me get a lump in my throat everytime. And that is when, as the father and son are walking down the road and the little boy asks his father something, maybe his father tells him the truth, maybe he lies to try to shield the little boy, but you know this little boy knows that too and he just holds his father's hand, keeps walking looking down and says "ok papa". That kills me! Because of what that means about the boy and how he is so trying to be big and trying to even help his dad's emotional state, just "ok papa" and they walk on with such love and trust in that little boys heart, that he will not bother his father with a further question!

 

I just personally don't feel the human depth of this story that I see is there because of the mystical allusions to events or feelings because, as I said, if I have to either get past hearing the terms bees again and then all I am feeling is, ok lets get past this, there are much better passages about what is going on and lets get to them, or suddenly things that in the middle of a scene, like the dead fawn in a casket on the beach, and find my mind suddenly stopping and thinking, what the heck was that all about? I lose the pace, the feelings you were building at the moment and become frustrated. And by the way, the use of the term Mona, with my grandmother, was our way of deflecting what was happening at the time too,to lesson the impact. It is why my friend didn't understand my tears and why the bees lesson the impact of Eva to me now.

 

I just don't know. And we talked some early on about this being a movie. I can see it as a kids fantasy of good and evil because once those images are constantly portrayed on screen as representing who these people are or what is happening, it wil become like watching some old movie about Hercules fighting a Medusa headed woman or a Harry Potter character coming and going in the mists. It would not be a movie like oh, Sophie's Choice or The Joy Luck Club, where feelings were exposed raw and real and grabbed you in as an adult. And these were not spoonfeedings either. They are very layered pieces.

 

Anyway, enough of me on this subject right? I will see how the book ends, because Erick, I am interested in the story. This is probably not a book that will I will reread but I will tell you this, having read it, I will keep your name and look for your works in another couple of years! I do think you have something and I will look forward to seeing where you go from here. Good luck with all you do. Here is some Calamine Lotion for the bee stings lol. And I will continue with club, but not 'club' you over the head with my frustrations anymore. :smileywink:

 

 


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

vivico1 wrote:

Hi Erick,

I just wanted to try to explain to you my personal problem with so much of the bees. I can't speak for others and I do want to preface this again with telling you that I DO like the story of these families. It is what keeps me reading. Here is the problem for me. As you mentioned below and before, you got the idea from what was said about your grandmother, how, I believe it was your grandfather, who said she is always ranting in his ear about something and won't stop and it sounds like a bunch of bees. That was cool to know where you got that. And it was fun to know that when first reading about them. But now, you see, you have an advantage over us because this was a family word for her and everyone knew what that meant. You guys knew it meant her moods, or what she was saying, or what she was doing as to when to use the phrase or if someone said it, you understood why. So you knew her and knew all the things that make it fit.

 

We do not have that same kind of connection with Eva personally. So if the bees are buzzing, we know she is up to no good and trying to tear people down but not having felt the emotions being them ourselves personally, rather than more bees for more abuse, I want to hear, read what the characters are feelings and saying at that moment, and also what Eva is feeling and thinking when she does this. I have started losing any contact emotionally with the scenes when the bees are around because of this. I just KNOW that there is trouble afoot, but now, its the bees, we all know the bees and so I don't FEEL with them anymore. It feels gimmicky now.

 

It is very similar to when as kids, we had a term for our Grandmother at times when she would get a subtle smile on her face but depending on the situation, we knew exactly what that meant! We would whisper, Mona, or say it behind her back. Mona, as in the subtle smile of Mona Lisa, but it mean an array of things to us. Depending on how we said it or why, it meant, she is hacked off at the world, watch out, or she is in her depressed mood and hiding her pain with that painted smile. It meant a lot of things to us see? I think all of us explained it that way to at least one friend or another at some time. BUT, I remember a time when someone said she was Mona today, and I had a friend with me and we had stayed and talked with my grandmother and others for a while and left. I was crying. My friend said, what is wrong? I said, she was really Mona today! She said, you guys say that and you have explained it to me but I don't understand, what just happened that has you crying, I don't understand? And she didn't, and she couldn't see why I felt emotional because she didn't know all the nuances that Mona meant to us or what my grandmother was doing at that time to be Mona that day.

