Yes, I actually have a very similar question to what Professor Holtzinger just brought up. in the beginning of part 2, you sort of, that's when you make the jump into, you know, the mystical round. And there's a really interesting passage, for the rest of you, it's on page, the bottom of page 97. Where she sees herself, and she's wondering who the girl is. And I think tha, that's a very, beautifully done part because to me it was the part where it took on the fictional aspect of it. And I was wondering, you know, was that always your plan all along to take creative license and go in to the parts where you could create your own world? Or did you ever plan to just have a discussion about you know, ghost marriages and just keep it in, you know, the real realm of what happened to girls in reality. I just thought that was a very interesting decision to make on your part. To, to open that, can of worms, if you will up and you know create an entirely different world for the book. So I was wondering if that was your plan. >> Well I have to confess to you that I tend to write from the seat of my pants. >> So you know. >> [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] that's, that's sometimes good and its sometimes not good but I actually didn't, I never thought I would be published and I was just sort of writing this book. mostly to entertain family and friends, and the way I write is I was just writing and then I thought oh, that's what happened. Oh, he said that, and then you know, keep going. But I did have a vague. I think I had a vague sense that she was going to die anyway because. Oh, have we lost audio? Oh, no. Sorry. So I had a sense that she was gone have to die and move out of her current world, because her current world was very stifling. I think your question has brought up a great point because this book could have gone many different ways. And in fact, I actually had one agent who told me to sort of, who said, why don't you get rid of all these extra ghosts and things, and just make a very period historical novel. and to me I thought that was less interesting because there's a lot, in some ways it's somewhat of a cliche. There are many books about very unhappy Asian women who are trapped in arranged marriages. And I, I didn't really feel [LAUGH] like I wanted to go there [LAUGH]. So and you know going back to the idea of parallel worlds, to me it is very ironic that it is only by dying, that she becomes free. But, there's a, there's a terrible price to be paid for this because Chinese are very superstitious. Things to do with death, the dead, it's all it all goes back to this idea of being clean and unclean or being tainted and not tainted. And the fact that she enters this go, ghost world, is not considered good. It, it's, it's actually a bad thing for her. So, I thought you know that was an interesting way to play with it, but. Yeah, I did always think that she was going to die at some point. I just wasn't sure whether, you know as I was writing it I was, I wasn't sure whether she'd come back to life [LAUGH] again. So, that was the, that was the part I was unsure of. >> And Mary, you had a question. >> [COUGH] >> You wanted to bring up. >> sure. so, the Sumat, supernatural elements of the book were so vividly imagined and you touched on this in your introductory talk and we've also sort of hit on it before. But, the concept of a ghost marriage is so interestingly [SOUND] cultural even in a present day sense, it seems. but I'm just wondering looking at it as a class you know. We're rating this as a historical fiction, a work of historical fiction. What, if any. >> [COUGH] >> Materials were you able to find that sort of allowed you to create this character in this world. >> [COUGH] >> Of a ghost bride and a ghost marriage? >> you know well there is a lot of material in terms of stories. You know so, growing up in Malaysia most of my relatives and friends. As I mentioned, I had this friend. I was just talking to him about this book. And he's like oh, no, no this happened in my family. So, it's pretty common in the region. I think a lot of people in South-east Asia have heard the concept of ghost marriages. They are, very rare. They're uncommon. but they when they occur, they are talked about. And actually you know I did find some historical examples in which you know they might note in the newspaper, such and such a spirit marriage happened on the, you know, whatever date. It would be announced, sometimes, like a wedding was announced. and you know, curiously enough it still occurs today. They, I actually found some modern day newspaper articles in which ghost marriages are, are occurring in China. and then like I said there are many variations to this. In fact across the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia there are huge variations. For example, when I talked to Taiwanese friends, they were also very familiar with this. They said, for example, if you go to Taiwan and you find a, a hoompou, which is, you know, these lucky red envelopes that people often give money in, and it's lying on the ground. They say, please don't pick it up because it might be a ghost marriage. They''ll say that whoever picks it up is the. >> [COUGH] >> Is the unlucky spouse of a ghost [LAUGH], so But interestingly enough, when I spoke to some friends from Mainland China, at least the ones who lived in cities, they said that they were not aware of this custom at all. So my suspicion is that, you know, the Communist Party in China probably discourage practices like this because it is considered Folk superstition. but now that China's sort of loosening up, there are these articles of ghost marriages which happen in outlying Provinces. And they're actually grave robbing for these marriages, which, I was very surprised about. the ghost wedding that I was familiar with, you don't, you just need the permission of both sides parents in order to have the marriage. but in Mainland China, partly they're exhuming bodies of young women, so that they're, and they're being either sold or they're trafficked so they can be brides to these young men who have died with no wife. So, it is it is still happening nowadays. It'll be interesting to see where it goes in future. >> Prior to that day I question for you based on a passage on page 50 in our edition, [NOISE] towards the middle of the second paragraph. [NOISE] And it's I believe it's displaying the novelist, the first time that Luan enters the spirit world in a dream sequence. And toward the middle of that second paragraph it says. There was an enormous kitchen filled with pots and pans and heaps of food piled on the tables. And even a scholar study, complete with reams of paper and graduated se, sets of wolf fair writing brushes. When I examined the books and scrolls, however, they were blank inside. >> [COUGH] >> Everything was staged, as though for a grand performance. And though nothing ever seemed to happen, I felt a constant knot of tension in my stomach. that passage stood out to me for a number of reasons, and I think the part that really grabbed my attention was the reference of the, the