It’s been nearly ten years since your first novel, The Distant Land Of My Father, was published. What took you so long?
City Of Tranquil Light is based on the lives of your grandparents, who were missionaries in China and Taiwan. Where did you draw the line between their experiences and the fictional characters of Will and Katherine?
China has played a large role in both of your novels. What does the country mean to you?
In the book, you create a richly detailed vision of China in the early 20th century. Can you tell us about your historical research into this period of Chinese history?
How did you decide to tell the story from two different points in time?
Will and Katherine’s faith brings them together and gives their lives both challenges and purpose. Did writing about their love and faith have any impact on your own marriage and/or faith?
City Of Tranquil Light tells the story of two extraordinary lives, filled with hardship and joy. What did you learn in writing about those lives?
Do you think you could endure the hardships your grandparents endured?
Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng— City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love—and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?
Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints—and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents—City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).
About the Author
Bo Caldwell is the author of the national bestseller The Distant Land of My Father. Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Story, Epoch, and other literary journals. A former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, she lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (September 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805092285
- ISBN-13: 978-0805092288