Monday, August 18, 2014

Author Interview: Catherine Aerie and "The Dance of the Spirits"

Today I would like to welcome Catherine Aerie, the author of "The Dance of the Spirits", to the blog. Catherine's new novel takes a look at the Korean War.

02_The Dance of the Spirits

CW: Tell me a bit about the ancestor that inspired "Dance of the Spirits".

CA: My mother was born and raised in an estate which name, when translated into English, literally meant The Garden of Melody. Shortly after the communist takeover, my mother, still a child, remembered how she once saw one of the [indescribably large] family’s young ladies, whose name was only known to her as Big Sister, descend from the stairs and walk out of the door in a military uniform.  Some adults in the household told my mother that the Big Sister was going to war in Korea and she was doing something to honor the family. However, the Big Sister never returned, and the estate was lost as the large family was dispersed.  No one heard what had happened to the young lady.

CW: The Korean War is in the "recent" past for some people. Why do like this period? What would be an important takeaway about the period?

CA: Personally, I found the time period interesting to learn about due to the massive effects that it, as with countless other conflicts of the Cold War, had upon the modern world’s political landscape; not only was Korea was divided into two, but the Chinese Communists were able to demonstrate their power on the world stage, while the remnants of their Nationalist enemies in Taiwan was preserved due to the greater U.S military assistance stimulated by the Korean War. The conflict also drove home to the U.S the theory of a communist-driven domino effect falling across Asia, which would play a key part in motivating the superpower to undertake its eventual campaigns in Indochina.  

I was genuinely moved by the whole United Nations’ effort to enforce the voluntary repatriation program regarding the (especially communist) prisoners of war during the Korean War; by itself, this was a major and bold change especially when compared to the Allied powers handling of surrendering Axis prisoners at the close of World War II, where thousands of Axis prisoners who originally surrendered to the Western Allies were then deported back to the Soviet Union against their will.

CW: Do you have any specific authors or books that you like or that have inspired you?

CA: I’d have to say that my writing influences stem primarily from the language styles of Pearl S. Buck, Margaret Mitchell, and Ernest Hemingway. Some extra mentions can also go to Dr. Otto F. Apel, whose memoirs of his Korean War service served as a major source for my book, and Max Hastings with his excellent overall history of the conflict.

CW: Have you always enjoyed writing or was it a later development in your life?

Yes, I have always enjoyed writing ever since I learned how to read a complete newspaper article as a child. I’ve always wanted to publish my own book.

CW: Lastly, tell us a bit about your writing process.

CA: I tend to start off by drawing a general outline of the plot’s structure, which is modified in response to developments in research. Although, sometimes such ideas or changes simply pop out of thin air at a moment’s notice.  

CW: Thank you for stopping by Catherine!

The Dance of the Spirits

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 Spring 1951: it is the fiery zenith of the Korean War, a war that the youthful US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm and his men thought that they had won until the Chinese swept across the Yalu River. Traveling with the million-man army bent on driving back the march of American imperialism is Jasmine Young, a Chinese surgeon who has volunteered herself into the war for unspoken, grave reasons. Through a chronicle of merciless battles, freezing winters, and the brutality and hypocrisy of human nature, the two will find themselves weaving through the twists and turns of fate and destiny. Though their love is forbidden, their passion and pursuit of liberty cannot be quenched.

Praise for The Dance of the Spirits

"...On the surface, The Dance of the Spirits is a story of love and of war, but on a deeper level, it is a story of the misery that the communist ideology brought to millions of souls in the twentieth century. Whether that philosophy is related to nationalism, internationalism or faith, Catherine Aerie reminds readers that when a system that will entertain no contradiction in thought or deed comes to power, no one is safe -- and no one is free. Aerie draws a vivid picture of war and its price, and a tender image of love..." - Readers' Favorite (5 Stars) "...a love that is stronger than all the horrors that war can throw at them... compelling...poignant... sensitive and beautiful..." - San Francisco Book Reviews (4.5/ Stars) "Adversaries in the Korean War find love in Aerie's debut novel. The story starts in the middle of a firefight... Out of the rubble, two characters emerge: an American officer... and a Chinese military doctor... Their paths cross again and again... In the intimacy of the war, these coincidences don't feel forced, nor even particularly fated--it's just the way things went... Readers will likely find Palm a decent, very human person, but Young has more complexity and vibrancy... As the war rages around them, Palm and Young fall in love... but their romance is ill-starred and open to tragedy. Aerie keeps readers on their toes with the twists...fleeting but intense... An often engaging tale of a flickering moment of love during a forgotten war." - Kirkus Reviews

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Catherine Aerie, a graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a master degree in finance, grew up in China as the daughter of a Shanghai architect. She was inspired to write The Dance of the Spirits while researching a family member�s role in the Korean War, deciding to revive an often neglected and overlooked setting in fiction and heighten the universality of resilient pursuit of love and liberty. Her debut novel was finished after about two years of research. She currently resides in southern California. For more information please visit Catherine Aerie's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Dance of the Spirits Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Spotlight at Mina's Bookshelf Interview at Library Educated Tuesday, August 12 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, August 13 Review at Book Nerd Thursday, August 14 Review at Queen of All She Reads Friday, August 15 Review at JM Ledwell Review at Based on a True Story Spotlight at Passages to the Past Monday, August 18 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes Tuesday, August 19 Review at Book Babe Wednesday, August 20 Review at Unshelfish Spotlight at Princess of Eboli Thursday, August 21 Review & Interview Back Porchervations Friday, August 22 Spotlight at Just One More Chapter


To win a copy of The Dance of the Spirits please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 23rd and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
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