Saturday, October 20, 2012

Author & Character Interview: Yvonne Wang, Author of Bridge Across the Land.

Bridge Across the Land
Summary: In 1241 AD, the Mongols invaded Europe and brought the giant collision of cultures between the West and the Far East. A team of cavalry scouts, with different backgrounds and motives, decided to assassinate the Great Khan of Mongolia. To execute their plan, they capitalized on the opportunity of escorting the Mongolian Princess from Poland back to Mongolia. h e Princess grew up in Poland and was not aware of her royal heritage as the daughter of the Great Khan exposing her to great danger! However, things did not turn out as expected, as one of the assassins and the Princess fall in love…

Here is my review:
And, as you know..
I interviewed the author, Yvonne Wang! She put in thoughtful answers for me even if she was ridiculously busy with her work. Meanwhile, I also added in a character interview, with the author answering as the characters! So, readers, enjoy.

Author Interview:

1- Are you and Angela alike in any way?

Me and Angela do have many things in common. I am a very stubborn girl, just like she is. If I decided to do something I will finish it no matter how hard it is. Angela is very strong and brave: she worked in Poland to sustain herself and her father; she turned around and surrendered herself to save Tianyin; she marched for seven months to Mongolia alone in the end...Sometimes I feel that we have the same personality. I would go for things that I know are dangerous or difficult. I see myself capable of doing things impossible regardless of what other people may say.

However I am not the same with Angela. At least, she is very courageous and open to her love. As soon as she knows whom she loves, she would do anything for him, including killing her own father. Me, on the other hand, I am not that determined and I always hesitate or worry too much before I commit to love. I am too shy to reveal my heart to the other person and I wish I could learn from Angela.

2- Who/What is your inspiration?

"I want to write a story about cultural collision." That was my first thought when I was standing in the dining hall of Boston University, one year after I moved to US from China. This Mongol invasion was the first-time human cultural collision between the West and the Far East. It has such a huge historical impact but people often ignore it. As I did my research I found the mysterious death of Ögedei, from which imaginations

The second inspiration I found was the modern social transformation in China. As the economy quickly develops, Chinese people are facing debates between traditions and innovations, between individualism and collectivism, and between consciences and responsibilities. As the plots develop in my head those debates emerge along with the struggle of my characters: shall they listen to their hearts or follow so-called duties? Shall they care about their own emotions or their countries? I appreciate the multi-cultural background I have and I include those cultural conflicts as well as those ideological contradictions I see in my story.

4- When did you start writing?

I started to write Bridge Across the Land in 2008. It took two years to complete, one year to translate and one year to publish. If you are asking when I first started writing, I would say at the age of seven, but I know starting early doesn't make one a good writer anyway.

5- How did you get the idea for Angela's blue and brown eyes?

I remember more than ten years ago my mother once told me that she had a primary school classmate who had one dark eye and one blue (or green) eye. My mother grew up in the Xinjiang province of China, where most of the population are minorities. Her classmate was a mixed kid with a Russian mother (or some other group) with a Chinese father. So I know it is possible to have two colored eyes and I think that's really graceful. Unfortunately I've never met her classmate.

6- Do you, personally, like Tianyin or Alexander better?

That's a good question. When I first created Tianyin I didn't like him much. He was
too cold and determined (not listening to others). I would like a boyfriend who would
consider my feelings and thoughts. However, as the story unfolded he captured me
and I fell in love with him. He is really tough, responsible, mature and deep (yes deep).
The way he tells Angela he loves her is not by words, but by his action. The journey to
Mongolia is an awakening to him: Tianyin finally understands what's the most important
in one's life. He is not bound to his "duties" anymore but free to love. That brings a man

--spoiler alert in next paragraph-

Tianyin can be a good boyfriend because he is so protective and cool. He would make
my heart bump but I may not choose to marry him in reality. Let's compare him with
Alexander. Tianyin has a woman and a kid back in Mongolia; he dies at an early age; he
is so deep that he doesn't tell you everything in his mind...Alexander, on the other hand,
is naive and cowardly sometimes, but he is growing up and in the end more mature.
Alexander was so straight forward for his love (ONLY Angela) and he chased her for a
month regardless of all the danger. Besides, if you marry him, you would be the queen
and have a happy life ever after. Plus, Alexander, only 17 years old in the fiction, will for
sure grow up into a real man (Tianyin is 27-28 years old already). Therefore if I have to
choose, I may end up marrying Alexander for realistic reasons. Tianyin every so often after marriage...sorry I am greedy.

7- Are you planning to write more books in the future?

Yes, I could not live without writing. I am working on a new contemporary fiction related to
Mafia. Well, it is not the classic Mafia type of story you always see. Or in other words, you don't
have to classify it as a Mafia novel. The story is told from an innovative perspective and it would
lead you to a new world which no other Mafia movie or book has shown. Just like Bridge Across
the Land (Bridge), this new fiction would be a movie written in a book format, with elements of
romance, martial arts, some mind-blowing and more. It is 1/3 finished now and I am taking my
time to write it with my heart. I sincerely hope with my best efforts it would touch you one more
time just like Bridge did.

8- Do you have any advice for writers aiming to become authors?

