The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: An Interview with Karen Kao (Indie Extravaganza Day 33)


We are nearing the end of our Indie Extravaganza but there's still a few days (and a few amazing raffle prizes!) left! Today we're excited to welcome to the blog Karen Kao, author of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle to answer some questions about her book and of course to reveal another prize you could win when you buy tickets for our raffle.

Song Anyi is on the road to Shanghai and freedom when she is raped and left for dead. The family silence and shame that meet her courageous survival drive Anyi to escalating self-harm and prostitution. From opium dens to high-class brothels, Anyi dances on the edge of destruction while China prepares for war with Japan. Hers is the voice of every woman who fights for independence against overwhelming odds.


The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is a novel about rape and self-harm set in Old Shanghai. Tell us, why did you choose to write about such dark themes? I was raised not to voice my emotions. It’s not a terrible way to go through life but in my case it led to a crisis in every aspect of my life: personal and professional. I wanted to write The Dancing Girl and the Turtle to show readers the importance of speaking out and the damage silence can do.

Many readers shy away from dark fiction. What would you say to them? We all read to escape and that’s perfectly fair choice. I also think there’s a lot of gratuitous violence out there in film, TV and fiction. Luckily, my readers and critics agree that there’s none of that in my novel. I’m interested in the psychology of trauma and how you survive it.

So you think there’s hope in your novel?

I do! Strength comes in many guises. It may be subversive or entirely internal since we can’t all become masters of the universe. But I do sincerely believe that we can each control our own fate.

Many thanks to Karen for answering our questions! Look out for our review of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle which will be coming soon...


Announcing another raffle prize... Publishers Linen Press have kindly donated a copy of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle along with another of their books (and one of our favourites of the year) Sometimes a River Song by Avril Joy to our raffle. You can get your chance to win them and so many other amazing raffle prizes while supporting literacy projects by buying raffle tickets via the link below.

Get raffle tickets here

Check back tomorrow for more small business excellence, or catch up with the series here.

#indieextravaganza

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