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Vail Valley books: Shanghai sentiments

Nicole Magistro
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyAuthor Lisa See will be in the Vail Valley Wednesday
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –To many, she’s got everything a writer could ask for – bestselling novels, millions of adoring fans, a movie deal in the works. She’s a proud mother, a sought-after speaker, and community leader. But for Lisa See, there’s one obstacle she hasn’t yet overcome – a total remodel.

“Years ago we gutted the whole house until we got to the door of our bedroom, and then we ran out of money,” she says from her home in Los Angeles.

So last week she packed up the closets and moved the furniture, and they’ve finally gotten to the master suite. But while dust flies in California, See’s mind will be focused on a trip to the mountains.



“I am so looking forward to Colorado,” she says. “This time I’ve been going so hard for so long, I plan to do nothing.”

But not entirely, because she’s making appearances to promote her newest novel, “Shanghai Girls,” including one at The Bookworm this Wednesday evening. And she’ll admit to bringing some research files on the vacation, too.



“I know myself. I wouldn’t mind thinking about the plot for the next book.”

On the heels of the release of “Shanghai Girls,” her fastest and bestselling novel so far, See already has plans for its continuation. And while the more contemporary story of sisters leaving Shanghai for 20th century arranged marriages in the United States had some people worried, See’s readers readily embraced the departure from more ancient settings.

“There was a certain amount of worry that people wouldn’t read this book because it didn’t take place in China,” she reflects. But as it turns out, readers were excited to learn about Chinese immigration, including the story of Angel Island. “A lot of people are saying they learned more about American history than they ever knew.”



The forthcoming book, yet untitled and set to be released in 2011, will pick up exactly where “Shanghai Girls” comes to a close. The main characters, Pearl and May, will spend plenty of time in China, but See feels no pressure to write the sequel that readers might expect.

“The only person that I am writing for is myself,” she says, shying away from the pressure of trying to deliver another blockbuster novel. “I only think of how can I make the story the truest and the best for me because it’s like a marriage, it’s there forever. You can’t get a divorce from your book.”

This comes as great advice to aspiring writers looking for role models big and small.

And while it took the experience of writing less popular books first, including the Red Princess mystery series as well as a set of co-authored titles with her mother (reviewer and writer Carolyn See), this novelist feels it is the only philosophy to embrace.

“For me [success] has been a gradual thing that has happened over many years,” she says. “I don’t take it for granted every time something good happens.”

Nicole Magistro co-owns The Bookworm of Edwards.

What: Meet the Author Lisa See

When: Wednesday, at 6 p.m.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, Riverwalk

Tickets: $20 include wine and appetizers

More info: Call 926-READ or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com


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