Don't think about what readers want to read, or how you can publish your book, or how
much money you may or may not earn by writing, or what criticism you would receive.
Just focus on your writing. Write a story for yourself and yourself only. Only a book
that moves yourself could move others. All readers need is a creation with genuine
emotions, produced directly from your soul.

Character Interview:

Alexander- Why didn't you tell Angela that you were the prince in the first place?

At the beginning, my concern was that many girls would date me only because I
was the prince. My royal life was full of rules, and when I escaped from the castle
once a while I wanted to be an ordinary boy, with an ordinary girl. I wanted to taste
the "ordinary" love with Angela, yet I have to say she is not so ordinary in my eyes. Day
after day I felt in love with her, for real. Next I started to conceal my royal identity from
her on purpose, because I am afraid that Angela wouldn't date me anymore if she knew
I was the prince. She would be upset for being deceived and would know I couldn't
marry her for sure.

I guess I was wrong. She qualifies for a princess and I should have told her my identity
in the first place. If so I wouldn't have lost her forever.

Alexander- Do you feel you are disappointing your country? Do you feel like a good

I would rather say I was disappointed of myself. When I was that naive prince, I thought
I was powerful, ambitious and wealthy. However things could change overnight and
I found I was actually weak, timid and lost. If Poland was gone and became part of
Mongolia, I wouldn't know who I am. A clown? Nobody shall be disappointed of the
country. People would only be disappointed of their leader.

I think I learned so much from Mongol's invasion, from my Father's death, and from
Angela. A country is not just a concept but a combination of many many souls. To rule
a country I must first learn human soul. What's our desire and how we act. I will try my
best to be a good ruler and I hope Angela can see a new thriving Poland from another
world. I know she wants that.

Tianyin- What was your first impression of Angela?

When I first saw her, I felt I've known her for thousands of years. She was not a
stranger, absolutely not.

Tianyin- Why did you not tell Angela about Ahling? Were you planning to?

During the journey I constrained myself from liking Angela. She could be the Mongolian
Princess; she could be my foster father's daughter; she could be a liar...However my
heart leaned towards her subconsciously, struggling...The closer I was to Angela the
more guilty I was. I knew I might not live for long so that I didn't want her to commit, but
in the end I realize the further I stay away from her the more pain she feels.

To be honest, it is not until I met Angela that I understood what's real passion. Me and
Ahling were very good soul mates. We had the same goal and common interest. We
traveled together and had many wonderful memories. I thought that was true love, but
when I met Angela I knew I that wasn't. I still felt responsible for Ahling, and sorry for
both women.

I didn't tell Angela about Ahling at the beginning because I wasn't sure who she really
was. I didn't know if I should trust this feeling between us or not. Later, I didn't tell her
because I knew it would hurt her. If I am going to die early, I would cherish all the time
we are together and gave her the hope to continue living. I want her to be happy, at any

(Author saying: Please note that Tianyin doesn't know that Angela would still assassin
her own father after his death. And most importantly, isn't it very common to have 2+
wives at that time, especially when he is a royal prince of China?)

Angela- How did you feel when you first thought that Tianyin was your brother?

I knew he couldn't be. Because I knew Hanyuan was just my foster father and with
that knife my mother left me, I knew I was the Mongolian Princess from the beginning.
However, it was a good opportunity for me to play his sister so he couldn't kill
me...but...if I play for a lifetime I could never develop a closer relationship with him. That
was the only bitter thought there.

Angela- Did you change your mind about Alexander after you found out he was the

I don't care about a man's identity, but I was disappointed when I saw him escaping
from Mongols, leaving me behind. He didn't say a word seeing me ready to be burning
as a witch; he asked me to order Tianyin not to kill him and fled away without looking
back. I was not sure if he really loved me and I felt he cared more about his royal
identity and his life. I wouldn't change my mind only because he was the prince, but I
care if he loves me enough.

In the end he came back for me regardless of all the difficulties. I think he finally realized
what was important in his life. However at that time I was so exhausted to recognize his
change. He was simply too late.

Aling- How do you feel about Angela?

I knew she was not just a passerby. Her watery eyes were full of stories and pain. The
way she holds Tianyin's sword indicates the past. I am a woman and I understand. She
looks stubborn and brave, just like Tianyin. I wasn't sure if she loves Tianyin alone or he
loves her back as well. But either way I would be fine. The only thing I want is to have
my son see his father.

It has been 4 years since I've seen Tianyin last time so I already expect some surprises,
but really, not like this...this girl's knotted words made me think about something terrible.
Something like a forever farewell...I wish she could stay for at least one night so we can
talk, but she ran away quickly.

Baidar-Why didn't you send a messenger to the Great Khan first, so that he would be
alert of any "daughter" coming from the West. Why did you try so hard to stop Tianyin

If I send a messenger what would the Great Khan ask? Maybe "who send Tianyin and
his troop, which would assassin me?" The answer is probably me. I would be accused
at least for being a careless commander. Therefore I chose to kill them before the Great
Khan knows them, and I was confident that given the men I have, it would be fairly

And, that is it! Everyone, go read this book now that you understand what the content is. :3

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Comments really make my day. Don't forget to leave your link below so I can check out your blog as well!