WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE IN TWENTY YEARS...
IF I REALLY BECAME AN EXPERT?
I studied China extensively in college and graduate school, set many of my works in China, traveled to China and interviewed locals for more information on the history of specific areas. I majored in Chinese history in college and graduate school. To learn more about China, I have visited China, Taiwan, and England (England having had quite a bit of control in China some time ago), as well as Japan to investigate China’s ancient influences.
My income comes from a variety of sources--I host my own History Channel program on Ancient China for middle/high school students, which is a large success in schools and dishes in quite a bit of money. I am also a spokesperson for the Chinese government’s tourism program to publicize Chinese museums and artifacts and raise international awareness about China’s rich history. My various books are national bestsellers and many schools across the country have invested in textbooks I have co-authored.
My books (some of which I’m still working on) include:
The Shadowed Specialist: An Intimate Look at the Life of China’s First Female Historian (New York bestseller list for two years running and winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
The Middle Kingdom (A general textbook on Ancient China)
China’s Role in Today’s Economy (a look at China’s influence in business and featured in Forbes, Businessweek, and Fortune Magazine)
The Invaders: Mongols in China
Museums in China: Great Places for the Whole Family (a guidebook to Chinese museums, distributed by the Chinese government)
Time Tunnel: the Xia Dynasty
Time Tunnel: The Shang Dynasty
Time Tunnel: The Zhou Dynasty (all Time Tunnel books are brief, hardcover books with slippery pages and lots of photos aimed at elementary school children. There are Time Tunnel books for most of China’s dynasties and the Cultural Revolution.)
The Lonely Bronze Vessel: An Exploration of the Designs of the Shang Dynasty
My house is stainless white, with brick siding, two floors, and four grand pillars holding up a triangular extension of the roof over the expansive porch. A balcony with ornate railing juts out from the main bedroom, directly above the black door. My parlor is frequented by prominent historians and literary figures, some of whom stay the night in one of my five color-themed guest bedrooms. My office is bamboo-floored with large Victorian windows and reading cushions. I have a large Rose Garden (pesticide free), which is also the site of history reenactments by the neighborhood children to raise money for good causes.
My routine is like this: Everyday I wake up late and have a breakfast of hot pinhead oats or organic cereal, after which I proceed to my office, check email on my sleek black laptop, and proceed with work on my latest book. My sister Adrianna, the eminent musician, comes every so often to give a concert in the Rose Garden to raise money for charitable organizations, but my real reason for inviting her is her delicious cooking, and sometimes she makes me lunch.
I take naps around two PM and wake up promptly at three twenty-five to (weather permitting) give lectures in the Rose Garden or inside my house to raise money for charitable organizations. After these lectures I do physical exercise and whatever else I want. My dinner table is quite long—I eat with a number of famous personages before we all watch a movie in my home theater.
Some of the greatest sources of happiness in my life include seeing children—or adults, for that matter—become interested in history; discovering new things in my research on China; spending time with my family; and getting the feeling that I’m actually doing something that will impact the world.