ROBERT BARCLAY MEETS FEISTY CLARA YEHONALA
Robert Barclay Author found the world-famous pianist Clara Yehonala much more agreeable than Katy was in an earlier conversation. Having this one with Clara was a pleasure, mostly. Though with her he knew to be wary as he’d given her the basics of a short fuse. Also, any writer of a multicultural novel or interracial romance who overlooks cultural differences does so at their peril.
Anyway, here’s the interview with Clara about life in The Diary of Katy Yehonala and you can see for yourself what a delightful young woman she turned out to be. They we’re talking about being the daughter of Katy Yehonala in a multicultural novel…
Robert Barclay Author: Hello, Clara, how are you? I’ve been looking forward to meeting you for more than half the book.
Clara: Oh, it’s you. Ma said you’d be coming around. She said to let you know she loves living in Shanghai, the shopping in Shujiahui and Nanjing Road is fantastic. I’m afraid you’ve missed her today. She’s gone off to Suzhou with Dad to visit the gardens. They’ll be back tonight.
Robert: Yes, I know, I sent them there. I’ll make it part of the story later. It’s you I want to chat to anyway. Would you mind?
Clara: Dad warned me to ask you what sort of mood you’re in first. He’s worried what you’re going to do to him and Ma – or me – if I say the wrong thing.
Robert: My usual bright and happy mood, I assure you. Who wouldn’t be meeting the famous Clara Yehonala. The sun’s over the yardarm so I brought a bottle of Brunello to share with you as a peace offering.
Clara: Brunello? What’s that?
Robert: Comes from Tuscany, a place called Montalcino. You’ll get to love it in the next book.
Clara: Okay, Let’s give it a try. What should I call you? Robert Barclay Author? God? Or a sociopath as Ma prefers, as you obviously enjoy making money writing about our family misfortunes?
Robert: How about you call me Robert?
Clara: Sounds fair. I can always move to something more insulting later if needs be.
Robert: Deal. What do you think of the Brunello?
Clara: Mmm. Fresh fruit flavours, like figs, candied cherries, hazelnuts, and sun-baked leather. I’m going to enjoy living in Tuscany later.Gambei!
Robert: Don’t get too excited yet. Well, let’s get started. First up, are you happy with the obliging nature I gave you?
Clara: It’s good, thanks. We Chinese daughters are all like that. We come with five thousand years’ worth of obligingness built in. Even Dad’s Aussie corpuscles didn’t make much difference. A bit more of the quick temper and a helping of biting wit would be fun to have. How about you make me sort of like an oriental Lisbeth Salander without the tattoos, attitude, lesbian tendencies and swear words?
Robert: Sounds like that would make you more like Mother Teresa. I’ll add a healthy bit of sassy, you’ll need it later, anyway. I meant to ask you, with a Chinese mum and a western dad, what’s it like being a mixed race girl? I was going to say “mongrel” but my editor warned me about upsetting the PC nazis.
Clara: I prefer to think of it as “Eurasian”, thank you very much. No need to be politically correct with me though, I wouldn’t be in the least offended. I work in the performing arts, what they call each other behind their backs would curl your ears. But since you ask, I love it. I’m not happy you hid my dad away for so long though. Still, at least he’s back and I’m going to be the first Yehonala girl to grow up with a dad, which is great.
Robert: We’ll see. What about the pianist thing? I’m quite proud of myself for thinking up that career for you. How’s it going for you?
Clara: Terrific! I thought “The Jade Princess” was a bit pretentious at first, but I love my name now. And my English name “Clara” is brilliant. Naming me after my two most favourite pianists, Clara Schumann and Clara Haskil, was inspired. You know more about Romantic music than I thought you would.
Robert: I’m just full of surprises. Any problems I should know about?
