Here is further information on the book and author:
About The Ghosts of Nagasaki:
Nagasaki was a place full of spirits, a garrulous Welsh roommate, and a lingering mystery.
Somehow he must finish the story of four years ago--a story that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a dead Japanese writer, and a mysterious island. He must solve this mystery while maneuvering the hazards of middle management, a cruel Japanese samurai, and his own knowledge that if he doesn't solve this mystery soon his heart will transform into a ball of steel, crushing his soul forever. Though he wants to give up his writing, though he wants to let the past rest, within his compulsive writing lies the key to his salvation.
About Daniel Clausen:
Daniel Clausen has been writing short stories, novels, and essays since he was in elementary school. His short stories have been published in Slipstream Magazine, Spindrift, Leading Edge, and Zygote in my Coffee, among other venues. He has published two other books: The Sage and the Scarecrow (a novel) and The Lexical Funk (a short story collection/ word bonanza). The Ghosts of Nagasaki is his third book and is loosely based on his experiences living in Nagasaki, Japan.
A Short Interview with Daniel Clausen:
1.) The Ghosts of Nagasaki is loosely base on your experiences in Nagasaki. What is it about the city that gripped you and wouldn't let go?
I guess the first thing that shocked me about Nagasaki is that the people are very nice. People in Japan have a reputation for being nice, but even in Japan Nagasaki has a reputation for having nice people. It was very evident when I first got there. For this reason, it's the perfect landscape to reform someone as cynical as the novel's main character. Nagasaki is also known as a "peace city" because of its activism against nuclear weapons. Again, this makes it a perfect place to reform a die hard cynic like the main character.
The other part of Nagasaki that made it perfect for a novel is its perplexing geography. As the site of Portuguese missionaries, and as one of the few places in Japan with heavy Christian influences, Nagasaki has some very beautiful churches. Often these churches sit side-by-side with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. And then, of course, there is the site of the nuclear bomb blast--which happened to hit right next to one of Nagasaki's biggest churches.
I should also mention that many people in Nagasaki believe in ghosts. So, there you go.
But, on a personal level, the thing that wouldn't let me go in Nagasaki was the countryside. I would love walking in the countryside.
2.) I'm going to take your suggestion and ask about the Samurai Inoue. How does he fit into your story?
Have you ever had that boss you just couldn't stand? Did that boss just happened to be a little overweight and drunk off his little bit of middle-management power? Did that boss then suddenly transmute into a character from a 1960s Japanese novel? Well, this one does. In the novel Silence, Inoue and other samurai are less like warriors and more like petty bureaucrat fat cats, slightly overweight and jolly--all while the peasants slowly starve to death.
My friend Christian Bocquee (www.christianbocquee.com) was nice enough to draw an illustration of Inoue for me (http://ghostsofnagasaki.com/2012/07/16/enter-the-bureaucrat-samurai-inoue-ghosts-of-nagasak/). I'm hoping that if the book does well enough, I can get Christian to illustrate the whole books with about two or three illustrations a chapter.
3.) And finally, what caused you to write The Ghosts of Nagasaki?
Causation is tricky. The easy answer is that the ghosts told me to do it.
Thank you so much for answering my questions!
The Ghosts of Nagasaki: A Novel New Novel Explores Pain, Memory, and Spirituality in the Backdrop of Nagasaki, Japan
The numerous workdays have taken a toll on Tokyo investment banker, Pierce Williams. Each day he wakes up, and each day the weight where his heart should be grows heavier. One morning, without knowing why, he sits down at his desk and begins typing something. Soon he realizes that without meaning to he has begun typing the story of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago. As he types he begins to realize that the words on his screen are more than he could have imagined. Instead of simply remembering the past he is reliving it in ways that fundamentally alter his present. In his manic writing are the ghosts of his past, a chilling vision of his future, and the possible key to his salvation. Somehow he must solve the mystery of four years ago. A mystery that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a native writer, and an oppressive bureaucrat/samurai bent on crushing his spirit.
Daniel Clausen’s fiction has been published in Slipstream Magazine, Zygote in my Coffee, Leading Edge Magazine, and Spindrift, among other venues.
Mr. Clausen’s novel is loosely based on his experiences in Nagasaki, Japan. For the author, Nagasaki is not just anyplace—it’s a rich landscape of striking contrasts. As the second city hit by the nuclear bomb during World War II, the city has a history of pain and hardship. Out of this history, however, Nagasaki has developed as a bastion of peace activism. As the first place in Japan to open to outsiders, Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, it is one of the few places in Japan where Christianity was able to take root. And yet, the persecution of Christians during the Edo period has left scars that have yet to fade.
It’s in this landscape that we find the novel’s protagonist, Pierce Williams. He arrives in Nagasaki as an English teacher haunted by the death of his foster mother. It’s only through the help of Nagasaki’s haunted landscape that he is able to discover the roots of his trauma and forge a path toward his salvation.
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