An Interview with Bo Caldwell, author of City of Tranquil Light

I’m delighted to say I was allowed to interview Bo Caldwell, author of “City of Tranquil Light.”
1. I know you based the novel on the experiences of your relatives, but I noticed you also referred to other missional memoirs like “The Small Woman,” so I wondered throughout the novel if you used true events that were related to you. If so, what events were real? 
It’s very hard to go back and recall exactly what was fictional and what was true.  That said, even when I made up characters and events, I worked at keeping them true in spirit to what happened to the missionaries I read about.  For example, the threat of bandits was very  real, and although I made up “my” bandit, he was based on individuals I read about.
2.  What suggestions would you give to those interested in entering the missions field?
I really don’t feel that I’m an expert on missionaries or the mission field — I would only say what I would say to anyone about pursuing such a demanding commitment:  to do all they can to be sure that God is calling them to the work, and  not their egos or pride.
3. Have you done any other books on this topic or in this setting?
My first novel, The Distant Land of My Father, was based on the life of an uncle of mine, who lived much of his life in Shanghai.  The novel takes place in Shanghai and Los Angeles from 1937 to 1961, and in that respect, it’s a prequel to City of Tranquil Light, though it’s not based on the same characters.
4. If you had one hope to express for this book, what might it be? 
If you mean one hope about what comes from the book, I would say that it would mean a great deal to me if the book gave people hope — hope that joy is always possible, even after great loss, and even late in life.  I believe that it’s always possible that the best is yet to come.
Thanks so much for the inspiration and joy I received from your book, Ms. Caldwell and for the opportunity to chat.

5 Responses to “An Interview with Bo Caldwell, author of City of Tranquil Light”

  1. Rachna Chhabria says:

    Thanks for this lovely interview, Victoria. It was nice to read Bo Caldwell's thoughts on missionaries.

  2. Victoria Dixon says:

    Thanks for commenting, Rachna. I read a different, but really good review of the book at "Stuff in the Basement," http://siouxlander.blogspot.com/2010/07/city-of-tranquil-light.html in case you're interested. She goes much more into the approach Caldwell takes on missional efforts.

  3. SAMUEL PARK says:

    What an inspiring author. Really enjoyed this interview. I especially liked what she had to say about hope toward the end. Very cool interview, and I'm really glad I got to learn about the book through you.

  4. Kappa no He says:

    I have a friend who was born in Japan. Her father was a missionary here for many years. It's all very fascinating and I love hearing her stories.

  5. Victoria Dixon says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Samuel! Her last comment gave me a warm, happy feeling, too. ;D I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'd also have to say that the hope she had for the book doing that is realized. That's exactly what you feel like when you put the novel down.

    Cool, Thersa. ;D I have a story in mind to do sometime about missionaries in Japan during the Edo period. It's not the same time period, I know, but I'd still love to talk with your friend. So many stories, so much research. LOL

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