Clara: You mean like the occasional bit of paranoia? I have the odd nightmare about you squashing my fingers in a door one day after one or two glasses of red. Also, the father hang-up thing is awkward for Ma and me too – just keep it under control, okay? Oh, there’s one more thing. I miss having decent fingernails, can’t you make an exception for me? I love those new designer nails. Anyway, why am I a pianist and not a movie star?
Robert: Haven’t you heard? Chinese movie stars are being rounded up for tax evasion. I couldn’t do that to you, I have much bigger things planned. No, a pianist is just the thing for you, and you’ll keep your fingers, at least for this and the next book. Can’t make promises past that, you know how it is. I’ll let you into a secret. You’re going to be even more famous but that’s all I can tell you.
Clara: Since you’re in such a good mood, I wouldn’t mind trying out a boyfriend soon. No movie stars, prima donna opera singers, Formula 1 drivers though, or boofy footballers. And definitely not the creepy David-type knobhead you set my mother up with.
Robert: They’re not in the plan, for now. But don’t worry, love is on the horizon for you. You might want to brush up on your Italian.
Clara: Cool as cream cheese, Robert! Or should I say fresco come crema di formaggio. Can’t wait. Someone like my dad who looks like Antonio Banderas would be good, but a bit younger, obviously. Er…can I just say, I’m not feeling good about, you know, the girl-girl hints you’re dropping. It’s not for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Robert: Trust me, I’ll look after you. Your mother wanted a boyfriend, remember? So, I brought Simon back for her.
Clara: Yes, that was a pleasant surprise for us both. All the bits were there too; we were half expecting him to turn up with some psychological disorder, or at least some minor physical deformity to test our emotional commitment to him so you could sell more books like some authors do. We were impressed you didn’t stoop to that. You know what? You’re not as bad as Ma said you were.
Robert: She complains all the time. Unfortunately, it was too late to change her once her character passed a few chapters, so you got stuck with her as a mum. It would have been mean to kill her off even though her parenting skills are a bit rudimentary. With you I had a better idea what I wanted – I also thought you might improve her a bit; I’ve grown to like her – but don’t tell her that.
Clara: Really? Your secret’s safe with me, Robert. Actually, I’m enormously proud of her. No matter what you do to her, she gets right back up again.
Robert: Yeah, she does. I expect I need to up the ante a bit. That’s not a bad idea about the emotional commitment improving book sales, by the way. You should be a literary agent.
Clara: What’s the idea about us going to Cambodia, Robert? Ma’s been telling me about you trying to get Dad to take us there. We’ve all made it to Page 265 safely, you’re not going to have one of those dramatic surprise endings, are you?
Robert: Cambodia’s wonderful, you’ll love it. Just pack some mosquito repellent and gumboots, the monsoons are on the way. Oh, and don’t drink the water.
Clara: Ma’s petrified. She’s having nightmares about heinous desperadoes selling us into a life of sex slavery, getting ourselves blown up by landmines, or exotic bacterium devouring us from inside. Couldn’t we go to Bali instead?
Robert: Don’t you be a drama queen, too, Clara. I have enough problems with Katy. You’ll both make it to the second book in one piece, more or less. As I said, I have big plans for you.
Clara: When do we go to Australia? I’ve never seen a kangaroo.
Robert: Katy gets to live in Melbourne. At least for a while. And I promise you’ll get to see a kangaroo. Give my best to Simon and Katy when they get home and tell them to make the most of their time together.
Check out my new novel,The Diary of Katy Yehonala,a great multicultural romance novel – plus an interesting life story. Katy’s a girl who follows her destiny, like we all can.
Buy a copy by visiting Shawline Publishing HERE
You can also leave your email at the bottom of the page for some great free stuff, and pre-previews of my latest books about multicultural romances. You can read a preview of The Diary of Katy Yehonala HERE
Robert Barclay Author
Robert Barclay is an Australian author of some of the best Australian crime fiction books. His new Australian multicultural novel follows the lives of Katy Yehonala and her daughter, Clara, his strong female protagonists as they confront the evils of society.