Qiu Xiaolong is the author of the award-winning Inspector Chen series of mystery novels, Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), Red Mandarin Dress (2007), and The Mao Case (2009). He is also the author of two books of poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and Evoking T’ang (2007), and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China (2003). Qiu’s books have sold over a million copies and have been published in 20 languages. He was born in Shanghai and currently lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.
Why I write
Many reasons I can list. Among others, books make a difference for me. So I wish mine could make a difference for others.
Do you write every day? If so, how many hours?
Yes, when I do not travel. Averagely, five or six hours.
Worst source of distraction?
Any distraction is terrible distraction.
Best source of inspiration?
How often do you get writers’ block/doubt your own ability?
If you mean how often I get writer’s block, practically none. There are so many things happening in China, I always have something to write.
Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
If you mean someone I follow all the time, none.
Favorite Chinese writer?
Best book about China?
Dream of the Red Chamber.
The Waste Land.
The book you should have read but haven’t?
One Hundred Years of Solitude.
You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
How could I have done that?
Does writing change anything?
Yes, of course. Inspector Chen loves to quote Auden, “Poetry makes nothing happen,” but it does.