Q. Why write the “Veiled Lady?”
A. I love Shakespeare’s and Marlowe’s works. I wanted to visit the time that produced these great playwrights.
Q. Why is one of your major characters from China?
A. The Middle Kingdom. China, as we know it, didn’t exist at that time. Miao Juzheng is an oddity, however, not entirely odd because the Portuguese did trade, in a very limited volume, slaves from the Middle Kingdom. She also has albinism.
Q. Why albinism?
A. Why not? White was the fashion rage at the time. The women used Ceruse or a white lead based makeup to make their skin fairer...so, what is whiter than albinism.
Q. You have a point there. But don't people with albinism have difficulties with their eye sight.
A. Absolutely. I also have problems with how they are generally portrayed in stories.
Q. What do you mean by that?
A. Well, most people with albinism are villains. I'll give you some examples: the torturer in "Prince Bride," the evil monk in "The di vinci code."
Q. Isn't he the sniper?
A. Yeah, that's funny. Imaging asking someone who is low vision being a sniper.
Q. Never thought of that.
A. Most people don't.
Q. But I find it hard to believe. There is a scene where George is teaching Miao to fight with a rapier.
A. Why not?
Q Women didn't fight with swords back then.
A. Who says? Listen, I agree it was a man's world and women didn't have much power, but Elizabeth was changing that.
A. By not marrying. As soon as she married, she would lose power. Besides it was probably difficult having your mom's head cut off.
Q. Aren't you bothered that there really isn't a lot of material on characters like Christopher Marlowe, even Shakespeare.
A. Not in the least. This gives the writer great freedom to fill things in, to make up stuff.
Q. Well, thanks for talking to me. I really appreciate it.
A. For you, anytime. Anytime you want to talk to yourself, just let me know.