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Wind Raker reaction post

So now I'm hearing from the first people to finish Wind Raker! I'd love to hear what you thought -- character developments, Mitch, Stasi, Jerry and Willi, Pelley's plot, everything!

Spoilers in comments!

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
hand2hand
Feb. 10th, 2015 09:12 pm (UTC)
I couldn't put it down. I loved Bea, and I loved how Stasi grappled with the kids. I loved Willi. Also, having been to Hawaii, I think you captured the feel of the place beautifully. I thought the pacing was wonderful, and I love the descriptions of the magic. Alma's memories during the ceremony were so compelling. I actually cried!!!

My favorite bits? You know me -- my favorite parts were Mitch's and Jerry's memories of Gil. I love all the Gil flashbacks in these books. :D.

Great addition to the series. I'm totally hooked and will be rereading them all going forward.

Thank you so much for writing.
jo_graham
Feb. 11th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC)
Your comment makes me so happy! I'm glad you loved Bea, as I couldn't wait to write her. Stasi -- dear Stasi. The kids are hard, and yet this is a thing worth doing. And Jerry, oh he has his hands full! He didn't expect this thing with Willi to get serious, and now it has and what's he going to do about it? The ghost of Gil is laughing indeed!

I'm glad Hawaii worked for you. Melissa has been but I haven't, and so I was working a lot off Beatrice's daughter's memoir of growing up. That's where the description of the interior of the Bishop Museum came from, among other things.

The magic and Alma's memory -- that's my scene! I'm so pleased you liked it. I'm so pleased you cried? Yes, actually. What did you think of genderswapped Alma and Mitch having been married? I'm wondering if they'll make an appearance in the Elza books. I don't think we'll actually see the scene in Alma's memory from Ney's pov in the book.

I'm delighted you liked the Gil flashbacks too! I wrote Mitch's, and I thought it was time we saw Gil in a context that wasn't his relationship with Jerry and Alma.

So what do you hope happens in the next book?
hand2hand
Feb. 11th, 2015 11:34 pm (UTC)
I had no problem with the idea that Alma and Mitch had been different sexes in the past, and had been married. That makes perfect sense as a facet of how reincarnation works in this universe.

Going forward I personally would like to see more about Lewis and Alma and their actual roles as parents of Dora. I think you kind of underplayed that in this book, but that said, I understand that Alma must really struggle with her role as a mom because of the societal pressures she faces. But I know that becoming parents must have been huge for the two of them, and I would like to see more of that.

I am also pretty sure that Lewis is going to get called by Diana at some point, which breaks my heart but which I believe you all have set up as a necessity in this series. So seeing them as parents, as a family, before that happens would be really important to me.

Other than that? My hugely selfish personal dream is that eventually you write a prequel where Gil is still alive, but also I understand that that is most likely not in the cards, given the arc of this series. And I'm fine with that!

Basically I'm in love with the series and the characters and I can't wait to see what you do next. I love all the period historical stuff, especially New York; I love how you handle all the magic, and I'm sold.

Thank you again for all the wonderful stories.
jo_graham
Feb. 12th, 2015 11:51 am (UTC)
I think being parents is huge for Alma and Lewis, yes. Alma does face a lot of social pressures, but not nearly as many as she would twenty years later. There's a lot of propaganda that American women in "the past" were all 1950s housewives, but that's not actually true before the 1950s! In the 1930s both of my middle class grandmothers worked, one as an elementary school teacher and one as a bookkeeper who later became a CPA. I think that's one really important thing that historical fiction can tell us -- it can find the real past behind the propaganda.

And of course Lewis has another part of that -- the 1950s idea that men shouldn't be involved in raising their children. That's not actually on the table in the 1930s. Fathers were expected to do something other than bring home a paycheck. Which delights Lewis. Having come late to this, and having never expected it, he's wrapped around Dora's little finger. And that's a love that will last her whole life.

Yes, Lewis will be called by Diana. We knew when we wrote the end of the first book that he would have to be, and we know how and when. But Lewis knows that Diana will not spend him lightly. His sacrifice will mean something and it will be worth it. I know I'm going to cry buckets when we get to that point. I've written some of the scenes around it even though it's many books away and I cry buckets for them. But I will say that Mitch keeps his word.

We've talked about doing a prequel novella or longish short story set in Italy during the war with the original Lodge! We won't do a whole book, but we have talked about a novella with Gil alive. (And needless to say Gil will continue to make appearances!)

I am so glad you love the books! :)
niangao
Feb. 16th, 2015 08:34 pm (UTC)
Finished reader Wind Raker! I really enjoyed it -- I think it's my favourite of the series so far.

The parts that are sticking with me the most are the scene you've posted with the auction (made me cry), the little hints of the bombs falling on Pearl Harbour in the not-too-distant future (gave me chills), Lorenz and Jimmy's very normal, matter-of-fact conversation about the world needing rules (also gave me chills), and Jerry's story about his childhood (also made me cry).

Love Douglas and Jimmy, and also Stasi and Mitch as parents. Also so glad to see Bea and George Patton, and Numinous World-associations :)

Can I ask if the Wind Raker story is "true"/based on actual stories? I'm of Chinese decent, so am super curious about it. Thanks.
jo_graham
Mar. 6th, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I missed seeing this comment when you put it up, so I'm answering it way late!

I'm so glad you enjoyed Wind Raker! The scene about Pearl Harbor was one of the first written -- of course Lewis would see what is to come, only six years in the future. That scene gives me chills too. There are so many layers in it, including shadow=negative=zero, which is of course Zero. Lewis' foresight is trying to tell him things, but he hasn't quite got a handle on it yet.

Lorenz and Jimmy is Melissa's scene, and I love it to pieces. It's so good and so nuanced, I think.

I'm also happy you like Mitch and Stasi as parents. For sure they're not like anyone else's parents! :) Douglas has found his home here, even though he's not entirely sure of that yet. He will indeed come back many years from now, and find a new life with his childhood playmate.

The story of the treasure fleets as Willi explains them is absolutely true! My main print source for this was a book called 1421: the Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies. He detailed archaeological evidence from both North and South America that suggests that the Chinese fleets did indeed reach those coasts, and that some people may have stayed. The individual ship Wind Raker is fiction, however.

But! There were several pieces of Ming porcelain found in Hawaii in the 1920s. Where they came from has never been explained. Like Jerry's dig, the site they came from was inconclusive. Perhaps they were brought from China in the 19th century by missionaries. More likely, to my mind, they were trade goods given by the treasure fleet to local chiefs in exchange for watering and taking on provisions in Hawaii. And of course there are many Hawaiian stories of kingly people coming from the sea on mighty ships, though again the Wind Raker herself is fictional. So I do think that the Chinese fleets did reach Hawaii in the 15th century, though that's a matter of scholarly conjecture rather than proof. Does that answer your question? :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )