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My parents were American missionaries to Indonesia, where I was born and raised and still live with my family. In 1965, as a nine-year boy living in Bali, I was an eye-witness to the madness that swept over the country and the island after a failed communist coup, during which tens of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered.
One rainy day in December, a man I’d never seen before hunched on the parlor sofa in my parent’s house in Klungkung, east Bali. He reeked of fright: acrid, bitter, biting. He was silent, hands clasped between his knees. A former member of a Communist party’s community organization, he was helpless, hopeless, marked for death, a marking that painted not by gray-skinned pallor but by stink. I’ll never forget that smell. My latest book is about that time: BONES OF THE DARK MOON, a contemporary novel exploring the massacres of 1965, a tragedy that is not part of the Bali myth and is unknown to most visitors and even younger Balinese themselves.
I grew up reading whatever I could get my hands on. I wrote my first my first short story when I was six-years-old about a yawn that traveled around the world. I also went to the beach a lot and surfed. I attended college in the US and then bailed out of a marine geology PhD program due to technical difficulties with my soul, which did not want to be shackled to a career. I ended back in Bali, writing and surfing (as a writer, I am best known for my YA novel THE KILLING SEA, about the Asian tsunami but I have other great books out there too). I also spend a good deal of my life looking for things, such as my sunglasses, which sometimes are to be found propped up on my head.