Living in a foreign country has been a source of inspiration for many writers, and I’ve certainly found this to be the case in my time in Taiwan. The sights, sounds and smells of Taipei, the stories of my Taiwanese friends, and Taiwan’s history and culture have all contributed to my novella, Death Switch.
Set in the near future, Death Switch tells the story of a young woman, Yi-ling, who has always tried to conform to the wishes of her parents, but finds that whatever she does is never good enough. Unable to escape due to her abusive upbringing and poverty, she exploits her position as a genetic technician to create a clone of herself, imagining Yi-ling #2 can take over when the going gets tough.
Death Switch was inspired by the hard lives some Taiwanese children experience due to parental expectations, but at the same time the novella explores the opposite end of the spectrum, the doting parents who love and accept their children unconditionally. Of course, the clone matures with only the unbalanced Yi-ling as a guide and mentor.
Most writers can probably point to a person, event or idea that sparked the idea for a story, and sometimes writing feels like letting a character tell their story, rather than the other way round. Though Taiwanese society contains few parents like Yi-ling’s nowadays, I still felt that Death Switch was a story that needed to be told and that Yi-ling wanted me to tell it.
On a happier note, the character most recently calling to me is Carrie Hatchett. A bit of a daydreamer, Carrie has not made much of a success of her life, but all that changes when the Transgalactic Council accidentally hires her as a space detective—except she isn’t a space detective, she just wasn’t listening properly, again. In the first book of the Carrie Hatchett Space Adventures series, Mission Improbable, it’s time for Carrie to shape up or ship out.
How living in Taiwan has inspired two such different characters, I don’t know, but I’m interested to see who pops up next.
Fascinated by the unusual and unknown since childhood, J.J. Green first departed her homeland, the U.K., as a young adult, and has lived in Australia and Laos as well as her current abode, Taiwan. Her choice of writing genre reflects her interests, and includes science fiction, fantasy, and weird, dark and humorous tales.
Green’s work has been published in Lamplight, Perihelion, Saturday Night Reader and other magazines. Her novella, Death Switch, and two collections, There Comes a Time and Dawn Falcon, are available at Amazon. The first installment in her Carrie Hatchett Space Adventure series, Mission Improbable, appears December 2015. Check out her meanderings at InfiniteBook and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.