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Where the learning never ends ...

The Next Big Thing Welcomes Christine Liu-Perkins!

Today, I welcome friend and fellow Colorado author Christine Liu-Perkins to my Web site as guest blogger, part of the Next Big Thing blog author tour.

Launched in Australia, The Next Big Thing is an ad hoc network of bloggers that has spread around the globe. It features authors and illustrators of books for kids, tweens, teens, and young adults discussing their recently published books and/or those slated for publication within the coming year.

After years of research, writing, and revising, Christine can finally dish about her upcoming book ...

What is your title of your book?
AT HOME IN HER TOMB: LADY DAI AND THE ANCIENT CHINESE TREASURES OF MAWANGDUI (pronounced mah-wahng-dway).

Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I saw an exhibit on the tombs of Mawangdui, I couldn’t stop staring at the almost 2,200-year-old body of Lady Dai and wondering what her life had been like. I’ve seen lots of mummies before, but none like this one.

What genre does your book fall under?
Nonfiction for ages 9-12 (and up)

Which actor would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d choose Gong Li to portray Lady Dai, Chow Yun-Fat as her husband (a marquis and chancellor of a kingdom), and Roger Fan as their son (a military officer)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
AT HOME IN HER TOMB explores life in ancient China as revealed at Mawangdui, a famous set of three tombs with thousands of amazingly well-preserved artifacts, including the body of a woman.

Who is publishing your book?
Charlesbridge Publishing (February 1, 2014)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
After seven years of research and several proposals, I wrote the first full rough draft of the book in a very intense nine months.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
For a children’s book, it’s an unusual blend of learning about life in ancient China at one important point in history by examining one mysterious set of tombs. It also explores related topics such as decomposition, mourning ceremonies, beliefs about the afterlife, and medical treatments. It could be compared to the National Geographic Investigates series on ancient civilizations, including ANCIENT CHINA: ARCHAEOLOGY UNLOCKS THE SECRETS OF CHINA’S PAST by Jacqueline Ball and Richard Levey.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My parents are from China, so things Chinese have always interested me. Although, like many children, I wasn’t particularly interested in history. But when I saw Lady Dai’s body, suddenly I could imagine this actual person living long ago like I live now—doing everyday things like enjoying good food, listening to music, loving her family, and worrying about her health. So I researched more than four hundred sources to learn about the meaning behind the tombs’ contents and what they reveal about life in the early Han Dynasty.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
This book might interest readers who like mummies, Chinese culture, art, or archaeology. It has lots of great photographs, plus wonderful illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen that help readers imagine being in Lady Dai’s world.
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