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Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Hiello and thank you for joining us! You have written an amazing story and I really enjoy the way you tell a story!
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Erick, Since joining many of b&n's new look book clubs, I will now declare you the winner of the best new author going. I have never read such poetic writing in my entire life of reading mostly fictionAnd the concept of writing as if the characters origins are somewhat like in a dream, is to me, the cleverest idea any writer has ever had. It puts you into a smooth satiny mood while reading the novel. It's like so mystical and magical that is, it kept me in a trance of sorts. I never wanted to put the book down and have read it twice to capture every essence of this wonderful novel.

 

I discussed with another reader, vivico, the significance of having the time and place unknown and we both agreed, it left it open to magic or a great mystery into the time and place. I believe it opened your mind to all which made it a unique book of all times. Opening your mind to wonder all the questions and reading deeper into what yyou as a reader believe. For example the names, I do not feel it could have been in modern day in the U.S. because of the names. No modern day names such as Taylor,Madison,Caleb,GageI believe because of the market parts that it had to be maybe in an Asian or India culture. And also I do not remember any automobiles in it. But this could have been intentional also.

 

Did you pick a place or is it also mystical and magical to you also. ?  To say it was  A wonderful read doesn't ever barely touch this treasure of yours. Thank you so much for this treasure of a book.

 

 

 

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

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


Erick_Setiawan wrote:

 

That was how it started.  But the more I got deeper into the writing, the more I saw that the lack of locale also allowed me to challenge a few notions.  I think as a society we are very category-driven and eager to apply labels to the things and people we encounter. And when we can't readily put something or someone in a box, we feel unsettled and disoriented.  Why is that?  Why are we so fixated with branding and labeling everything? My answer to this was the mythical town in the book, where nothing is labeled, names are kept to a minimum (if you notice, no last names), and you judge a character by his or her action, not by your own preconceived notions.  I want my readers to rely only on their own imagination and the words I provided as they navigate through this world, and not on their previous biases.  When you read the first sentence, I want all bets to be off.  I want you to feel disoriented, I want you to feel the plunge into something not quite solid, and I want you to negotiate your way to a comfortable footing.  Only you and nobody else can decide where that footing might be.

 

This is one of the best reactions I've received for the book so far: A reader, a Caucasian woman, pictured Meridia as a Chinese woman.  Another reader, an Asian-American man, saw her as a black woman.  I love it!  I think this is how the world should be.

 

The question of time follows from this.  If the place isn't pinned down, why should the time be? I believe it was our brilliant moderator Paul who suggested that the story takes place in the past, present, and future all at once, and I can't agree with him more.  I think time is another label, useful for remembering things and meeting deadlines, but why can't it be fluid as well? What if memories and knowledge and premonitions all blend together and you can't tell which is which?

 

Back to your question, I found it much harder to write this way.  On the one hand, it gave me unlimited poetic license to do as I pleased. On the other hand, I couldn't rely on shorthands to do my job.  For example, when you set a book during the Holocaust, the mere mention of the name itself already brings up a whole host of associations in the readers' mind.  As a writer, you don't have to do the work yourself.  But for this book, I had to describe everything and build that world from scratch.  More work on my part, but it was certainly worth it.

 

Now for those of you who simply must have a specific time and place in mind, do so by all means.  You can set the story anywhere, any time--Ancient Greece, Elizabethan England, 19th century China--but when you run into anachronisms (and you will, since the book wasn't designed that way), accept them as an integral part of that world.  Anybody remember the movie Moulin Rouge?  It was set in Paris in the late 1800s but they were singing songs by Madonna and The Police.  Think of the book this way if you must, although I prefer you make up your own world.  After all, that is one of the greatest joys of reading.


Erick, I had no trouble at all with there being no time or place & enjoyed being able to let my imagination run free. However, your explanation is wonderful! If I had any doubts, you would have washed them all away. What an incredible way to explain this! I imagine if this was ever made into a movie, it would cause some devoted readers to be upset when their vision isn't close to what they see on the big screen, lol

 

Thank you for such a unique novel. I was a little shaky on some of the beginning chapters but now that I know the characters I am truly enjoying it. I especially like that some seem clear cut, like Gabriel, but then I get the feeling there is more to it & this makes me anxious to read more.

 

I have no question, simply wanted to shower you with praises! Thank you for sharing your talent & your time with us.

 

Stephanie

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daisy03
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎02-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Hello Erick,

Thank you for allowing us the chance to talk w/you.  I am in awe of wonderful storytellers and, brother can you tell a story!  Has all your writing thus far been focused on this book, have you published any stories prior to this that we might be able to read???  This book is so good I really don't want it to end, so I will be looking forward to more of your books in the future :smileyhappy:

 

I would be interested to hear more about the different cultures you drew from for your story.

 

Jody

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Quzygirl
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎02-14-2008
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Hi Erick! Thank you so much for bringing Of Bees and Mist to First Look! And taking the time to visit us!

 

First of all I loved Of Bees and Mist, but I had to take a step back and "re-adjust" my thinking as I started reading. Of Bees and Mist was not what I expected, more like a fairy tale. When you were first starting to write the novel was that your initial thoughts- to write more of a fairy tale as apposed to a traditional novel? Thank you ! Suzanne 

Inspired Correspondent
Adeline79
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎03-17-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

What an amazing read! Congratulations I loved it from page 1 because of its uniqueness. It really makes the reader think and come up with his/her own interpretations. To me it has the feel of an epic battle between good and evil (like Lord of the Rings) yet on an intimate and domestic scale. I love the way that the characters emotions are portrayed metaphorically. It makes age old themes that have been explored in literature a million times over seem so fresh.

