The Bookworm in Edwards to host bestselling author Lisa See on Tuesday
IF YOU GO …
Who: Lisa See, author “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.”
When: Tuesday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
Where: The Bookworm of Edwards.
Cost: $10, includes appetizers.
More information: Call 970-926-READ, or visit www.bookwormofedwards.com.
“The book starts with ‘no coincidence, no story.’ For me, there was one coincidence that kept leading me forward,” said author Lisa See.
On Tuesday, meet the bestselling author at The Bookworm of Edwards and hear how a coincidence led her to write her most recent book, “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.”
See’s 11th book dives into the history and culture of Pu’re farmers in the remote Yunnan village in China. The story follows the relationship of a Chinese mother and her daughter that was adopted by an American couple.
“Once I decided to write about Pu’re tea and the farmers, I planned my trip to China,” See said about the birth of the book, “However, all of the research went out the window once I became focused on the Ahka people.”
Traveling through the Yunnam village allowed See to visit and talk with numerous families, learn in their homes and visit their tea farms.
“I was with people in the tea business which made it easier to travel. However, the Ahka people don’t have a tradition of knocking on the door,” See said. “We would stop at a house, walk in and soon we would be drinking their tea, they would be asking us to stay for lunch, then they would go out back and kill a chicken.”
‘Strip away society’
See spent her trip interacting with the Ahka village, drinking tea all day long and listening to the stories — especially of one young female.
“While drinking tea, a young woman, Ahbu, started telling me stories of her family and village elders. She reminded me very much of myself. With her alone, I took 30 pages of notes,” See said.
After spending a few days with Ahbu’s family, See returned to the United States to embark in a different level of research.
“When I returned I researched more about the Ahka people; how they lived, what was it like in 1988, 2000, when the bubble burst. Then I wanted to look at the Ahka in a bigger way,” See said.
Working through the ancient customs of the Ahka people, See became to understand why customs existed and birthed a new story from their harsh reality.
Her story follows the adopted daughter, Hayley, as she grows up trying to understand her family’s history and culture while navigating through a young adult life.
From the beginning of the book the reader is introduced to the Pu’re tea-farming history, to the one-child policy in China, foreign adoption and family sacrifices. The book highlights a rural Chinese story while allowing readers to experience a new culture for themselves.
“When you strip away society, culture and conditions, you have mothers, fathers, husbands and wives,” See said, “that all have the same relationships and emotions, love and jealously. That’s the place I am writing from — what I hope people see is that what we have in common is universal.”