By Linda Schroeder
My book is a combination of inspiration and the thoughtful development of characters and plot. For the first draft I sat down with a general idea of what needed to happen on the page and simply started to write. In that process, little bursts of inspiration set up character relationships and plot turns. So the writing process itself was one of inspiration—a lot of ideas float around in my head and coalesce while I am at the keyboard.
However, the primary inspiration, “I should write a book about this,” happened on a gray rainy day in San Francisco. I had flown in from San Diego for a Tai Chi seminar in Golden Gate Park. I had done this many times before with no problem but this time the plane was late because of the stormy weather. When I got to a soggy Golden Gate Park, the airport shuttle driver said, “You really want to get out here? I can take you anywhere else.” But I was sure the Chinese master would be there. He always was.
He wasn’t. At least, I couldn’t find him or any of the other students. They must have found a dry spot somewhere else or had the sense not to venture out in the rain to begin with. So, with no umbrella (no one in San Diego even knows what an umbrella is), I walked to the first dry place I could find, The Asian Art Museum. I headed for the restroom, pulled some dry clothes from my overnight bag and changed.
I am a student of Chinese art and, when I was dry, decided it actually was a very fortunate thing to be in a museum with beautiful art. Chinese carved figures, bronze bowls, porcelain, jade hair pins, tortoise shell combs often come from the tombs of the wealthy and are preserved underground for thousands of years. They are very personal items. I stood in front of a glass case looking at a bronze bowl and thought, there is someone’s intimate story connected to this bowl. What is that story? Who commissioned the ancient artist to make this bowl? Why was it so precious that it was buried with someone?
So that was the inspiration. An ancient Chinese bowl, very important to a rich someone in the past. My story brings an ancient bowl into the present and makes it very important to a modern Chinese artist.
I love San Francisco. And obstacles to perfectly planned days. Great for inspirations.
Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.
Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.
Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.
You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.
ABOUT ARTISTS AND THIEVES
Winner of the 2011 San Diego Book Awards, Action/Suspense category
Where there is art, there are thieves.
Mai Ling is both. Artist by day, thief by night, she recovers stolen art for Interpol. It’s a business, not a passion, until her beloved grandfather reveals a family secret that is also a destiny. He is duty-bound to return to China an especially precious bowl which belonged to his ancestor. Mai must steal it for him.
But Mai Ling is not the only one after the bowl. Four others plan to extract the bowl from a private California art collection. The rival thieves grasp and then lose the bowl until finally Mai is faced with the ultimate dilemma: save the bowl or save herself. Her duty to her grandfather gives her only one choice.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Monterey Peninsula and peopled with quirky characters, this stylish art caper entertains on every page.