Tuesday, October 18, 2011

China--Country of Contrasts

I just finished reading Patti Lacy’s fourth novel, RECLAIMING LILY, which is partially set in China. I truly believe it’s her best one yet! The book was just released Oct. 1 by Bethany House, and I had the privilege of reviewing it for Faithfulreader.com. Here is the link to the review.



Patti is graciously stopping by Taste the World today to share some thoughts on China, Reclaiming Lily, and her writing in general.

Q. Patti, your plots encompass family secrets, fractured families, segregation, and illness. Do you see an "author's theme" developing through your work?

A. God gifted me a career verse, Romans 8:28, as a theme for my “Spanning Seas and Secrets” novels. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Dear ones, He will work for your good even in the throes of abandonment. Rape. Rejection. Miscarriage. Fatal disease.

Q. In researching Reclaiming Lily, you traveled to China. Do you claim any social, business, or cultural ties to that country?

A. In 1987-1988, my parents taught English in China via the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. YEARS later, God whispered, “Write Reclaiming Lily,” which tells the story of a brave Chinese doctor who just HAPPENS to be Mom’s physician. Can you believe God’s ways? To capture China on paper, I just HAD to go. In May 2010, China unfolded in a BEAUTIFUL way. A soulmate friend who’s a Chinese national guided me to areas rarely seen by Westerners. I explored the complexities and incongruities of this great land.

My passport proves I spent 17 days in a glorious land. I spanned over 15,000 miles, drank gallons of green tea, dined on food rivaling Europe’s gastronomic delights, tiptoed through courtyards where emperors lived, amid their 8,000 buildings and countless servants.

Contrasts abound: Women rinse clothes in a stream swollen with garbage. Women dressed haute couture stroll by. Mercedes limos swerve past rickshacks. Post-modern, neon-lit skyscrapers tower over timeless hutongs (walled neighborhoods) fueled by propane, most with no running water or modern bathroom facilities. My heart found the rhythm of these neighborhoods where we sat on stoops and shared drinks and food with locals. Though I inhaled China books (over 20), the great lady blew to smithereens my every preconception.

Q. How was the street food?

A. We survived (THRIVED) on street food. Locals who saw us eyeing their entrees waved us onto compact stools and said, “Dig in!” Chopsticks tweezed food into six mouths, then back to a communal platter. Never ate better. Never felt better. Since Chinese only eat right-handed, I was a CELEBRITY…and lost eight Midwestern-winter-gained pounds while gobbling stinky tofu, chicken stomach and feet, quail eggs, dumplings stuffed with wild mountain greens, and a dizzying number of delicious veggies and fruits.

Q. Other thoughts on China?

A. China is a ginormous place. But Oh. My. Her beauty swept me away.
Did I gain admittance to orphanages? Interview one who’d relinquished hold on a beloved child? No. Yet if I got it right, China and its people infuse every page of Reclaiming Lily.

China. Kinda like life. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.
Oh, China, I do not know you. But I love you.

Thanks, Patti. And what would a “Taste the World” author interview be without a recipe? Here’s a Chinese recipe that Patti sent to share.

Black Pepper Chicken

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, about 8 oz. (cut into thin strips)
1 onion (sliced)
1 green bell pepper (cut into thin strips)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (use 1 tablespoon to marinate the chicken)
1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Maggi seasoning
2 tablespoons oil

Marinate the chicken strips with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for 10 minutes.
Heat up a wok and add cooking oil. When the cooking oil is hot, add the sliced onions and quickly stir-fry until aromatic and follow by the bell pepper and black pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute and add in the chicken strips. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is cooked. Add in soy sauce, Maggi sauce, and sugar. Continue to stir-fry until the onions are caramelized. Dish out and serve hot.


  1. That sounds like an absolutely amazing trip!! I am going to try the black pepper chicken..it sounds yummy!! I would love a chance to win a copy of Reclaiming Lily...sounds like an amazing book!! margie at mijares dot net

  2. This book sounds like it will be as awesome and inspiring as Patti's other beautiful novels. I am excited about a chance to win it. Thank you Susan ... I LOVE your blog!

  3. Susan, thanks so much for inviting us into your corner of cyberspace!!! If only we could munch on this recipe!!!

    Margie, hope you like it! I always enjoy "chatting!"

    Patt, I'd recognize you ANYWHERE! You can't fool me!!! Hope you are keeping Susan in line!!!

  4. great pics will try recipe

  5. Wow. China sounds amazing. Maybe some day I will make it there.

  6. Sham, thanks! I took over 600!!! No, let me amend that. SAVED over 600!!!

    Maureen, oh, it was! Lord willing, it will unfold for you as well!

  7. Hi, Patti & Susan!

    Oh, I have to try that recipe. It looks amazing. And of course, I'm just itching to read this book. :)

    Melanie Joy

  8. Melanie Joy, hey there! I sure do want you to crack those pages!!! Lately I have CRAVED Chinese food, especially when served with what's called "Old Lady Sauce." Comes in a jar and looks kinda like Thai fish sauce, but has the picture of an elderly Chinese woman on the label!!!

    Yep, I am HUNGRY!!!

  9. I logged onto Patti's facebook party late, but really enjoyed the time I was there. I didn't win anything :( but it was fun anyway! I would love to win her book this time. It sounds sooo good!

  10. Oh, forgot my e-mail address on the post from Nancy: nancy@kennethssales.com

  11. Nancy, it was great to connect!!! You are on the list!!!

  12. Wow, sounds like quite an epic experience. I have no doubt that such a trip contributed mightily to injecting a dose of raw China directly into your manuscript!

  13. Sounds like a fabulous experience - AND a wonderful book. WOuld LOVE to win it :) Thanks!

  14. Rick, I sure hope so! It was unforgettable, that's for sure!

    Joanne, THANKS!! Great to "meet" here!!!

  15. Patti, I've traveled a bit, but truly you don't feel the rhythm of the people and the customs unless you settle in a bit with the people.My book club has read books on the serious issues facing women to this day in China--thank you for bringing this culture to the forefront in your novel. I'm excited to read it. pgrau (dot) ggi (at) gmail (dot) com, sign me up for the drawing.

  16. My cousin's three girls all came from China. What a struggle it was to get them here, but such a blessing once it was over.