Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Chinese Spymaster by Hock G. Tjoa: Interview


The Chinese Spymaster
by Hock G. Tjoa

Genre: Spy Thriller/Espionage

, 220 pages

Published October 1st 2013 by Createspace

Book Description

Chinese Intelligence uncovers a North Korean trying to sell a nuclear device. Then they find five other dealers trying to do the same. The buyer is the same in every case--the Pashtuns. Is this a "Pashtun Spring"? A realignment of geopolitical power in Central Asia? A resurgence of Islamist terrorism? In order to anticipate and confront these threats, Spymaster Wang must negotiate through bureaucratic rivalries, as well as personal ambitions, at home and abroad. He reaches for ancient insight into strategies and unorthodox alliances. But the struggle he must undertake cannot cease, and the outcome always remains in doubt. The Spymaster must also confront a vendetta within the Party as well as the determination of his Old Friends and their wives to make him a "match."

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Q & A with Hock G. Tjoa
Q:  Tell us about your main characters.
The main characters are Wang and his principal assistants Hu and Tang, his political rival Commissar Jiang, the North Korean Kim, and the British spy-mistress Penelope Cecil. But there are others who are important also as this is not a James Bond or Jason Bourne thriller; it is the world that Wang inhabits even if he is not in the scene.

Q:  What do you consider influences on your writing?

I enjoy reading Austen, Chekov, Lawrence Durrell, Larry McMurtry, Tolstoy, etc. but I have never considered modelling my writing on any of those greats. Other influences are the attitudes towards life of certain traditions; these do not emphasize individual heroism so much as individual responsibility. They also tend to see the world as spinning just beyond human control without saying that we should therefore not try to influence it.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
Do it yourself (I am not recommending it for everybody else).

Q:  What do you keep yourself busy with when you're not writing?
I participate in community drama and worry too much about my grown up daughters.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think it was either to be a high school science teacher or a minister.

Q:  If you could have one superpower, what would you choose and why?
I have always wanted the ability to fly or to be where I have to be instantaneously.

Q:  Physical books (hard/paperbacks) or ebooks?

Q:  What book are you reading now?
The Broker - in audible format. Listening to a reading of a book helps me fall asleep.

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About Hock G. Tjoa

Hock G. Tjoa was born to Chinese parents and studied history at Brandeis and Harvard. He taught European history and Asian political thought at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and has published George Henry Lewes, a Victorian Mind, "The social and political ideas of Tan Cheng Lock" and various articles in the Newsletter of the China History Forum. He is married and lives with his family in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. He published in 2010 "The Battle of Chibi (Selections from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms)" that he had translated, and in 2011, "Heaven is High and the Emperor Far Away, A Play" that he translated and adapted from Lao She's Teahouse. Both are part of his project to make more widely known traditional Chinese values.






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