Monday, April 22, 2013

Author Daniel Clausen: The Ghosts of Nagasaki

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating - finding new authors and their books is one of the fun things about blogging. I’m delighted today to welcome one such author to Thoughts in Progress. Author Daniel Clausen had been schedule to visit with us last month, but due to computer problems on my end we had to reschedule.

Daniel is here today to talk about his latest release, THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI, and his writing. In addition, Daniel has a nice surprise for visitors. See if you can find out what it is.

First, here’s a brief synopsis of THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI and then Daniel graciously answers my questions.

    The numerous workdays have taken a toll on Tokyo investment banker Pierce Williams. Each day he wakes up, and each day the weight where his heart should be grows heavier. One morning, without knowing why, he sits down at his desk and begins typing something.
    Soon he realizes that without meaning to he has begun typing the story of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago. As he types he realizes that the words on his screen are more than he could have imagined. Instead of simply remembering the past, he is reliving it in ways that fundamentally alter his present.
    In his manic writing are the ghosts of his past, a chilling vision of his future, and the possible key to his salvation.     Somehow he must solve the mystery of four years ago. A mystery that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a native writer, and an oppressive bureaucrat/samurai bent on crushing his spirit.

Mason - What inspired you to write this story?

The ghosts did. I’m not sure how else to put it. The ghosts of the past just wouldn’t be beat back into their hiding places. Also, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be patient and finish another novel.

Mason - What was a typical writing day like for you?

Well, I had a diary that I had kept for four years that was my source material. That was the easy part. The crafting of the novel at the beginning was usually 40-50 minute writing fits, with between one and three a day. Then progress became slow. 30 minutes every other day with some days nothing getting done. Over time, little problems with the narrative would get fixed—somehow. The book took about 4 years to complete. But the actual story was done in about 6 to 7 months. The rest of the time was spent just making things work. Transitions, sentences, consistent themes and imagery, narrative consistencies. You name it, it needed to be hammered into place. And that was what took the majority of the time.

Mason - With the book’s release, as you look back what was the biggest surprise that occurred in writing the story?

I was delighted at how well the character the Welshman worked asBookCoverImage a narrative mechanism. 

The main character needs the Welshman to deal with his haunting past. But equally important, the novel needs the Welshman to help keep up the pace of the book. 

My one great regret with my first novel was that I had a main character that was overly ponderous. He would ponder things three times before doing anything. Every book needs a character that does things to keep the narrative moving. 

Also, I was surprised I finished writing the book. Starting is easy, finishing is difficult.
Mason - What message, if any, would you like readers to take away from this story?

Nothing predetermined. I hope the reader gets something out of the story, but it doesn’t have to be one thing. The great thing about fiction is that it can have messages that are intense and intuitive in ways philosophical treatise or polemical writing cannot.

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

I would like to get back to writing short stories. The shInoueort form and I are good friends. 

I would also like to get my friend Christian Bocquee to do some more art for a second edition of THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI. Perhaps one or two years down the line an illustrated version of Ghosts is in the cards. Maybe, maybe not. In any event, you can see Christian’s rendition of the character Inoue shown here. You can also see more of Christian’s work here at

Daniel, thank you for joining us and sharing a behind-the-scenes look at THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI. I had never thought about ending a book being difficult, only beginning one.

Now here’s a bit of background on Daniel. His fiction has been published in Slipstream Magazine, Zygote in my Coffee, Leading Edge Magazine, and Spindrift, among other venues.
THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI is his third book. For more on Daniel and his writing, you can friend him on Goodreads, find him on Facebook, or subscribe to his website @  

As part of the interview, Daniel is graciously giving away three free copies of this book. If you would like a chance to win a free copy of THE GHOSTS OF NAGASAKI, you can email him directly at: You can also purchase signed copies for 15 dollars from the same email address. 

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Remember, email Daniel for a chance to win a free copy of his intriguing book.


  1. Daniel, thank you again for joining us today. How and why your book came about is intriguing. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Daniel.

    Daniel - What an interesting concept for a story! It tells Pierce Williams' story from so many different perspectives. I like innovation and I give you credit for that. I wish you success.


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