HOW DID MING­MEI CONCEIVE THE WITCH'S MAR­KET?

Storizen Magazine - - Cover Story -

I was in­spired to write my 7th novel The Witch’s Mar­ket based on two in­ci­dents. About three years ago I read an ar­ti­cle by my fa­vorite Chi­nese au­thor Echo about her trip to the Witches’ Mar­ket in Bo­livia. Though the ar­ti­cle was short, some­how the ti­tle ca­pered my imag­i­na­tion and I de­cided to write a whole novel about the witches’ mar­ket – when I had no idea what this novel would be about.

How­ever, in­stead of set­ting my novel in Bo­livia, I de­cided to make it hap­pen on the Ca­nary Is­lands. These seven is­lands are guarded by god­desses who are also safe keep­ers for the hid­den golden ap­ples of Aphrodite. Sailors seek­ing the leg­endary golden ap­ples were lured to their doom by beau­ti­ful god­desses.

The Witch’s Mar­ket, be­sides Echo’s ar­ti­cle, was also in­spired by an in­ci­dent I ex­pe­ri­enced many years ago. Once at a con­cert I was so

an­noyed by the per­former’s pre­ten­tious style that I stared at her in­stru­ment’s strings and willed them to break. Sur­pris­ingly, a few sec­onds later one of the strings broke, forc­ing her to stop in the mid­dle of her per­for­mance. Rather than be­ing happy, I was fright­ened that I might pos­sess some strange power. I never tried it again; the pos­si­bil­ity that it might work was too scary, maybe even un­eth­i­cal. In­stead I put this ex­pe­ri­ence into The Witch’s’ Mar­ket.

I fol­low Con­fu­cius’ fa­mous ad­vice to re­spect the spir­its but keep them at a dis­tance. Ming­mei Yip is a nov­el­ist writ­ing in English about the lives and strug­gles of Chi­nese women, both in China and Amer­ica. Her new­est novel, The Witches’ Mar­ket (Kens­ing­ton Books), is about the ad­ven­tures of a young Chi­nese-Amer­i­can col­lege pro­fes­sor, who sud­denly finds out that she has su­per­nat­u­ral abil­i­ties, and trav­els to the Ca­nary Is­lands to do re­search on witchcraft. There she stays with a cas­tle owner who tries to se­duce her, is men­aced by a coven of very real witches, un­cov­ers a decades-old mur­der, and amidst all these ad­ven­tures, finds love with a vil­lage crafts­man. Ming­mei’s other nov­els are: Se­cret of a Thou­sand Beau­ties (Ghost bride em­broi­derer); The Nine Fold Heaven (re­venge of a singer- spy); Skele­ton Women (femmes fa­tales), Song of the Silk Road (woman adventurer); Petals from the Sky (in­ter-racial love story); Peach Blos­som Pavil­ion (last Chi­nese geisha). Ming­mei’s nov­els have been sold to ten coun­tries in­clud­ing China, Rus­sia, and Poland. In ad­di­tion to her nov­els, Ming­mei has writ­ten and illustrated two chil­dren’s books.: Chi­nese Chil­dren’s Fa­vorite Sto­ries and Grandma Panda’s China Sto­ry­book, Leg­ends, Tra­di­tions, and Fun, both from Tut­tle Pub­lish­ing. Ming­mei is also a renowned qin mu­si­cian, cal­lig­ra­pher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a colum­nist for seven ma­jor news­pa­pers. She has ap­peared on over sixty TV and ra­dio pro­grams in Hong Kong, Tai­wan, China and the US. She got her Ph.D. in mu­si­col­ogy from the Sor­bonne, Univer­sity of Paris.

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