What is the symbol on the cover?

It is Mongolian script for “Mongol”.  I was researching something else and ran across it.  As soon as I saw it I had the title and cover.  Mongolian writing is beautiful.  And the colors are the colors of the Mongolian flag.

Why Mongolia?

For Vic it was a coin toss.  Someplace wild.  In 1920 Mongolia was like the old wild west in the U.S.A.   There were plenty of wide open spaces and many people you were likely to meet were less than friendly.  The famous desert, steppes, plus mountains and forests.  

For me, I read an old travel book about Mongolia in 1913 and saw some photos on travel sites.  That was enough.  It’s awesome!  And when I was looking for images for Pinterest I ended up putting several photos of little kids up - those Mongolian kids are so cute!  I’d love to visit Mongolia some day, but in the summer.

Is Vic going to kill animals in every book?

Probably.  She is a meat eater after all.  And since she is going to wild places, there is likely to always be predators who will attack her.  And her roots (Nat-ul) predispose her to being a hunter, so she enjoys hunting as sport.

If you look on a map (modern) of Mongolia you may not see Kalgan, and won’t see Urga, Dalan bulag, or Gazar.  Are they all fiction?

Not all.  Gazar is Mongolian for ‘place’.  It is fictitious. What happens and what they see in Gazar is based on a 1913 description of Ulaan Bator (Ulaanbaatar), the capital, which was in 1920 known as Urga or sometimes in Mongolian as Niĭslel Khüree.  Some maps show Kalgan but you might see Dongkou, the Eastern gate or Zhangjiakou or Changkiakow. You won’t see Dalan bulag on a map because it is now called Dalanzadgad.   I cannot give enough praise to the librarians at Hawaii State Library.  I spent three days trying to find if Dalanzadgad had another name in 1920 because almost all other cities did.  Couldn’t find anything so I asked for help.  They got an answer from professors at the National University of Mongolia.  I couldn’t believe they went to such lengths! They are awesome!  Are you confused yet with the city names?


What’s the difference between Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia?

Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of China, a little like a state.  Outer Mongolia is a term not often used now.  It referred to what is now Mongolia, the separate nation.

Did Mongolia really not have money?

Yes it’s true.  No they didn’t, not until 1924.

Were the Mad Baron and Destroyer real?

The Mad Baron was real.  He really wanted to be the new Genghis Khan and he was a White Russian.  The Destroyer is fiction, but his face wound was real for the Mad Baron who had been shot in the face; some thought that had damaged his brain and was the reason for his cruelty.  The incident mentioned of a brutal recruitment by the Baron is true.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Not yet.  Before I began Mongol I had parts of number 3 in my head.  By the time Mongol was done, most of number 3 was worked out and parts for number 4 had materialized.  I love to write about Vic.

The original ending for Mongol was VERY different.  It was an unhappy ending, bold, capitalize and underline unhappy.  I wanted to write in the emotions it conveyed.  But I read something about people don’t like unhappy endings.  And I kept seeing that idea and I didn’t like the ending either.  Not as writing but as a thing to happen, it bothered me.  So one morning I decided it had to change.  Within an hour without working it out I just spontaneously had the new ending.  Nope, no writer’s block yet.  

Will Evelyn Chan and maybe her famous uncle be back?

Maybe.  Most likely.   Yes to Evelyn for sure.  I like her.  Vic and Lin like her too so it seems natural they will get together again.  And Ann Darrow from
Time Doesn’t Matter will be back, probably in book 4.

That brings up the question, will Lin Li be traveling with Vic from now on?

I don’t know.  Originally I was thinking a new partner every couple of books or have one or two that come and go, taking turns.  Vic by herself sometimes.  But I like the way Lin came out.  I don’t plan characters.  I put them in situations and see how they react.

So there will be another Vic novel?

Absolutely.  In progress already.