I'm a lifelong Californian with a German-American father and a British mother. I worked almost 20 years for The McGraw-Hill Education Companies as a senior program manager in charge of scoring statewide student assessments. I worked with state departments of education, the Department of Defense, and I was fortunate to also work on an international contract in the Middle East, Qatar and its Supreme Education Council, which provided me with the opportunity to see, meet, and work with other people and cultures.I wrote The Golden Star of Shanghai as a rip roaring western. It's also a metaphor for climate change. Many of the challenges of the 1880s are similar to what we face today. The devastation caused by hydraulic mining was monumental and mostly forgotten. Almost three times the amount of earth moved in building the Panama Canal was washed down just the Yuba River alone. This mud and muck, laced with mercury, buried valley towns and farmland all the way to San Francisco Bay. And just like the debris that washed out of the mountains, man-made particulate debris, heat-trapping gases, are dumped into the atmosphere, altering our climate through droughts, intensifying storms, sea level rise, wildfire seasons that last all year. Non-fiction accounts of this story exist, but these titles are mostly forgotten. I used historical fiction because I wanted to tell this tale with vibrant characters and dialogue, making this story more accessible to readers today. The romance between Charles Reed and a Chinese prostitute, Chan, speaks to everyone's desire to find a true love and a soul mate, in the face of the times, against conventional wisdom. This is something people can identify with, a love affair set against momentous events. It makes the story even more compelling. Also, I think it's an entertaining way to learn about history.