When M. H. Boroson was nine years old, a Chinese American friend invited him to dinner with his family. Over a big, raucous meal, his friend’s uncle told a story about a beautiful fox woman. She had a magic pearl and she stole men’s energy.
In college, he studied Mandarin and Religion (with a focus on Chinese Buddhism), as well as Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. He lived near a video store that had a large selection of Hong Kong cinema; he rented Shaw Brothers movies, as well as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and John Woo films.
One day he realized he could combine everything he loved: Chinese ghost lore, Buffy, kung fu movies, fantasy novels, history. He could write stories about Chinese magic and monsters, using these incredible cultural details as metaphors to dramatize the experiences of immigrants in America.
From Iris Chang, Boroson learned to write about history from a place of compassion. Chester Himes’ Harlem detective stories taught him how an investigation can paint a vivid picture of an ethnic enclave at a specific historical moment. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files showed him how to create big fun supernatural adventures. Tony Hillerman’s Navajo mysteries gave him a way to write about a culture that isn’t his own, and honor the people he’s writing about.