Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sins of the Father and The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road

The theme of the sins of the father has been universal in art, way before the discovery of material passed down through genes. My hunch is that ultimately the legacy of Ted Kennedy, who died today, will be carved out in context of what drove his father Joseph Kennedy and how the son struggled - successfully and not so well - against "destiny."

One brilliant exploration of that theme is the novel "The Mango Tree Cafe." By authors Taryn Simpson and Alan Solomon, it creates Everyman Larry. His father's passivity - stuck in the butterfat of farming life in New Zealand - drives the son to find a mission - and meaning. The father also passes onto the son too much dependence on alcohol. Although Larry, like much of humanity including Ted Kennedy, defaults often into escape through booze, he does find his way to a somewhere. That's unusual. The lion's share of the wounded, confused, curious more frequently journey only to find themselves still stuck in that metaphorical butterfat.

The somewhere is Loi Kroh Road in Thailand. Legend has it that dark ghostly presences dating back to 1296 hang out on that road. Larry finds redemption attempting to counteract that force. He and the woman he rescued from prostitution Noo operate the Mango Tree Cafe. It provides a more than clean well-lighted place to drink, eat, and tell one's story to Larry's sympathetic ear. Doing good results in doing well. Larry becomes wealthy enough to finance the heart operation which saves Noo. Sound a bit too inspirational? It isn't written that way.

This morality tale is about the possibility of triumphing over what could or maybe should be our destiny. Larry does more than run, lapse into alcoholism, and stare inward. As the adage goes, Destiny isn't what happens. It's what we create. For attorneys haunted by the dreams of their fathers, professors and mentors about what their career paths ought to be, Larry's struggle might provide hope that there is a way out of the past.

A worldwide revolution in how we make our living means that even the best and brightest are forced to search, and in new ways. Indie book award-winner "The Mango Tree Cafe" can be ordered from here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Intuitive Readings Review on "The Mango Tree Cafe"

The Struggle to Disappear - Not so easy, or so desired, after a while
Increasingly our fantasies are about just disappearing - and our deep longing to do so.

There is plenty of precedent for doing just that. Stephen King's father went out for a pack of cigarettes. When King became iconic in the terror category of literature, an investigative reporter had tracked the wanderer to a new family in Pennsylvania. He was dead but a second family, though they didn't know the man they thought they knew hadn't gotten a divorce from his first wife, was very much alive.

More recently, as Evan Ratliff recounts in the current edition of WIRED, Matthew Alan Sheppard felt overwhelmed as well as bored by his life as married man and environmental and safety manager. He faked his death. Perhaps like so many runaways, he seemed to also want to be found. He was, by the authorities.
Indie Book Winner "The Mango Tree Cafe" digs right into these archetypes of getting lost. It's different, though, because the runaway Larry wants to find himself and help others do the same. The tale, by Taryn Simpson and Alan Solomon, is unusual in that the journey is not really one of flight.

Told by his farmer father in New Zealand to not set roots down in the world of butterfat consistency and price, Larry leaves what he knows. However, he already has a sense what he is going to find or must find. A ghostly presence visits him when he was a child and assigned him a mission of sorts. Stephen King-like, this creates both a feel of the mystical and the terrifying.

After taking plenty of wrong roads, Larry winds up on Loi Kroh in Thailand. It has that exotic pull force of attracting the world's most needy, most lost, most promising, and most doomed. Larry and his girlfriend Noo minister to them through the flowing booze, excellent chow, and an ability to listenat "The Mango Tree Cafe." By doing good, the couple also does well. They make a bundle and even more when they sell the restaurant.

The theme of the novel might be the Old Testament one of Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen. Of those who wander into "The Mango Tree Cafe", summoned by some voodoo force, most will continue their suffering.
They can't or won't exit their loneliness, fear of everything ranging from death to intimacy, resentments, and regrets. Given that, it could serve as a morality tale about leaving what has been or what is to journey forward, not stay stuck. Perhaps the novel is saying: We don't merely tell our stories. It's within our power to create those stories and put in the necessary energy to keep editing them.

The novel can be ordered here from

Monday, August 24, 2009

"The Mango Tree Cafe" - Combo platter of Wally Lamb, Joseph Campbell - Book Review by Jane Genova

There's a warning in 12-step programs, whose members are notorious for running away: Where you go, you bring yourself. A card-carrying member of diverse versions of those programs and plenty cynical since I am a serial runaway I expected that to be the theme of "The Mango Tree Cafe." It wasn't. Actually, it was a combo platter of Wally Lamb and Joseph Campbell.

