While Xiu peddled pipe dreams, a nightmare was waiting.
Sensual and exotic, San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1870’s was filled with temptation and greed. Raised in this quagmire of vice, Xiu Jung caters to wealthy thrill-seekers with her elegant opium den, The House of Five Fortunes. With the help of Madison Hayes, the illustrious actor, she makes it the most fashionable salon on the West Coast. But a string of murders is sweeping the city, coming closer and closer to Xiu. Madison said he would protect her, but could this mysterious outsider be trusted?
From Chinatown to Deadwood, Amanda Hughes once again takes you on a page-turning adventure of a lifetime.
Interview with Author Amanda Hughes
- Tell me a little about yourself, both personally and as a writer.I have worn many hats in my lifetime from therapist to business owner to writer, but the role that has been the most rewarding and the most challenging has been the role of motherhood. I raised three children by myself (which makes me a “bold woman” too!) in the woods of Northern Minnesota. I spent many nights wondering where my next dime would come from but somehow we always made ends meet. Living in that remote location made me wonder how people survived the privation and violence of Colonial America so I was inspired to write my first book Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry. After many submissions, a publishing house in Canada bought the rights, and for several years Kerry was on the market. Unfortunately, the publisher closed their doors in 2004, and busy raising teenagers, I did not finish my second novel, The Pride of the King for almost ten years. The current Amazon platform was available by that time, so here I am eight novels later.
- The House of Five Fortunes is part of your Bold Women of the 19th Century Series. What is that series and how did it come about?Although I call it a series, my books are stand-alone novels. There are too many characters “waiting in the wings” for their tale to be told, so I could never dwell on one woman’s story. Thus, I don’t write sequels.
It took me a long time to realize that this was a series. After the third book, I started to see a common theme. The novels were always about gutsy, female survivors who lived in different time periods, so I called it “The Bold Women Series” and started organizing the books into centuries.
- Tell me about The House of Five Fortunes specifically. How did you come up with the idea? What sort of research was involved?Thirty years ago, I traveled to San Francisco and toured Chinatown. Instantly, I fell in love with the magic and mystery of the district. Years later when I decided to tell Xiu Jung’s story, I was disappointed to see so little had been written about the role of Chinese Americans in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad and the racism they endured. In knew then this story needed to be told, so I decided to share it in one of my “Bold Women” novels. To gain a deeper insight into the culture, I traveled to China, interviewed Chinese Americans with ancestors from San Francisco, and devoured every book I could find.
- Many historical fiction authors focus on one place or era, but in your Bold Women series, you write about women from such diverse backgrounds. How do you manage that?It is a labor of love. I cannot imagine being a writer of historical fiction and not loving research. I like to take little known time periods in American history and shed light on them. Time and time again we see stories about wealthy, beautiful aristocrats living on plantations, estates or in penthouses during the same old time periods. I think people living on the fringes of society in little-known settings are far more interesting. They are so often overlooked and have so much more to offer, so that is what I write.
- What can readers expect from you in the future?My latest work is about an American Indian woman riding the rails during the Great Depression. The book follows her rise to fame as one of the great photojournalists of the early 20th Century rivaling the likes of Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White. Her adventures take her from coast to coast and into Germany during the rise of The Third Reich.
Thanks a million for having me on your blog!