Because I write quickly my first drafts are always rough. Unlike many authors I do not edit as I write. This frees me to live only in my head, to pour out the story without worrying about mechanics or form. Putting to paper that first draft is my favorite part of writing. There is an adrenalin rush that comes with writing that can’t compare with anything else I have experienced. By the end of my writing sessions I am half filled with this natural high, and half exhausted. It’s exhilarating.
As I began this novel, my focus was more on the feel of Lan and her world than on catching the reader’s attention. To me this version is written more like a song, or a poem than a modern novel.
They were not to be seen by others, prisoners behind silk-screened walls. Only in the middle of the night when only the stars could witness did their jailer let Fen and her daughter Lan out of her their assigned rooms. At the youthful age of nine, Lan’s need for constant motion, kept her no closer than a dozen steps ahead of her mother’s slow hard fought stride. Dressed always in white, Lan scaled hedges, squeezed silky pedals between fingertips, and danced around fountains in Emperor Qiang’s gardens. She touched everything within reach of her slight searching hands.