What do you do after a long day in the operating room? Renowned eye surgeon, Andrew Lam, writes books, and we at Team Bondfire are glad he does.
Before the holidays, we had a chance to chat with Dr. Lam about his latest historical novel, Two Sons of China.
1. Why did you write this book? How did the story come about?
Like a lot of people, I’m fascinated by World War II. I also love watching sweeping, romantic war movies where we get to see how cataclysmic circumstances affect ordinary men and the women they love. I wanted to write a novel like this, but set in a place completely new: China.
Too few people know about the war in China, and after I learned about the many Americans who served there, it felt natural to center this story on an unlikely friendship between an American soldier and a Chinese Communist guerilla fighter who, despite their clashing convictions, form a bond of brotherhood in battle.
2. American soldiers in China during World War II? Tell us more.
World War II actually began in 1937, when the Japanese invaded China. Thousands of Americans served in China, supporting Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist armies and hoping to keep as many Japanese troops as possible busy in China instead of fighting in the Pacific.
What’s special about this story is that it’s based on a little-known, real-life expedition called the Dixie Mission, in which American soldiers ventured north to Mao Zedong’s stronghold of Yenan to see how effectively the Chinese Communists were fighting the Japanese, and to consider arming them with U.S. weapons. Anyone who learns about the heroic Americans who went on this mission will be enthralled, and I hope my novel helps to spread their story far and wide.
3. You’re a successful eye surgeon and bestselling author. That’s a pretty rare combination. Tell us a little bit about your passion for both and how they intersect.
My two passions are history and helping people. The latter might sound a little cliché, but it’s the reason why, after studying military history at Yale, I decided to go to medical school and ultimately became a retinal surgeon who fights to save sight every day.
My goal as a writer is to shine a light on stories that deserve to be more well known. In my first book, Saving Sight, I profiled medical innovators whose inventions were ridiculed but ultimately saved the sight of millions around the world.
With Two Sons of China, I hope to bring attention to unsung WWII heroes who served America with honor in a difficult and distant land. That, and captivate readers with an action-packed, romantic tale of love, betrayal, honor and sacrifice, of course!