Interview with Lisa Brackmann, author of Dragon Day
25 Sep 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Dragon Day.
DRAGON DAY is the third installment of the Ellie McEnroe series set in China that began with ROCK PAPER TIGER. While it may not be the last, DRAGON DAY wraps up some plot threads that began in RPT and continued through the second book, HOUR OF THE RAT. The books deal with the misadventures of Ellie McEnroe, a young, accidental Iraq War vet who lives in Beijing and gets involved with a dissident Chinese artist and frequently finds herself in dangerous situations well above her pay grade. In DRAGON DAY, Ellie gets tangled up with an extremely powerful – and occasionally homicidal – Shanghai billionaire who wants her to investigate his spoiled son’s shady American business partner. Of course, things don’t go the way Ellie would like, someone ends up dead, and Ellie gets sucked into a huge scandal involving members of China’s rich and powerful elite. You can read more about the book and about some of the real-life inspirations for the story here.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
What’s something you’re truly terrible at doing?
Walking in high heels. I’m not even going to try. I’ve turned into the new millennium version of the embarrassing gray-haired hippy woman walking around in Birkenstocks – except I’m wearing those creepy Vibram toe shoes.
Who is your favorite fictional character from literature?
Something else I’m truly terrible at doing – choosing “favorites,” “bests,” “worsts” etc. I just don’t have a memory that maintains those kinds of lists. I’m drawing a total blank here.
You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite anyone, alive or dead, fictional or real. Who’s coming to dinner?
Uh oh, another “list question.” I think I mentioned that I suck at list questions. Okay. In no particular order, and this is nearly totally random, because honestly, if you said to me, “Hey! How ‘bout if I invite So-And-So and What’s-her-name” to dinner,” I’d be like, “Sure! I’ve always thought So-And-So and What’s-her-name” sounded interesting!” Anyway, I’m going to go with real people who have passed away.
Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China. Helen Foster Snow, Edgar Snow’s first wife. She also went to Yan’an when it was the Red Army HQ during the Second World War. Maybe Gertrude Bell, who I know very little about but who was a female adventurer at a time when that was a difficult thing to be. Tony Gwynn and Ken Caminiti, because they are two of my favorite Padres, and they died too young. Thomas Jefferson. Susan B. Anthony. Rachel Carson. I don’t know, this is too hard! Could you just invite me to your dinner instead?
What’s on your writing desk?
My laptop. An ergonomic mouse. Random novels. A Swiss Army knife. Kleenex. Some fitness bands. And a really good San Diego IPA.
Where is your happy place? Why does it bring you joy?
Truthfully there are so many. Around Mission Bay and the beach not far from my house. Balboa Park. The backyard on a beautiful day (most of them are here). Driving along the California coast. There are many places in China that give me joy – the mountains and rivers of Yangshuo, the incredible wild beauty of Guizhou, the hipster mountain town vibe of Dali.
But right now, I’m going to say the ballpark. We have a wonderful ballpark in San Diego, Petco Park. The concourses are open and airy, there are wonderful views of the city, the Park at the Park has a statue of Tony Gwynn. The moment I walk through a passage from the concourse and see the baseball diamond spread out in front of me, I’m happy.
What’s your favorite quote from Dragon Day?
“Dragons and China. It’s the biggest fucking cliché.”
Do you have a favorite local bookstore we can give a shoutout to?
The fabulous Mysterious Galaxy. They are so incredibly supportive of writers and readers and of the community in general.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Will I need to set an alarm, or can I sleep in?
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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.