New Video: Boyd Anderson interview about AMBER ROAD – Random Book Talk
by Clayton Wehner - February 10th, 2013
With intrigue, romance and suspense to rival Gone With the Wind, AMBER ROAD tells an epic story of one woman’s indomitable spirit against the backdrop of World War Two.
As an empire is swept away, a young woman’s world is ripped apart…
It’s 1941 and seventeen-year-old Victoria Khoo lives in luxury in colonial Singapore. Her carefree days are spent fantasising about marrying Sebastian Boustead, scion of a great British merchant family, and becoming mistress of his imposing mansion on Amber Road.
Not even Sebastian’s arrival from London with his new fiancée, Elizabeth Nightingale, can dampen her dreams…
Then the war reaches Asia and ‘Fortress Singapore’ abruptly surrenders to the Japanese. As the inhabitants are deserted by Britain, Victoria is forced to protect both her family and her rival, Elizabeth, from the cruelty of the occupation.
Victoria’s old life has vanished in a heartbeat – but nothing will stand in the way of her destiny. Not the war. Not Elizabeth. And certainly not Joe Spencer, the charismatic Australian who both charms and infuriates her at every turn…
Also available as an ebook.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM TRANSCRIPT:
Brett: You make no allusions about the parallels between AMBER ROAD and Gone with the Wind. In fact it kind of percolates right through the book. Interestingly Gone with the Wind brought to the screen in 1939, just as the Second World War was starting. How did that classic inspire you and the characters in AMBER ROAD?
Boyd: Well that’s actually where the whole thing started. I was riding my bike one day and I had just seen the Gone with the Wind film—which I have to say I think is better than the book—probably for the twentieth or thirtieth time and it was just, as you say, percolating around in my brain. That story about the end of the civilisation of the South because of the Civil War is really not a big story when you think about what happened as a result of the Second World War. That was the end of the British Empire. An entire empire finished. Not only did that empire finish over those five or six years, it finished on one day: the fall of Singapore was the end of the British Empire. You can date it to one day. That’s the store I wanted to write. Then I, as you say, percolated around for a bit and I’ve also found that I like the characters of Gone with the Wind: that strangely strong woman and the resourceful heroic man and how their relationship brings out what it does in the two of those people against the backdrop of a completely changing world is what excited me. So I sat down and started writing it and just couldn’t stop.
Brett: I can’t imagine how much effort goes into researching a book like AMBER ROAD. Where do you begin?
Boyd: You begin by loving research. If you don’t like research, if you don’t like delving into why things happen, you can’t do it. Fortunately, I love doing that, so it’s not a task, it’s a pleasurable pastime. The sources I had were impeccable because apart from all the sources that are available in Google, the libraries, archives and so on, I had sources in my own family. My wife is from that part of the world and she has relatives who lived through the time and I was able to interview them and get specific information and was directed into specific sources that were rather exclusive and certainly sources I hadn’t seen delved into in fiction before.
Brett: The detail of the history is remarkable and it feels, at times, personal. I believe that Ang Sana lodge, Sebastian… one of the main characters’ family home has a link with your own family, or inspired by a home in your own family?
Boyd: Part of my wife’s family actually lived in Amber Road right until the sixties but not in a house like that. A house like that comes from another branch of the family not in Singapore, but in Malaysia. They had houses of that type in other parts of the Malay Peninsula. So essentially putting all those things together. There were houses like that in AMBER ROAD—Amber Road is a real street by the way—and there were houses like that in those days, I mean they still exist. It’s a quite different road now; it used to be right on the waterfront, now it’s about a mile front the waterfront. There’s so much landfill in Singapore so it’s got a completely different feel to it.