I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for Lost in Taiwan that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
How would you describe Lost in Taiwan in one sentence?
An American teenager finds himself completely lost in the streets of a large Taiwanese city, and must embark on a journey of discovery to find his way home.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Lost in Taiwan?
Paul is a rather cynical guy who prefers fast food and video games to doing anything that might widen his horizons. Like many people who come across as sarcastic and bitter, he has put walls up around himself to avoid getting hurt by others. Of course, this story is about the day all that began to change, and the Paul we see at the end of the book is quite a different person.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I always have a pretty detailed outline of the entire story in place very early on. It’s especially important to have a satisfying ending worked out; then I can make sure all the scenes are building toward that ending. But I leave things open enough that if I get a good idea later on, I can ignore the outline and institute that change, for the good of the story.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
There’s an early morning scene that transpires without a single word. In it, we see Paul get a canned coffee from a vending machine and go out for a walk among the rice paddies. This is drawn from my own memories of exploring Taiwan on my own. And I won’t give it away, but something kind of magical happens late in the scene that almost feels predestined by fate. It’s unlike any scene I’ve ever done before.
What is something readers will find in Lost in Taiwan that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
Most of the book transpires over the course of a single day. Since you stay with the main character Paul for the entirety of that day, you will hopefully get a deeply immersive experience that is fairly unusual in graphic novels. For example, the sun starts going down at one point, and you basically see the sunset, little by little, from one page to the next.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from Lost in Taiwan?
I hope it makes readers interested in the possibility of visiting Taiwan, or just travelling anywhere outside of their own country. At its heart, the story is all about the magic that occurs when you break out of your own familiar routines and begin to learn about the wider world outside.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Lost in Taiwan?
Well, it’s a very different part of the world, but E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India is of course a classic, and one that portrays the meeting of two cultures in a very powerful way.
Michael Palin is a marvelous writer, and his Around the World in Eighty Days is a delightful account of a journey in which he did just that, with the restriction of never once travelling by air.
And I can’t resist mentioning my previous graphic novel, My Last Summer with Cass, which doesn’t involve foreign travel at all. But if you like the storytelling in Lost in Taiwan, you will find more of the same—and quite a lot that’s different, as well—in that book, which is something of a companion piece.
ABOUT THE BOOK
TITLE: Lost in Taiwan
AUTHOR: Mark Crilley
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary
RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2023
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound
A story about stepping out of your comfort zone—literally—on an unlikely journey to making new connections and learning to explore the big wide world around you, Lost In Taiwan is the latest from celebrated graphic novelist Mark Crilley.
THIS WASN’T PAUL’S IDEA.
The last thing he’s interested in is exploring new countries or experiencing anything that might be described as “cultural enrichment.” But like it or not, he’s stuck with his brother, Theo, for two weeks in Taiwan, a place that—while fascinating to Theo—holds no interest to Paul at all.
While on a short trip to a local electronics store, Paul becomes hopelessly lost in Taiwan’s twisting, narrow streets, and he has no choice but to explore this new environment in his quest to find his way back to Theo’s apartment.
In an unfamiliar place with no friends—and no GPS!—there’s no telling what adventures he could happen upon. And who knows? Maybe it turns out he has friends in Taiwan, after all.
Content Warning: Racial microaggressions
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Crilley is an American comic book creator and children’s book author/illustrator. He is the creator of Miki Falls, Akiko, and Brody’s Ghost. He is also noted for his instructional videos for drawing in the manga-style. Crilley distributes drawing advice to artists via YouTube videos and his DeviantArt account. In August 2010, he starred in some how to draw videos for Funimation on demand. Mark Crilley’s wife is Miki Crilley who he named Miki Falls after. The two have a daughter, Mio, and a son, Matthew.