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Tell me about Ian Hamilton, the author. What’s your story?
There were a couple of significant events that spurred me to write. First, I had a health crisis about 18 months ago. I had an aneurism that put me in hospital and it was a bit of a jolt. Second, I was weary of the stress of the business world.
So, I was at home recovering from a health scare and at a professional crossroads. I had some time to reflect. For my whole life, I’d wanted to write for a living. As a young man, I was a journalist, and also wrote a nonfiction book in 1968. Then I moved into government, and then into business.
I was in the business [world] from the 1980s until recently, but I never lost the itch to write. I travelled around the world on business, and spent countless hours in planes and hotels, with characters and plots bouncing around in my head.
Two days out of hospital, I started to write. Ava Lee began to take form, and Uncle and her mother and the rest of her friends began to emerge. So I kept writing. About halfway through the book, an idea for a second book came to me, and I built it into the plot of the first.
When the first book was finished, I started the very next day on the second. Again, about halfway through that, I had an idea for the third. Halfway through the third, I had an idea for the fourth. I wrote four books in eight months.
How did you write the books so quickly?
I honestly don’t know. I started writing and the books just came out. I felt connected to the characters and to the story and the writing was a natural process.
How did you conceive of writing about a Chinese-Canadian female gay forensic accountant?
I’m a novelist and I simply go where my imagination dictates, and I’m not artificially pigeon-holed by my gender, culture, and age.
I travelled and worked in China and other parts of Asia for more than 20 years. During those years, I read about and talked to scores of people about the cultures I was visiting.
One of the dynamics I saw that interested me was the emergence of a cadre of young, well-educated, talented women who pursued professional careers without sacrificing the traditions of their culture, including such things as respect for their elders, and the overwhelming importance of the family structure. These are all elements Ava Lee possesses.
What can readers look forward to in Book Two?
The next book is called The Disciple of Las Vegas and involves an Internet gambling scam that Ava is asked to solve. Her pursuit of the money takes her to Vancouver, Manila, and San Francisco.