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编者按：今年2月份，一本最早出版于1981年的书《黑暗之眼-The Eyes of Darkness》引起了人们的关注，因为里面有“wuhan-400”病毒，而且在武汉爆发。因为与今年的新冠疫情巧合，在微信群里一度广泛流传。
无独有偶，我们湾区有一位华裔小作家，Zella，四年前开始撰写一部科幻小说Glass Domes，副标题是the making of a bioterrorist。我们可以直译成玻璃屋-一名生物恐怖分子的制造。听其名，似乎也是无意中巧合了今年的疫情。
Jack：I heard about you form your mother, she’s our hiking friend. She told me your new book was published recently on Amazon and it’s getting popular now. Can you tell us about your book?
Zella: The book is called Glass Domes, and it’s about a person, a scientist, who creates a disease that causes a pandemic, similar to the situation we’re living in today. The book follows the scientist as the disease is discovered and how the scientist handles the situation and fallout.
Jack：太吸引人了，与今年的新冠疫情巧合，相信很多人会感兴趣去阅读。能介绍一下你当初写书的背景吗，比如这样的想法是怎样产生的？How did you come up with the idea?
Zella: I’ve always been interested in the psychology behind people’s behaviors, especially trying to understand what makes a good person good or a bad person bad. Does doing one bad thing make them a bad person, even if everything else they do is good? Is it possible for them to earn redemption, even if the bad thing is evil?
Jack：这个思考十分有哲学性。我们不能因为一个人做过一件错事就完全否定这个人，应该给他们改正或救赎的机会。I agree with you! 而且研究人的行为背后的心理，非常有趣！你一开始是当娱乐呢还是有出版的计划？Did you always plan on publishing this book, either on Amazon or through a traditional publisher?
Zella: When I first started writing this book, I just wanted to write it for fun. I didn’t seriously think about publishing until after I had finished my first draft and hired a developmental editor to overhaul the book. I decided to self-publish rather than go through a traditional publisher because it would give me more control over the creative aspects of the book.
Jack：能跟我们分享一下，你创作过程中是否遇到一些困难和如何克服的吗？What difficulties did you face in writing the book, and how did you overcome them?
Zella: The biggest challenge was developing my main character. Since I only had one character, and the book was written in the first person perspective, the entire book’s success relied on the character development. A lot of the book is psychological, but to keep it interesting, the character couldn’t be all good or all bad, because all people have flaws. There’s also a careful balance to make sure that the audience would still be interested in the character despite flaws and actions that would be unlikeable.
Jack：哇，是一部独角戏的小说。写好这样的一个角色真不容易。You made it!你一共大约花了多长时间完成的这部小说呢？How long did it take to complete the book?
Zella: I started writing in 2015, so about 4 years, although I took extended breaks during that time.
Jack：中国古代有“十年磨一剑”的典故，你四年完成一部小说，也是非常有毅力的。要做成一件事情，坚持是美德。祝贺你！对了，完成之后，你有什么感想呢？What did you learn throughout the writing process?
Zella: One of the most important things I learned was about following a plan. Before I started writing, I plotted out the main plot points for each chapter and figured out what I wanted to say. While I was writing, a lot of this ended up changing and my plot sheet evolved and grew along with it. Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re going to write until you’ve already written it, and plans go out the window. So it’s important to be adaptable and accept that your book may end up being very different from the original idea when it’s actually done.
Jack：没错，创作是一个非常具有挑战的过程。请问以后在创作方面有什么打算吗？Do you have any plans for new books in the future?
Zella: I do have some ideas that I’m drafting out now, but I don’t know yet which ones will become full books. I have also written some short film screenplays.
Jack：了解，期待你更多的作品问世。你是从小就一直喜欢习作吗？Did you have a lot writing guidance or influence from your parents growing up?
Zella: When I was a child, my parents were very, very concerned about my poor writing ability, and hired me a variety of writing tutors, none of whom stuck. By the time I was in middle school, my writing was only average at best. My writing didn’t really improve until high school, when we had creative writing in English classes instead of the standard 2-3 argument essay. Being able to write whatever I wanted and to be as creative as I wanted also allowed me to actually begin to enjoy writing.
Jack：的确，有时候兴趣是逐渐发展的。很高兴你找到了这个你喜欢的东西。众所周知，华人家长对孩子的学习都比较严格，而且喜欢帮孩子选专业或方向。你的父母有参与到你的这个创作中吗？有什么建议可以跟我们其他的华人家长分享的吗？Were your parents involved in your creative process? Do you have any advice to give to other Chinese parents?
Zella: My parents weren’t really involved in my writing process. They both immigrated from China, their English language is not necessarily the best. My mother did read both drafts of my book and offered notes and suggestions, but I hired outside editors to do the bulk of story development and copyediting. If I can give any advice to parents, I would say let your children be themselves. It’s okay to let them fail, and it’s okay to let them breathe. My parents struggled for a long time to accept my career choices, and I’m sure they still wish I chose to do something more financially stable, like being a doctor. But they know I wouldn’t have been happy doing that, and at the end of the day, I love my life the way it is now, even with an uncertain future.
Jack：因材施教，倡导个性化教育。培养和支持孩子发现自己的兴趣，做自己喜欢的事情，并从中得到快乐。的确是非常好的建议。非常感谢你和我们交流，并期待你新的作品早日问世！Thanks for sharing today, and look forward to your new books!
Zella: Thank you so much for having me, I enjoyed this conversation!
Zella Faye Blanche（笔名）：www.zellafayeblanche.com