Although I’m much more of a non-fiction reader than a lover of fiction, I’ve been captivated recently by Barry Eisler’s series of John Rain thrillers (the first one is Rain Fall) about a Japanese-American assassin who specializes in making the deaths of his victims appear to be from natural causes.

Eisler has a varied background, including stints in the CIA and as a student of the martial arts; both experiences feed into his character development of Rain.

The earlier novels are set in Tokyo, with later ones in Hong Kong, Macau, Rio and a host of other wonderful cities that I’ve either visited myself or always wanted to see.

It’s the Japan-focused ones that really grab me; I so miss being in that incredibly foreign, frustrating, mysterious and yet comfortable environment. In my time living there, it was SO different from everything that I’d ever experienced. I grew quite weary of feeling like a complete nincompoop (mostly because I couldn’t speak the language nor read any of the signs in kanji) yet there was a civility and kindness there that made me feel at home even as I felt so lost.

Once I stopped trying to figure it out, I relaxed and figured it out. Isn’t that always the way?

I first stumbled upon Eisler in an interview about ebooks and self-publishing with author Joe Konrath. That blog post single-handedly made me consider self-publishing for a book I’m writing – the Elastic Waist Entrepreneur.

Here’s Eisler talking about his creative process – if you want to visit Japan for awhile, I recommend his thrillers to take you there.

Here’s the direct link to the Eisler video on YouTube, if you can’t see the embed box below.

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