 

This is what I feel here, in this book. You say, take it with some humor but Erick, I am not in on your family joke or understanding of what your grandmother did or made you guys feel when you talked about her bees! It is your word for things you have experienced with your grandmother that in this story, I am not experiencing with Eva. I know what she is trying to do for the most part and this story, for those who would like to get rid of Eva now, would not be the story it is without her, but I just wished I understood her more, or could get more emotionally invested with the characters at these times, rather than just be mad at the bees, who are now becoming detached to me from Eva in a way,so I don't care about the bees. They are starting to be like an adjective to me that is used repetatively to express her in ways that I would really like to have express to me in more terms each time so she or the bees don't get old, or like some are saying, the book is getting too long or seems like the same stuff over and over again. Well, I don't think the book is too long but I do understand how they could feel its the same stuff over and over because its the same descriptive word over and over. I hope this makes sense.

 

Its not just the bees for me either. You write some really wonderful passages and have me hooked into the drama of what is going on at the time, with such great lines and then suddenly we get the bird instead of the bees. Or we get winds instead of this or that, or I still do not get the whole thing with the ice over Gabriel and chipping away at it. I mean, ok maybe its a cold heart or something but ahhh, its frustrating lol, I wanted to read and feel the real emotions that were happening at that time. And you did do some of that, but its like then you went back to using a metaphor rather than other words that could express everyone's feelings in this scene, including Gabriel, that would have made sense to me and really grabbed me. It is the switching back and forth between wonderfully written scenes that make sense, maybe even with a touch of magic in them but completely understandable and feeling, and then drop the mysterious bomb, the figure this one out now thing. It slows my reading and the rhythm and pace of the story to me to suddenly have to figure these out and then I have lost my emotion about it all.

 

I really do like the idea, the plot of this story but its losing me as far as caring. Please understand that I do not say this in any mean way, as sometimes things can come off in internet writing. I just so want to explain, as best I can, what I am feeling because written without the magical metaphors, I really think this would be one of my favorite first read books ever. But, I am sorry , it is not. And I know that probably for every one of me, there will be one or more of people feeling the opposite, so all this may not matter to you, from me. But because this is your first book and we are here, I wanted to tell you what I thought in a very honest way.

 

I am sorry too, if this post is way too long, but I am doing my best at it. One last thought, every story should have some mystery in it, even maybe some mysteries that are never solved. As a reader, I don't need things always tied up in a nice neat bow, on the contrary. But one of the mysteries, to me, should not be in trying to understand the journey you are trying to take with the book, if that makes sense. Thanks again.

 

______________


Hi Vivian,

 

I'm touched that you put so much time and thought into your post. I'm not in the slightest bit offended. This is why I'm here--to discuss and answer questions.

...

 

About the bees not giving you enough access to Eva's emotions . . . some authors like to put everything out on the surface. If Susan was angry and bitter and jealous, they wrote, "Susan was angry, bitter, and jealous." I'm not one of those writers. I respect my readers too much to spoon-feed them in this way. Reading is not a dictatorship. Just as I encourage them to think up their own place and time for this book, I also encourage them to peel the layers of the story and discover for themselves what lies beneath. What they find there may be different from person to person, and that's the joy of reading. Otherwise, why not just watch a movie where you know exactly when to cry, what to feel, when to laugh, because they tell you to. You also wrote that the bees make you feel detached from Eva, that they hide and distract from her true emotions. I think the exact opposite is happening. When the bees swarm the page, they bare and reveal Eva to a significant degree. If you listen to them, you'll see the range of Eva's anger, her jealousy and insecurity, but also her wit, her determination, her power of exaggeration and wicked sense of humor. I can write passage after passage describing all these emotions, but the sheer buzzing of the bees, if you read below the surface with a bit of intuition, already convey all these. I don't need all those passages.

...

 

If you end up hating the book, don't feel bad about it. I've certainly hated books that later, after the third or fourth try, became my personal favorites (The Makioka Sisters was one). And I've certainly despised a book so much while reading it (W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage comes to mind) but after I finished it, I realized that it challenged me and broadened my horizon in a way that no other book did.


 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Correspondent
nlsamson
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Genre)/ Understanding bees and things

Erick:

 

Okay, I have just finished the bookFirst of all, Thank youAt one point I actually told someone that I hated the book... but, what I hated about the book was feeling that (once again) life was repeating itself. (I'm trying not to spoil this for anyone).  Of course, after I got through that particular chapter I told the same person that the book had redeemed itselfI think my feelings had alot to do with my childhoodBut that really is beside the point.  

I am very glad that I read this book, I'm not sure if it's a book I would have picked up on my own, but that's the best part of First Look

I will tell you that the word that keeps coming to mind for me is Karma. :smileywink:

 

Thanks again.. (now I need to start working on that review...)

 

 

 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - unknown