Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Pushing Water


Your new release Pushing Water occurs during the French Colonial Government in Hanoi in the late 1930s. What prompted you to write this story? What research did you do for this book?

I have always been curious about the history of Vietnam preceding the American/Vietnam War. As a young person during that war, it felt like the confrontation just popped up out of nowhere. Several of my friends were drafted. I lost touch with one young man that I’d been dating after he went to Vietnam. I have no idea what happened to him. Fifteen years ago I began to read about the history of that area of the world. The more I read, the more I was hooked. Soon characters began to reveal themselves to me. Then a plot surfaced. I did plenty of research, digging into old periodicals, newspapers, and dusty archives. I even went on line and purchased several very old and out of print history books. Since beginning Pushing Water I have visited Vietnam and several other Asian countries. The process has been interesting for me and I hope that those who read the novel find it an enjoyable read.

The title of my novel, Pushing Water, comes from a quote in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Lotus In A Sea Of Fire, A Buddhist Proposal For Peace: “In a river current, it is not the water in front that pulls the river along, but the water in the rear that acts as a driving force, pushing the water in front forward.”

What's the best thing about being an author?

Probably the best thing about being an author is when the writing is going so well that it’s as if I’ve discovered a totally unknown world going on in my head. The hope is that if I type fast enough the magic and drama can be captured. It is an elusive experience that can often be interrupted by the mere barking of a neighbor’s dog, but when it happens, it is delicious. Most of the other time, being an author is work, work that I love to do. 

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Susan Bernhardt


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