books and the scrolls. Particularly in relationship [SOUND] to food and so we have these, funeral offerings. >> [COUGH] >> Is what you described to me. [UNKNOWN] very, very beautiful elaborate setup. But, [UNKNOWN] very repulsive to her because she feels very much alive and shes like looking at [UNKNOWN] for a dead person and so in this change I think sort of gothic way. The familiar has been rendered really uncanny and sort of strange moment. But things get really weird I think when she opens up the books and she sees they're empty inside. And so, I was wondering, you know, what that might be about, if you could even shed some light on that. I think in, a lot of ways it kind of ties into that idea of theatricality, I think that line there that says, everything was [SOUND] staged as though for a grand performance. And so there seems to be. A layer of artifice there on the surface, but in this custom and culture it seemed very real at the same [UNKNOWN]. So there's this very sort of strange. >> [COUGH] >> Paradox, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but I'd love your thoughts on that. >> Oh, you know, I think that's a great question, and I think that speaks, to the nature of these paper funeral goods. So if you have ever seen them, they give you a strange feeling. They are very elaborate. They're brightly colored. They look like folk art. so when I was a child, I helped my grandmother fold, for example, paper ingots. And it's sort of origami for the dead. You're making these little facsimiles and they sell, and they, in fact they sell sheets of paper which are gold and silver that you fold. They actually look like little ingots and they pile them up as well. and besides that they make very elaborate things. In fact, there's an entire cottage industry of making paper goods for the dead. Which, actually makes me think about the Egyptians. You know, if you look at, if you go to the museum you see all these little figurines of workers and things like that. It is very similar for the Chinese afterlife. except everything is made of paper because it's meant to be burned. And, there are, I mean they used to be more but there are workshops which make these elaborate structures. So for example, for funerals or for public things like you know hungry ghost month. Like a community, like your local community might get together and say, we're going to commission. and I just saw this in Singapore, a hostel for the dead. So, they got these workmen to make these enormous basically a hotel for the dead, and it was, I think it was about eight feet wide, and maybe six feet tall. And it was a completely ela, if you could think of the most elaborate paper Dolls' house, that was what it was like. The in, internal structure is made of reeds, so that it can be burned. And so when you see the you may see them making these miniature buildings with scaffolding, and then they'll put paper on top of it, and it's all very bright, very detailed. And in through the windows, they put paper servants, and there are small pa, there was a paper dining table, paper chairs, eh, paper shoes for the dead. Flowers you know ornaments, so it is as you know mentioned it is at the same time it is weird. It is attractive in the way that children's toys are attractive. Like if you had kids and they went by they would be completely fascinated by this entire miniature world of the dead. And at the same time it is repulsive because it is taboo. It is for the dead, and you know as I, I mentioned Chinese are very superstitious. Things to do with death am not good. So, to me I always, perhaps the book in some ways reflects my childhood feelings about these things, which look like toys and are so colorful. And yet you are told, you must not touch it. You must [SOUND] not play with it. It is for the spirits. And, actually, we also see lots of other creepy things. For example >> [COUGH] >> You often see a feast for the dead during the time of the hungry ghost, they'll lay out an entire, in the community. >> [COUGH] >> Centers and things like that, they'll have an entire banquet table. It'll be all laid out. But, please don't ever seat there [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] like don't take a seat at that table, it's for the dead. They'll make things like cars, like life sized or half life sized paper cars, and usually Mercedes Benz, you know, the dead like luxury goods. [LAUGH] So and I had a, a friend, who said that when her grandmother died, they actually burned because she liked shopping, they burned helicopter pad for her, and a helicopter, and a paper Ferrari. So, you see, it's a [LAUGH], it's an attempt to provide for people. And it is this juxaibish, juxtaposition of you know like things that people covet. Luxury goods, together with the idea that it is, taboo. It is for the dead. It's is this weird juxtaposition that I think I was getting at in the book. and it is at the same time very theatrical. Very artificial because it does feel like a performance. >> [CROSSTALK] Well [COUGH] I was relieved when you said at the beginning that you intentionally made the second half of the book feel faster paced, because there were certainly moments as we entered into the spirit world [INAUDIBLE] that I thought what's going on? I mean who are, what, what are, what is this setting? Who are these people? And I think, you know it is intentional and also. I'm just interested to hear how you constructed that world in your mind. I mean, how did you come up with a concept of a puppet ghost, and how did you keep track of, of all the different elements between the [UNKNOWN] of the dead, and the spirit world, and the real world. I just, it, it was very complicated. I mean, intensely enjoyable to read, but also so complicated, I can imagine, to write. So, could you tell us a little bit about, about the process of imagining that? >> yes. well, I'm glad to hear it was enjoyable. [LAUGH] as I said, I tend to write by the seat of my pants. And when things are going well, they're going well, when they're bad, it's bad. [SOUND] so it actually took me three years in total to write this book, and one of those years I was actually a fallow year in which I did nothing. because I got to a certain stage and I realized, wait a minute, there's too many subplots and then, there's just too many balls up in the air and I, and I just thought, oh. I'll just put this in the drawer for the time being. [LAUGH] So, but because I was just writing for myself, which was I think, now I look back on it, it was a great luxury. I enjoyed it. and I, I didn't really think about, the story came to me and I, I wrote it down. I'm sorry it's a bit vague. I'd love to tell you that I planned everything out. >> [LAUGH] >> I do actually know, I do have friends who are writers, and they are really wonderful. They have these notebooks, which are you know, it's all planned out. And they'll say, in Chapter 1 this happened, in Chapter 5 this happened, et cetera. but I tend to write just by, by sort of this vague feeling. you know, and I think you'll find yourself as you write wha, what your own writing style is like.