 

Your writing style is very poetic. I read somewhere here on the boards a comment about words being misused and it being obvious that English is not your first language.  That really ticked me off because it is such a unique book with very strange and fantastical imagery. The whole point of creative writing is to come up with a new and impacting ways to say something. This is what you did so well.

 

My question is did you start out with certain themes or messages that you were trying to portray, or did they just develop as you told the story?

http://thereadingjourney.blogspot.com
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Adeline79
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎03-17-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Why First Look?)


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.

http://thereadingjourney.blogspot.com
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Why First Look?)

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

 

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daisy03
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎02-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

Who is Hannah??

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

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Writing Influences)


chris227 wrote:

Welcome Erick and thank you for allowing us the opportunity to read your book!  First let me say that I am completely captivated by your story so far.  I can't wait to finish it but am afraid I would give something away in the discussions if I did!  You write beautifully and have created amazing characters! 

 

My question to you is who have been the major influences in your writing?

 

Thanks,

Christina 


Hi Christina,

 

Thank you so much for your kind comments!  I do hope you stick with the schedule--I truly enjoy reading all the speculations and that's not something you can do if you read ahead!

 

Who are my major influences?  First off, I have to say Virginia Woolf.  When I read To the Lighthouse in college, I was still learning English, but I felt as if someone had dissected the language in front of me and shone a bright lamp down on the exposed segment.  For the first time I saw the bits and pieces that made up English as a language, and the whole thing finally started to make sense to me.  I wanted to be a writer because of her.

 

Edith Wharton is another major influence.  That woman knew how to build a world and people it with unforgettable dialog, characters, and observations.  If you haven't read The Age of Innocence, I suggest you run to the bookstore or the library and get a copy.  Every sentence in that book is perfect.

 

Other writers I admire are Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Evelyn Waugh.  I think the best training for a writer is to read as much as you can, from as many genres as possible.  I also love Dennis Lehane, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, and the list goes on and on.

 

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

 

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?


hookedonbooks09 wrote:

Hi and Welcome, Erick!

 

First off, I have to say I'm enjoying your book, thoroughly! :-)

 

Just when I think I have it figured out, it takes another lovely turn and that makes me keep turning the pages!  Almost forgot to get dinner on the table last night!

 

While the time and place does keep me wondering, I think it adds another dimension to the magic or "mistiness" of the book itself.  As if it's only the story that matters, not where and when.

 

I think you have written a marvelous first book and sincerely hope that there are many more to come---you have a storyteller's gift!

 

Barb


Hi Barb,

 

Thank you for your wonderful words!  I'm glad that you're enjoying the book, and I also hope for my own sake that there are many more to come!

 

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?

[ Edited ]

AIRKNITTER wrote:

Welcome Erick,

Have you given any thought to the actors you would like to see when this incredible book is made into a film?

 

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.


Hi AIRKNITTER,

 

What an excellent question!  I do have a few thoughts about whom I'd like to see on screen, but I'd rather wait until you finish the book since I don't want to cloud your impressions.  Please remind me again in two weeks and I'll gladly answer this at length.

 

In the mean time, who would you like to see play the characters?  I look forward to the Casting Call segment . . .

Message Edited by Erick_Setiawan on 06-08-2009 10:48 PM
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?


booksJT wrote:

Hi Erick

 

Thank you for choosing Barnes and Noble first look to view your book. I saw some of your video. My question for you is, Who were some of your influences when it came to writing?  Do you have any favorite authors?


Hi booksJT,

 

Thank you for opting to read the book!  Please see my earlier post on Writing Influences to find out who my favorite authors are.

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? (Welcome)


Sunltcloud wrote:

Hi Erick,

 

Thanks for the link to your website. I just marked August 11at the San Francisco Library on my calendar. The library is certainly filled with welcoming spirits and promises a splendid beginning for your writing carrier. As Isabel Allende says in her foreword to A Free Library In This City: "it is full of presences; the air vibrates with memories, secret voices, and stories."

 You'll be in the best of company, and I can certainly imagine you on the stairway, parting the mists. But, as inhabitant of the sunnier South Bay I hope you will also come to the Book Group Expo in San Jose in the fall.

 

Gisela

 


Hi Gisela,

 

I hear you about the library being full of benevolent spirits--I can't imagine a happier place on earth.  Thank you for your good wishes and I look forward to seeing you at the reading. (I wish I had the power to part the mists.  Lovely thought, though.)  All First Lookers, if our paths should ever cross at a reading or a function, please don't hesitate to come up and introduce yourselves by your screen names!

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? (Welcome)


DSaff wrote:

Erick, I love your sense of humor. You will go far in your career. Thanks again for being here and for taking the time to read our posts! I have bookmarked the OBAM page and am a follower of your FaceBook page. :smileyhappy:

 


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.

Erick Setiawan

For more information, please visit www.ofbeesandmist.com. Click here for Facebook.
Distinguished Correspondent
JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Welcome)


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

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

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


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Correspondent
joyfull
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

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. 



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Margot
My blog: JoyfullyRetired.com
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eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan? (Writing Influences)

 

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!

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
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eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Questions for Erick Setiawan?

 

In the mean time, who would you like to see play the characters?  I look forward to the Casting Call segment . . .


For some reason Ravenna reminds me of Morticia from the Adams Family. I guess it must be her long black hair before the knot.

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