About Writing Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales
The stories in this collection are inspired by my travels in Southeast Asia—Singapore, Viet Nam, Thailand, and Cambodia. The war-torn landscape and history of the fictional land of Ayama Na are most like Cambodia's--a country still in recovery from a long nightmare of war and destruction.
The stories and scenes that take place in hill tribes owe their physical descriptions to hill tribes I visited in Thailand. The street of fortune tellers in the story "North of the Faro" is similar to a street in Singapore where I met a gifted local fortune teller who sat at a card table quietly changing people's lives.
In all these countries, the individuals I encountered were warm, hard-working, resiliant, and open-hearted. These brief travels--tourist visits really--moved me and inspired me to try to capture in fiction some of what I saw and felt.