A Conversation with Lisa See and Her Mother, Author Carolyn See
Carolyn See: What fun it’s going to be to get to ask you some questions about this wonderful new edition of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan! God knows, we’ve already had plenty of conversations about it—I’ll be so interested to see some of your answers. Although you’re a little young to have produced a masterwork, I think Snow Flower plainly is one. I’m so proud of you! (But then, I always am.)
You know how much I admire the service you did for the Chinese-American community when you wrote On Gold Mountain, and I’m a huge fan of your thrillers. But Snow Flower is something different and far more profound. I’ve told you before, I think it compares to Andre Malraux’s Man’s Fate. It’s deep, honey! Tell me when, or even if, you first realized that Snow Flower was a different kettle of fish, that you were on to something really big.
Lisa See: I think of Snow Flower as part of a continuum, just the next step in my writing. On Gold Mountain was about my family, and very grounded in history. Snow Flower certainly has those same elements. At the same time, it’s very much a mystery. On page three you learn there’s a secret—a mystery, if you will—about what happened between Lily and Snow Flower, and the answer to it is hidden in the fan. That’s certainly the biggest mystery, but there are others, such as the truth of Snow Flower’s situation. I had to drop in clues for all of these things just as I did in my mysteries. What I’m saying is that I never could have written Snow Flower if I hadn’t written the other books first. CONTINUE READING