Winner of the Indie Book Award, the Novel by Taryn Simpson and Alan Solomon follows Larry as he flees from the mundane world of New Zealand butterfat. Actually, it's his father, a sensitive soul who got stuck on the farm draining cow udders, who tells him to hit the road. Hit it he did, all the way to Thailand. Along the journey he winds up on Loi Kroh Road, a universe onto itself of mysticism, hopes of salvation, and more often doom.

Larry is an Everyman, only with more than the usual share of fear of death, loneliness, inability to connect, and that sense of having a special mission. The latter is no delusion. A ghostly presence lands in his life in youth and keeps him on-track with that mission. The calling is to minister to other suffering souls. Yeah, right out of Wally Lamb's recent work.

Larry accomplishes his life's work through operating the highly successful "Mango Tree Cafe on Loi Kroh Road". Into it roam the world's most needy. Some exit whole. Others just fall through all safety nets, often by design.

Just like Joseph Campbell's hero, Larry is one of those fortunate ones who sets out on a journey to find what he wants and winds up with what he needs. Redemption comes in the form of being able to love. Larry establishes the platform for intimacy by being almost Christlike in giving.
Obviously, there are plenty of lessons in "The Mango Tree Cafe." But, as the adage goes, it's the journey - that is reading this tale - which makes it worth the price of admission.

You can order it from here.
Thank you Jane Genova - Speechwriter - Ghostwriter

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My favorite part of "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road"

I have to admit, I like the entire book! But, if I were hard pressed, I have some sections that I could read over and over without getting tired of it.

I remember that the opening of the book was rewritten at LEAST 10 times; all with different ideas in each one. At one point, I was stumped and decided to reread other sections of the book. Mainly, the end. It reminded me of the circle of life and how we all grapple with the uncertainties and changes we go through as individuals. I reread the ending and as I always do, tears slid down my cheeks as I could feel the heartbreak that "Larry," the main character experiences. It's more than a story about the love of your's about something so deep and personal that your soul aches and you aren't quite certain why.

Once I read the last word on page 286, I turned to the beginning of the story and prepared to weave the circle to be complete. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that I was sitting in a cane chair beside Larry watching the elephants in the early morning sun right outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. In my imagination, I stole long sided glances observing his body language and feeling the ache of his soul. I wrote the beginning and knew I had finally gotten it right.

I emailed it to Alan (as I always do) for his opinion. I waited as my cursor blinked impatiently on my computer screen. Finally, he responded with a one word reply; "Fine',"which is found at the end of the last stanza of every sheet of music. The meaning? FINISHED.


1 author, Simpson

Monday, August 17, 2009


About the Author(s)
Ms. Simpson is an Award winning novelist, Pulitzer Prize competitor, freelance ghostwriter, screenwriter, and blogger. Taryn's background also includes classical training as a musician. Among her honors include: Selected for University of Texas at Arlington's college level percussion camp when she was 12 years old and auditioned at the famed Juilliard School in New York City at the age of 17.

Today, Ms. Simpson has just completed her latest literary effort with her co-writer, Alan Solomon who is originally from New Zealand but currently resides in Beijing, China. “The Mango Tree Café, Loi Kroh Road,” is a novel which is garnering rave reviews from readers all over the world. The book was shown at the Beijing, China International Book Fair, competed for a Pulitzer Prize in the Best Fiction category and was recently designated an Award winning novel at the 2008 Indie Book Awards.

About the Book – “The Mango Tree Café, Loi Kroh Road

Printed: 286 pages, 6" x 9", perfect binding, cream interior paper
(60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper
(100# weight), full-color exterior ink PDF (966 kb)
ISBN: 978-1-4303-2522-2
Rights Owner: Simpson - E Publishing
Copyright: © 2007 Alan Solomon & Taryn Simpson
Standard Copyright License
Language: English
Country: United States
Edition: First Edition

Synopsis of the Book
Imagine owning a restaurant near the jungles of Thailand that sits upon the most legendary mystical road in the world. Legend states that whoever walks upon Loi Kroh Road will be forever changed or shall never be seen or heard from again. In fact, the English translation of "Loi Kroh Road" is "Wash Your Bad Luck Away". Larry, the main character, and is seductively lured to this world famous street to purchase this business. The restaurant serves as a place where he observes world travelers such as himself as well as locals who discover their fate upon this historic road. He is on a journey to discover his mission in life as he is guided by a ghostly figure that appeared to him as a child. On his adventures, he comes face to face with his greatest fear, his lingering questions of mortality and his soul's lonely reflection.

