Love and Death in Shanghai
Elizabeth J. Hall
Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share a fabulous Q&A with Elizabeth J. Hall, author of Love and Death in Shanghai! Today Elizabeth will be talking about her path to publication, her writing rituals and the inspiration behind her new novel! But first here is a little bit more about the book and its lovely author:
About the Book
Shanghai 1924. Sam Shuttleworth joins the Municipal Police to escape his working class roots in Lancashire. He is looking for good pay, adventure and beautiful women.
Shanghai is torn by gang warfare, political instability and violence. After erotic affairs, and seeking stability, he marries his glamorous Russian lover. The relationship is tumultuous, with infidelities on both sides.
In the 1930s, Japan invades China and moves into Shanghai with consequent pillage, rape and cruelty. Sam has to negotiate between warring sides, and wonders if he will ever find peace amidst the chaos of his relationships and the bloody events of his career.
To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below
About Elizabeth J. Hall
Elizabeth J.Hall works in politics in the UK. Love and Death in Shanghai, her debut novel was inspired by the life and death of her uncle who worked in the Shanghai Municipal Police in the 1920s and 30s. Elizabeth’s first memory is of her mother crying when she received a telegram reporting his assassination.
Elizabeth lives in East Sussex with her husband. After a degree in French, she trained as a teacher with a particular interest in social and health education. She worked in the USA, West Africa and London before becoming a consultant, developing programmes of health education abroad, including Central Asia and Russia.
Elizabeth’s website is http://www.elizabethjhall.com/
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your path to publication?
I have always been a great reader and had ideas for writing but too busy to do anything about it! I decided to do two courses on short story writing and did write some short stories. One was published and one won a prize. I then decided to tackle a novel based on a slice of family history and became completely hooked on research for the story and getting it down.
Do you plan your books beforehand or do you write and see where it takes you?
I have a plan in my head but then I just see where that takes me. Another idea seems to come along and I follow it, then I edit! I might then cut out much of what I have written! And rewrite…..
Do you have any writing rituals?
I always start writing with an enormous cup of tea beside me!
What was the inspiration behind Love and Death in Shanghai?
Love and Death in Shanghai had to be written. It is a fictionalised account of a story which has been around for a long time. My mother had a brother who, in 1924, went off to Shanghai to join the Shanghai Municipal Police in order to escape his working class roots and unemployment in the north of England. My mother had a collection of glamorous photos of his Russian wife and of him looking very fine in uniform. It ended badly with the invasion of Shanghai by the Japanese in 1941, and his death. My mother could never trace what happened to his wife and daughter. In the course of research, I did.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I said wanted to be a writer when I was about 7. Other things took over – University, marriage, family, career. I suddenly knew that I had to do it.
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
I might still be a budding author myself! But all I would say is that writing is wonderful, but hard work!
Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite authors stretch from the classics – Austen, Wolf, Hardy and so on to the contemporary – I have recently read, and enjoyed, George Saunders and other modern American fiction. I like Louise Erdrich, Philip Roth, Maya Angelou and a host of others. UK wise, I enjoy Ali Smith, Sarah Moss, Graham Swift.
How long did it take you to write Love and Death in Shanghai?
About 5 years with a couple of longish breaks due to crises!
Are you working on a new novel now?
This is my first novel. I did think of expanding a short story – perhaps based on Lancashire, about the nature of growing up and exploring life and love. But the short story has a different form and requires, I think, a different approach. Who know what next?
In three words, can you describe Love and Death in Shanghai?
In three words I would say that Love and Death in Shanghai is sexy, brutal and finally redeeming.
That was fabulous!
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Huge thanks to Anne Cater and Elizabeth J. Hall for the blog tour invite and fabulous Q&A!!