It is a thrill to host the amazing Grace Lin for an author interview today. Her beautiful new novel, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (to be released July 1st), is part fairy tale, part epic journey and is in my view, absolutely perfect. It’s the story of Minli, a young girl who leaves her family to travel to find the Old Man of the Moon, hoping he holds the secret to changing their fortune. Why don’t we start off with the book trailer:
Grace’s book is full of fables, adventure and magical creatures, not to mention stunning full-colour illustrations. Take a look at a few of them:
Hard to believe that the book is filled with illustrations as gorgeous as this. So let’s get to the interview! Welcome Grace!
One of the themes in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the idea that while stories cost nothing, they have infinite value. Could you comment on this theme, and how it plays a role in your story?
In “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” the Old Man of the Moon talks about how everyone who meets are connected by a red thread. To me, those red threads, those connections are the stories we share. Stories as fascinating as a harrowing rescue or as inane as trying to find a parking spot—they are how we share our lives.
A while ago, when one of my friend’s grandfather passed away I remember him saying one of his biggest regrets was not asking more about his grandfather’s experiences. “Now, those stories are gone,” he said. And the poignancy of this statement, the realization that we encapsulate our life, share our memories and connect with stories is what makes them invaluable.
And this is, of course, one of the themes in the book. Ma (the mother) first disdains the stories that Ba (the father) tells, but as the story progresses it is the sharing of stories that help bring them together and makes her slowly reevaluate what she thought was valuable.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon shows readers that reaching a destination is not only about having an objective, it’s also about having faith along the way. How has the journey of writing your novel led you in unexpected directions? What surprising things happened to you along the way?
Well, writing “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” was particularly emotional to me. I wrote about half of the book before my late husband, who had been ill with cancer for many years, passed. I felt a deep regret that I was unable to finish it before he died and was unsure if I would continue. But my good friend, Janet Wong said to me, “No, it is better this way. If you had finished it before, you would’ve felt like everything had to stay exactly the same. Now, you can feel like you have the ability to change.” Which was completely true and a revelation to me, not only for my book, but for my life.
If you were given the chance to choose a creature to keep you company every day and convey wisdom, would you choose: a) a dragon, b) a goldfish, or c) a faithful water buffalo?
I think I would choose the goldfish– it is the most peaceful, and there is something rather poetic about a goldfish in a bowl. I always feel inspired by brilliant colored fish. The dragon is tempting, but I think would cause too much attention from the neighbors and feeding a water buffalo would be a headache in the city. Ha ha.