We’re thrilled to have here today Victoria Leung from Georges Ugeux’s new mystery novel, The Flying Dragon. She is a 34-year old Chinese detective living in Hong Kong.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Victoria. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I honestly believe that Georges has truly captured some of the complexities of my personality: my mix of sensitivity and assertiveness, my femininity and my determination. I am proud of these qualities. I often felt that he was so perceptive, he even uncovered some of my vulnerabilities in a way that I might not have been aware of in the moment. It isn’t often one meets a man that understands such a complicated woman.
My readers have noticed or will probably notice how I react under duress and stress, especially when I am pushed. I immediately go back to the inquiry. This, of course, does not mean I am not shocked or upset. However, Georges knew what I was going through and decided to be discreet. I thank him for that. I would not have liked to see what I went through in excruciating detail on paper. He respected me.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Let’s face it: I believe that he loves me even if he will not admit it. The color he gave to my character was truthful, but he painted it as a friend would do. So my personality is a very appealing one. In fact, Georges was probably a little too nice. He is obviously an emotional guy…and probably a romantic one!
I actually really like the way my personality was colored, but I know I cannot always be as nice as he made me. I also happen to know, my character was created and based on a combination of women he has known or admired. It is, of course, very flattering to be associated with pianist Yuja Wang and actress Zhang Ziyi.
What he captured extremely well is the difficulty for a young woman, particularly in the Chinese culture, to be taken seriously in the professional world. Flirtation is, of course, plentiful, and I am not shy. I have to use my charm sometimes. But, I also want to be recognized for the professional I have become. Having been a bank auditor, a financial fraud cop and now a detective, I have gained experience and knowledge – and I expect it to be recognized and respected. It is an uphill battle, and Georges captured my challenges very well in the novel.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I am assertive. Even in emotional moments, I am capable of holding myself and maintaining my position. I am not a crier, even though I am emotional. When I encounter people that are dishonest or try to manipulate, I can be ruthless and unforgiving. For example, one of the suspects in this case was trying to seduce me and was lying to me simultaneously. He quickly found out it was NOT the way to convince me of anything.
I can overreact, which is probably connected to the emotional part of me.
I am not convinced it is a bad trait, but I can be a bit sneaky. I use all the tools I have to destabilize a suspect or a liar. When I know I am right, I apply my skills to make sure he or she falls into my trap. I relish the moment I see some arrogant liar become a paper tiger. I have found that men can often be so infatuated with themselves when interacting with women. I can very well pretend to be seduced if it encourages a suspect confess.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Georges has contacted Zhang Ziyi. He was impressed by her roles in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. I agree completely. The combination of her films fit the two sides of my character: the warrior and the seductress. I would be thrilled if she accepted to play me. We are even the same age. If not, there are certainly other Chinese actresses who could represent my character perfectly.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
If you’re asking whether or not I was attracted to a man in the book, the answer is yes. There were moments in which I struggled internally to remain objective and assertive. Many of the men were very handsome…but there was one in particular I wouldn’t have minded spending an evening with. Of course, he was one of the prime suspects and had betrayed my best friend, Diana Yu. So, it was definitely a non-starter.
I also could understand the elements of passion and sexual orientation in the story – they fit with my personality.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
As soon as I realized that sexual orientation was a major factor and a reason for aggression, I knew the story would evolve into a different world. I did not mind it, but it this was the moment I needed to mobilize assessment of its role in the plot and realized that some of the character’s motivations would likely be irrational. I knew it would become ugly.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Without disclosing details, there is a sleazy character in the book, one who actually approaches Victoria Leung to launch the investigation. He is so infatuated with himself, disingenuous and manipulative, not to mention the way he treats his peers and women in general.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I never thought that the hatred of the primary suspect would be so extreme and irrational, and it was a true challenge interrogating him. However, I do like the fact that I enraged him to the point where he unconsciously admitted his own guilt.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Georges should continue the path he is on. He incorporates so many of his own values in the story. He may, however, have to include a bit more detail in the sex elements of the book…I will be 36, and each day that goes by I can feel my biological clock ticking. I do wonder what he has in mind for me. He certainly knows my femininity but protected me this time. Hopefully he will unveil that side of me in the next book.
Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Absolutely. I know Georges wants me to travel.
He did share with me that the next plot will likely take place in the city of London. I look forward to it, as I am delighted to spend some time in London. It is a city that Georges himself, lived in for many years so I am sure he is going have me discover unusual parts of his own experiences. He is truly unpredictable.
I should be back early 2017!
Title: THE FLYING DRAGON
Author: Georges Ugeux
Publisher: Archway Books
Find out more on Amazon
About the Book:
Celebrated non-fiction author Georges Ugeux delivers an intense, imaginative and intriguing financial thriller in his debut novel, The Flying Dragon. Set against the backdrop of the high-energy, high-tension world of global finance, The Flying Dragon plunges readers deep into a world where power, greed, money, and passion can intersect in a most dangerous way.
The Flying Dragon introduces protagonist Victoria Leung, a beautiful, brilliant, fearless, and highly accomplished financial fraud investigator. Responsible for taking down Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Kwok Brothers, a real estate empire, Victoria not only established herself as a formidable talent, but earned the nickname “The Flying Dragon” in the process. When she leaves the fraud department of the Hong Kong Police, Victoria accepts a position as a senior detective at Pegasus, an international security firm based in London. The Pegasus job affords Victoria much-needed freedom, but that calm is shattered when Victoria receives an urgent message from her close friend Diana Yu. It seems Diana’s ex- boyfriend Henry Chang is in danger. Henry’s co-worker, Bertrand Wilmington, head of the derivative trading desk of a global bank, has fallen from a window of the twenty-second floor trading room.The Hong Kong Police Force quickly concludes that the death was a suicide, but is there more to this story than meets the eye? Henry Chang thinks so—and knows that if anyone can find answers, it’s Victoria, the Flying Dragon herself. Hong Kong and Mainland authorities are unsuccessful in cracking the case, but Victoria uses her expertise to discover key clues. And Victoria, a dogged, tough, tenacious investigator, won’t back down until she gets answers. As she races to piece together the puzzle of what really happened, Victoria is swept up in a world of danger, deception, and deadly consequences. Can she extricate herself from this perilous web of arrogance, power, money and greed? Will she expose the corruption and bring down a financial giant? Or will time run out? The clock is ticking….
A Belgian and U.S. national, Georges Ugeux is the Chairman and CEO of Galileo Global Advisors LLC, an investment banking advisory boutique. Ugeux joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1996, as Group Executive Vice President, International. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ugeux is the author of a numerous nonfiction books about finance. The Flying Dragon is his first work of fiction