on the money
Kevin Kwan talks Rich People Problems, the third novel in his Crazy Rich Asians series and our Book of the Month
Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy gets its final instalment – and it’s a must-read.
EVEN BEFORE I STARTED WRITING
I already knew the THE FIRST BOOK, whole story I wanted to tell. It was always my intention for things to ramp up to an even crazier, richer level from book to book and to travel through different parts of Asia. So the “conceiving” part really was a 15-year gestation period... between the time I graduated from university to the point when I began writing the first book.
I was a creative BEFORE I STARTED WRITING MY NOVELS, consultant specialising in the design and luxury industry. From a very early age, I’ve been lucky enough to witness some amazing shopping sprees and be surrounded by people with impeccable style. So the book’s design details come naturally. For me, an essential part of the storytelling is to capture fully the environments my characters inhabit. If Rachel, the heroine, enters the drawing room of some spectacular mansion, I want readers to experience what she’s
experiencing. What does this space look like? What is the art on the walls? What are other people wearing? What are they eating? THE STORIES ARE A MIX OF MEMORIES
that are far closer AND EXPERIENCES to real life than most people can imagine. In Asia, readers tend to consider my books almost as if they are non-fiction, because they see so much of the outrageousness that occurs in that world every day. Readers in other parts of the world are the ones who say, “This cannot be real.” I do escalate a few details here and there, mainly for comic effect, but the truth is I often have to tone down the stories and details to make them more believable. Nothing in my books is fake – yes, there really are private jets outfitted with massage rooms on board. Yes, there really is a doctor in Singapore who specialises in facelifts for pet fish. In Asia, truth is always stranger than fiction.
Rich People Problems ($29.99, Doubleday) is out now