Hey. Jame is almost my real name (it’s pronounced like James without the S, and it wasn’t my mother’s idea). I was born into a middle-class family in the U.S., and grew up reading Stephen King and Ian Fleming and watching “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I wanted to tell stories as exciting as those.
Early attempts were crude comics featuring lost pets. I got my hands on a typewriter in my early teens and churned out space operas. Then came word processors, the kind requiring you to download the software for five minutes via a cassette tape, and I branched into longer swords-and-sorcery tales. (In the eleventh grade, I took a typing class for an easy grade, and was the only kid to actually practice.)
My 20s were a fallow decade for writing: school, dead-end jobs, and finally a parachuting into cutthroat finance journalism in New York…but I was frustrated by a lack of anything to say in the realm of fiction. So I kept my literary trap shut.
In 1997 my employer transferred me to Hong Kong, six months before Great Britain was due to transfer sovereignty over this colony to China. The Asian financial crisis erupted that same summer, which was a great learning experience for a young reporter with a travel budget.
Somewhere along the way, reading non-stop and mixing business with pleasure – or at least with a lot of late nights – the synapses began to snap. On a sweaty summer night, I hunched over the laptop in my tiny apartment and began writing about a beautiful but troubled American woman working as a hostess in a Japanese nightclub. Val Benson, the Gaijin Cowgirl, was born.
If rejections still came by letter instead of by email, I could have covered the walls with them. Good thing I kept the day job. Finally a new indie imprint, Crime Wave Press, published my novel Gaijin Cowgirl in 2013.
I have a passion for history and travel, and The Story of Angkor (published by Silkworm Books) is a non-fiction tale of the Angkor civilization for travelers visiting the ancient temples in Cambodia.
Attempts to recreate the epic sweep of Gaijin Cowgirl flamed out, so I turned inward and gritty. My latest novel, Bloody Paradise, a tropical noir, was released in the U.S. by Water Street Press in 2016.
You can find all of this stuff at my Amazon author’s page. More international pulp thrillers are in the pipeline.
Book reviews and other articles of mine have also appeared in Asian Review of Books, New Mandala, South China Morning Post and the English-language edition of Caixin. I’ve also appeared as a talking head on BBC World, and still have my day job in financial journalism. I once practiced muay thai (kickboxing) but now do yoga to clear away the hangovers.