FEATURED AUTHOR: Yasuko Thanh – Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains

(This is first of Galiano Island Books features on authors and artists attending the 2017 Galiano Literary Festival February 17-19th on Galiano Island. Tix still available (250) 539-3340 or leetrentadue@gmail.com.)

Just around the corner is the Galiano Literary Festival. I’ve been involved with the Galiano Island Bookstore and Literary Festival over the past 3 years helping out with documentation and photography and this year I asked Lee and Jim if I could work on compiling some author features/interviews featuring the diverse voices who will be joining us at the Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa this February 17-19th.

We’ve had world leading writers and authors come share their thoughts and process with us and this year is no exception. Check out our Facebook for a complete list of people who will be participating in this years festival and pls considering purchasing a ticket and joining us for some of the events!

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In the mean time it’s my honor to present the first of our featured writer’s for 2017, Yasuko Thanh. In the spirit of background information here’s bio from a recent Quill & Quire review of her work

Some writers are easy to get a bead on: they maintain consistent personas in person and in their work, and return to stock subjects and situations across different books with a uniform voice and point of view.

Then there are writers like Yasuko Thanh.

After only two books – the 2012 short-story collection Floating Like the Dead (McClelland & Stewart) and her debut novel, Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, out this April with Hamish Hamilton Canada – Thanh has proven to be a remarkably protean wordsmith, shifting from one subject and setting to another with startling confidence.

KK: We’re really excited to welcome you to the beautiful forests of Galiano Island. Sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time on Canada’s #WestCoast islands while doing your MFA over in Victoria. Have you ever been to Galiano or any of the Gulf Islands?
YT: I did nine years on Mayne Island. I ran the Wildeflower B&B for six or seven of those. I fell in love with Mayne the first three months I was there. Spent the rest of the time wishing I could get off the rock more often. In some ways, it’s a great place to be penniless, but if you want a change of scenery, it costs money. You can’t just walk on water to the mainland.

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KK:We’ve got some awesome inspired young musicians over here on Galiano Island and some bands and music projects in the works. What’s up w/ Jukebox Jezebel & 12 Gauge Facial? You still making and expressing yourself through music?
YT: 12 Gauge Facial gives me the chance to express myself in ways I only hide in my fiction writing. I wear my heart on my sleeve and scream out my demons.
Jukebox Jezebel does mostly covers, but our versions of them. My drummer and I call it putting the songs “though the grinder.” We do psychobilly versions of old gospel tunes, or Elvis standards. We throw in some original songs along the way. Both bands have been on hiatus for a while. It was time to concentrate on family.
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KK:You’ve landed in the book world w/ quite a splash having won many elite awards and accolades. Tell me a little bit about the ride…. 

YT: Before the splash and before the accolades I was writing. Writing, writing, writing. It’s less like a splash and more having reached some floating driftwood after a long swim from the middle of an ocean. As a full-time fiction writer, I’ll probably never make land, but I’ll take a life raft any day. Maybe now that I have some breathing room, I’ll be able to compose in more relaxed way. It can be hard to write when you’re spending all your energy treading water. Yet, ironically, writing is the very thing that’s keeping you afloat, too.
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KK: I love your tattoos and your look and your affinity for freaks and sideshow. Tell me a little more about that and what it means to you pls.
YT: I’ve always been an outsider and probably always will be. Difference is I don’t try to fit in anymore. I don’t really give a shit what other people think about me. As a street kid I was deeply affected by the prejudices of society. The way the law stigmatised me. The way other people thought they knew me, without knowing a thing about me. The way they tried to hurt me because of it. Fuck them. I can work on understanding them while not letting their view of me shape me. I like to know what makes people tick. All people, even those with opinions far different from my own. But as for comfortable? I’m always going to be most at home on the fringes, with other fringe-dwellers.

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Enjoy Yasuko Thanh talking about her family’s story and her debut award-winning novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains…

And here she is w/ a ready from her previously published collection of short stories entitled…

(Photos & videos are the copyright of their creators and sourced via Google Images & YouTube.)

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