John Dalton is the author of the novel, Heaven Lake, which won the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction. It was also awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for best first fiction of 2004 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His second novel The Inverted Forest was published in 2010.
Dalton grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, as the youngest of seven children. He lived in Taiwan (the setting for his first novel) during the late 1980s and travelled extensively in mainland China and Asia. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the 1990s but has now returned to St. Louis where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is director of the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.
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An Interview with John Dalton, author of Heaven Lake
Q: Is it true that part of your novel is based on an actual proposition
you received in Taiwan?
A: It is, yes. This happened only a few months after I'd arrived in Taiwan in 1989. I'd moved to Toulio on a whim to teach English in a language school. At night, after classes, I'd go and have dinner with several other foreign teachers along a lane of food stalls. We were great rarities in town, often stared at, frequently approached. Several nights in a row a local gentleman, an overly-cheery businessman with a fitful manner, came to our table. He was an enthusiastic beer drinker. One evening, after many rounds of beer, he told his story. He'd recently been to the mainland to seek out business opportunities and, purely by chance, had met and fallen in love with a woman whom he described as the most beautiful woman in China. He wanted to marry her. She and her family welcomed the prospect. Politically, however, such a union would either be impossible or result in long bureaucratic delays. And so he made a standing offer of ten thousand U.S. dollars to our table of foreign teachers for anyone willing to travel to the mainland, marry the woman under ...
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