The Book Crawler
– California
Linda Della Donna – Griefcase – New York
Virtual Book Review
International School of Beijing Newspaper – Beijing, China

Other Press/Advertising
The Tennessean
– “Ghostwriter connects across continents”
Nashville author, Taryn Simpson has never spoken with Alan Solomon, but she co-wrote his novel by email and instant messaging to and from Beijing. (Billy Kingsley/The Tennessean)
Ideas, Goals and Dreams Magazine – National Magazine
Book of the Month – Australian Women’s Club
Chiang Mai City Life Newspaper – Chiang Mai, Thailand
You Tube Book Videos

Book Showings/Contests
International Book Fair
– Beijing, China
Indie Book Awards 2008 - National
Pulitzer Prizes 2007 – New York City, New York
USA Book News 2007 – National
Indie Book Awards 2008 – National (WINNER)

“…I read the novel Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road and I am a harsh critic when it comes to what I enjoy, well I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and hope that you write another soon…”

“This video is exceptional and clearly depicts what you can expect from this read. (MTC Pt II)

“…I just received the novel and decided I would glance at it before returning to work… my glance at the novel ended some 4 hours later when I finally got to the back cover I am going to re-read it, something I have never done with any novel before in my life... The characters leapt out at me…. Thanks to you and Taryn Simpson for such a good read…”

“I have read the book four times now; I have never read the same novel so many times as I have this one. It is great and new things are revealed on every read. I hope I see more from you two again. Wonderful story, full of real life, I think.”

“…Now answer me this, why is it that every time I tune into YouTube, I am drawn to watching and listening to this promo?it has power!!

“…This video is exceptional and clearly depicts what you can expect from this read…”

“The book is incredible.”

“…Heck get this book into the shops! I have this listed on my favorites!”

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Genesis of "The Mango Tree, Loi Kroh Road"

When I first read the draft manuscript of this book, I was blown away. Before I started reading it, I wondered why is this guy writing about Thailand? I just didn't see it being a subject friendly book topic. But, I came to learn that it was much much more than just a book about Thailand. It's a story about life.

It begins with a young man in New Zealand who is urged by his father to escape the mundane essence of life as a farmer. He was given the final push and encouraged to see and experience the world. Something every person should do. But, we are either too frightened, or feel that we "should" do the proper things upon graduation of high, job, marriage, children and so on. Instead, we wind up seeing life as Larry's (the main character) father.

Whether you are milking a cow on a farm, changing diapers on a baby or drafting reports for a boss...the mundane suddenly becomes missed opportunities. An all too familiar theme for those wishing to play it safe.

Life is worth taking a chance that makes your heart pound. You may experience unbelievable pain and grief from taking a chance, but you also risk that you may experience the most profound joy and happiness imaginable.

What would YOU do?

Buy the book. C'mon...take a chance.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Friend from Across the Pond

A note from one of Alan's friends:

I am a close friend of Alan Solomon and have worked with him on assignments around the world. If Alan has written a novel then I can tell you that it will be a winner for sure! His ability to read people, and his story telling had many of his friends in awe of him. He has seen so much, thinks very deeply, and when he tells a story it doesn't matter whether it is true or not, if he is telling it to you, then you WILL believe it!

The Mango Tree Cafe' in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Alan ran a good business at the Mango Tree Cafe' and many others became jealous of his success and they tried everything to emulate his style and success, but they could not achieve this as it takes that special personality, that ability to laugh at yourself, to laugh along with others, to call yourself a silly bugger for mistakes and not blame everyone else, and there is only one guy who can do all those things.

If you meet Alan you instantly like him, he becomes a friend for life, because you want him as a friend. This novel will be a winner, if any publisher looks at this novel, my advice is don't let it slip through your fingers, it will be a winner!

1 author, Solomon

Steve Quirke
London, England.
I agree.

1 author, Simpson

Mango Tree Cafe - Trailer 2

Mango Tree Cafe - Trailer 2

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Inside Scoop on The Mango Tree Cafe

Nashville, TN USA
Chiang Mai, Thailand

When people pick up our book, "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road," and read it, one of the first questions my co-author and I get is, "The novel was great! How did you guys meet?"

Weelllll, long story short, we've NEVER met. We've never met in person, We've never talked on the phone nor have we Skyped each other.

We HAVE however, emailed each other along with sporadic instant messaging courtesy of Gmail. You may be asking yourself, How the heck do you write a novel with someone you've never met over email? My short answer is "It takes a special book and a special person to come up with the story." I found those things in Alan Solomon.

