Q&A with Author A.B. Michaels, The Jade Hunters
In The Jade Hunters, a lot of bad things happen because of a small pair of earrings. Why pick those objects as the centerpiece of the action?
The tiger earrings, which were introduced in my historical novel The Depth of Beauty, are made of rare jade and would be valuable on their own. But as a symbol of an earlier period in Chinese history, their power would be much, much greater—and extremely deadly in the wrong hands. I find it fascinating that innocuous objects can cause such destruction, which is why I chose them.
Both your male and female leads (Regina and Walker) have unusual fears, what some might call phobias. Why saddle each of them with such quirks?
For starters, I suffer from both of those neuroses all on my own! [laughs]. I thought it would be fun to explore those fears and how the characters cope with them. But I didn’t want it to be one-sided—that is, I wanted Reggie and Walker to be equally vulnerable and equally powerful in their willingness to help the other. But I will say, I hope I never have to face what I put them through!
San Francisco is a beautiful city, but it has been in the news lately for having problems. Why did you choose that as a setting for The Jade Hunters?
Both of my series take place in and around San Francisco – one is in present day and the other is during America’s Gilded Age (around the turn of the twentieth century). In fact, many of the characters in The Jade Hunters are descendants of characters from “The Golden City” series. I grew up near the city so it’s very familiar to me—such a wonderful, fascinating place! I hope San Francisco’s board of supervisors can figure out how to help the homeless so that everyone (both visitors and residents) can exist in a safer, cleaner environment.
What’s your next writing project?
Over the course of writing my two series, I’ve found I really enjoy the mystery aspects of the story. It’s a challenge to come up with a dire situation that isn’t immediately solved by the reader. I’m also reluctant to let many of my characters go! So, I’m developing two different mystery series: one is set here in present day but has a “time slip” element. Leo Blunt, the private detective introduced in The Jade Hunters, meets his match and finds himself in all sorts of adventures as he pursues mysteries surrounding art objects and collectibles. The other series, set in San Francisco after the great Earthquake of 1906, features the attorney Jonathan Perris and his assistants, whom readers met in The Price of Compassion. I can’t wait to write them!