The plan today was to be walking Three Shires Head on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border whilst away in our motorhome. Covid has had other ideas. However, every cloud has a silver lining and I’m delighted to welcome David Lui to Linda’s Book Bag far sooner than anticipated as a result! David is staying in with me to tell me about his debut novel.
Staying in with David Lui
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag David and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thanks so much for inviting me! I’m excited for this staying in.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought my first novel, When Hope Calls, which is the first in a series about human trafficking. It’s a heavy topic, I know, but one that I believe still needs a voice in the literary world. The reason I chose this book is because, after five years of publication, I still believe in the power of awareness; that if everyone could be aware of the global issue of human trafficking and modern slavery, something can be done about it.
I think you’re right David and books really do have the power to bring difficult topics to the world’s attention.
Another reason I’ve chosen to bring this book is because the third book in the series, When Hope Dawns is just out in the US and scheduled to be released in the UK on 15th May, so I’m very keen to share it with the world!
What can we expect from an evening in with When Hope Calls?
I’d say that’s a tough question to answer! Based on reader reviews, I’d say you could expect suspense, thrills, anticipation, frustration, grief, and even anger. Hope and hopelessness, that’s the tightrope you might find yourself on as you read When Hope Calls. As you see the criminal underworld from the eyes of a kidnapped child, and then from the perspective of her rescuers, readers often have to come to terms with their own beliefs about social justice and privilege.
That sounds brilliant. I love a book that makes me challenge my perceptions.
Like any flight to a worthy destination, I’d say, expect turbulence. Trust me, it’ll be worth it!
I think it will! What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
I’ve brought a guest post all about the power of fiction!
Oo. Go ahead then!
The Power of Fiction
It is often said that art imitates life. But what about the other way around? Can life imitate art? The simple answer is yes. This is especially true when it comes to fiction. Fictional stories can have a real impact on the people who read them. They can influence how we see the world and how we interact with others. Sometimes, they can even change our lives for the better. The stories we read have a profound effect on our lives. We learn behaviour, attitudes, and beliefs from the characters in fiction. These fictional characters can also change us for the better.
Fiction offers a multifaceted take on how the world is like, much like a beautiful kaleidoscope. When most people think of ways to learn about the world, they think of textbooks and documentaries. But what about novels and stories? Fiction can offer a different perspective on how the world can be, and it’s often more interesting than non-fiction. For example, in the novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is a teenager who is kicked out of school and ends up living on his own. Through his eyes, we see the world in a different way than we would if we were reading a textbook on teenage delinquents. We see the beauty in small things, and we understand Holden’s thoughts and feelings better than if we were just given facts about him. Stories catch our imagination, and in teen lingo, they catch our feels. The world comes alive through fiction, whether it’s books or movies or TV shows.
Fiction offers audiences a window into another person’s world. At the same time, it offers a new lens to see our own character in all its beauty and ugliness. We may see ourselves (all too often) as the protagonist, the hero, fighting for the lowly, overcoming mountainous challenges, triumphing over the villain. This personal association is empowering, to the point of granting us the resolve to make real changes in our daily lives. The movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes to mind, where a man living a nondescript 9-to-5 life goes on the craziest life-changing adventure in pursuit of a photojournalist. As strange as it sounds, that movie was like a wake-up call for me, reminding me that adventure is always, always just a decision away, no matter how entrenched I was in a mundane lifestyle. The revelation was nothing short of invigorating, and I’ve heard similar stories from people who have read my book When Hope Calls, which ends with a direct call to action. I’d like to think that, by extension, any impact my readers make on the world for good can be attributed to, you guessed it, my works of fiction.
Last but not least, fiction breaks through walls of what can or cannot be. Works of fantasy, adventure, action, thrillers, romance, even horror…they expand what we define as the realms of possibility. Who told us what cannot be done, or how things should be? Chances are, we were taught from textbooks, from works of nonfiction. I’m not against facts and figures, but there is a huge difference between learning about the world, and accepting the world as it is. Fiction gives us a sledgehammer against conformity, against convention, against the unjust systems that remain in society. Fiction is power, because so long as we can imagine a better future, we can hope and fight for a better future.
In that sense, life not only imitates art–life kneels to art, realising that true power to change lies in the imagination of every single consumer of fiction.
In summary, there is no question about whether fiction can impact real lives. In fact, might I be so bold as to say, fiction can define and redefine lives. From the bedtime stories of our childhood days, to the doorstoppers that keep us up at night, fiction comforts us, transports us, saves us, empowers us. Fiction can be friend or foe, building us up or tearing us down, sentence by sentence, word by word.
Take all that as you will, but know this: You can take it, anytime you wish, anywhere you find yourself. The power is in your boundless imagination.
That’s absolutely brilliant David. Thank you so much for sharing those thoughts with us. I do agree that the emotional element of fiction can affect us far more deeply than the more rational approach of non-fiction. Thank you so much for staying in with me and sharing your thoughts and telling me about When Hope Calls. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
When Hope Calls
Based on a true human trafficking story, this gripping novella tells the impossible rescue story of a humanitarian organization that receives a call from a mysterious girl named Mya, telling them she had been kidnapped.
They don’t know who she is. They don’t know where she is. All they have is a phone connection.
Every clue draws them closer to her rescue…or pushes them to desperation.
Within the next twelve hours, they must each be tested to their limit.
The clock is ticking, the odds are against them…will they be able find Mya?
When Hope Calls is available for purchase here.
About David Lui
David Lui is a psychologist and writer based in Sydney. In both his practice and writing, he is dedicated to fighting modern slavery and human trafficking.