How I became involved with The Mango Tree and Alan Solomon
A writer colleague of mine contacted me one day and asked those fateful words: "Do you have room in your workload to take on a fictional novel?" My answer was a fast yes since at the time, non-fiction and memoirs tended to be quite popular for clients. My first love is fiction and always will be.

Alan Solomon

When she began telling me about the project, I began to wonder if I should have said "No." The reason I felt this way is because, the book is centered in Thailand. Thailand? I had no interest or desire to write a fiction novel about Thailand! My colleague urged me to email the author for more information. I mentioned that I would call him to get a better handle of what is needed and ask about this Thailand setting! My colleague chuckled and said, "You sure you want to call? He's located in Beijing, China!" I mutter "Great" under my breath and took his email address down.

Little did I know how the next several hours would affect my life in every way. I emailed Mr. Alan Solomon and was trying to think of a polite way to ask why he chose Thailand to place the setting of the book. He simply asked me to read the first chapter to see what I thought and whether I wanted to take this project on. I downloaded the chapter and began reading.

I read the first sentence and felt my heart turning each page. I was instantly hooked and began to see the diamond in the rough. When I came to the last page, I knew what I had to do. I replied to his email and said WITHOUT A DOUBT, YES.

And, the rest as they say, is history. ;)

1 author, Simpson

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some Book reviews Received By Authors about "The Mango Tree Cafe"

I received your novel The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road, I thought I would glance at before getting into it as I am a regular to Chiangmai and know the Mae Rim region as well. I wish to tell you that my glance at the novel ended some 4 hours later when I finally got to the back cover I am going to re-read it, something I have never done with any novel before in my life. An easy read, a really very good yarn. The characters leapt out at me and somewhere inside me is Larry. Thanks to you and Taryn Simpson for such a good read.

Chris Collins

Hi Alan your book arrived today! Read the first 8 chapters before I decided I really needed to do some work. I thoroughly enjoyed what I've read so far it is an easy read and made me think so much about my own life.

Colin Leigh

Hi Alan, Taryn

I have just finished reading the mango tree cafe, well done it is a great book and I hope that you win the book of the year prize!

Ted Osborne


Are you guys aware or interested in the Kiwi guy living in China who has written a novel called The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road. I purchased it off Amazon and it is a really good read.The Promo number 2 on Youtube is good as well. Great to know Kiwis do fly!!
Hi Alan and Taryn

Thanks for writing your novel. it's so exciting!
This video is exceptional and clearly depicts what you can expect from this read.
(Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road PART TWO)

Hi Alan.

I showed the novel to my family in Kansas and they are all well-read people. Their first response was its a good story.

wOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!!! How cool...I gotta get your book...The Nashville article was grest I will buy the book must be rapt..and wouldnt it be fab if you got even a nomination for the pulirzer...keep me in the loop!
Keep smiling and be positive!

Iain Taylor

Just read the review in the Tennessean - looks good. I'll definitely have to pick up a copy once I get back to the UK.

Erik Gaustad

The Mango Tree Cafe may very well be a fabulous hit. The book so far is very fact it is a bit hard to put down. I am only part way through and the movers are supposed to deliver our sea shipment tomorrow so I will probably be forced to take a break from the book. I will get back at it soonest to finish. It is totally imaginative..........and it reads as though it is being spoken to me. It is a fabulous read, that's for sure.
Let me know how it is going!
Take care,

Purchase a copy of the "Mango Tree Cafe" Today and let us know what you think.

Virtual Interview Linda Della Dina

Welcome Readers! Have I got a treat for you. Recently, I caught up with authors, Alan Solomon and Taryn Simpson and asked for an email interview. Solomon and Simpson teamed up to write The Mango Tree Cafe' Loi Kroh Road. What is stunning about this union, is Solomon makes his home in Asia, and Simpson resides in the USA.

Here's what Taryn Simpson and Alan Solomon had to say:

How did you come across this project?

TS: A writer friend of mine got a lead from a gentleman that had written a rough draft of a book and needed someone to "punch it up". She forwarded the book to me because it was fiction and she knows that it's my speciality. I thought it was going to be 'just another writing job'. Enter Alan Solomon and The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road. I read the synopsis he wrote for the book and was immediately taken with it. Why did you write this book?

AS: I received the power to write this novel from the moment I entered Loi Kroh Road and felt the mysterious magic of the street.

What was it like working with another author from a different part of the world? Were there barriers? Name one?

TS: Absolutely! Being an American, it's hard for me to fathom that people in other countries don't have the same freedoms that we do. Even when it comes to something minor such as the internet. If you have lived in the USA your entire life, you tend to adopt the mindset of "If I have a certain freedom, surely everyone else has it too". Although watching the news I know differently. It's just different when you become aware of how rich our freedoms are in this country when you hear people from different parts of the country talk about certain limitations they have. For example, when I created the blog for the book, Alan wasn't able to see it online for quite some time due to China's strict internet laws. TS (continues): Another barrier was I had a certain time frame where I could catch Alan on line. Remember, if the time in Nashville, TN USA is 8pm, it is 8am in Beijing. So, when I'm winding down from the day, Alan is beginning his. From 7:30pm my time until however late I could make myself stay up is when we had brief conversations about the book. Once I logged off for the night, Alan would leave me emails for the next morning (which is his night!). It was crazy!

AS: No barriers working with Taryn, Taryn was so enthusiastic and so helpful, for me it was like we were seated in the same bar side-by-side discussing our next move.

How long did it take you to write The Mango Tree Cafe'? Were friends, family members supportive?

TS: Well, that's hard to say. Although the book was written, I re-wrote roughly half of it and added/deleted sections of the book. Generally a novel takes 2-3 months or maybe more. That's not including editing. Yes, my partner endured many conversations about the book. When I become enthralled with a book, look out. I talk about it non-stop!

AS: The novel from start to finish took around 4 years, however the 'pull' to write was in my head for as long as I can remember, probably in High School. My family and friends never knew I was writing the Mango Tree Cafe, however if they had known they would have been supportive with a roar of laughter.

Without giving too much away, what is your favorite part of The Mango Tree Cafe? Do you have one?

TS: Oh, this is going to be difficult. Overall, I loved the fact that I got "lost" in this book as a reader. I've never been to Thailand and never had a yen to go. But, the events of the novel were so real to me that I felt like I have been there. It was a very strange feeling. And, meeting people in Nashville that had actually been there was just surreal. TS (continues): I love many sections of the book. The ones that stand out in my mind is the metamorphisis the main character goes through. It covers from the time he is a child to current age of around 50ish. He is able to gain a realization about himself and his father which is very melancholy at best. It's a sweet, sad, and all too painfully familiar feeling of knowing what it feels like to be so ultimately different from others and realizing that regardless of the lifestyle you lead, you can't run from what is inside yourself. I don't want to give too much away, but it is a very poignant story. I promise you will be in tears at the end. Not to mention that the setting includes visions of a lush jungle full of exotic fish, elephants and street dogs. I tried to put that feel in the You Tube video I did for it.

AS: In the novel there are many personal favorite parts I enjoy, however I guess if I had to identify just one part I would have to say it was when Larry realized he lost his only love Noo and to the end of the novel believed he was hearing her and seeing her and that someday she would return to him.

Did you accomplish everything you set out to do when writing this story?

TS: I think so. This question would probably be better served if answered by Alan Solomon. But, after he read the final draft I sent him. I could tell he was quite pleased.

AS: Yes I believe so.

What do you want readers to come away with after reading your story?

TS: I have to remind people that the story was created by Alan. But I want people to come away with whatever makes them think about the book. It has a lot of messages and there is one for everybody. I loved how the book describes the misfits of Loi Kroh Road as beautiful and exotic. Yet, the lives they lead were very gritty and difficult.

AS: Questioning life and how things happen to us as we travel through life which we can miss unless we are alert and seize the moment.

Are you working on anything at this time? Can you share what it is?

TS: I'm having to FORCE myself to move on from this book! LOL. I'm marketing the heck out of it as we speak. But, I have a couple of ideas for books that I am working on. The Mango Tree book has created a real desire in me to start writing "literary fiction" much in the same vein as "The Color Purple", or "A River Runs Through it". This book is pivotal in my career. My next book is tentatively entitled "Invisible Fences". Although it can change.

AS: I am thinking all the time, I watch and listen and keep a notebook. Something may happen. I am not too sure.

Any advice to a writer in the process of writing her own book?

TS: Some writers will say write at any cost. I say write when you have alone time and if you don't have it, make time to write. Even if it is for 10 or 20 minutes a day. Don't be discouraged. Get it down. Worry about deleting or editing later. Listen to music or do an activity such as people watching that will help you get in the mood for what you are writing because I think it bleeds through.

AS: Place a mirror on your writing desk and as you write occasionally look up and you will see what your next line is to be, because looking right back at you will be the lines, the eyes sending you the message and experience of life.

Purchase a copy of "The Mango Tree Cafe" Here