Shalom Life | February 23, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Daniel Kalla Discusses His Latest Novel ‘Rising Sun, Falling Shadows’

The Globe and Mail best-selling author joins us to discuss his eighth and most recent novel

By: Ashley Ramnarain

Published: November 21st, 2013 in Culture » Books » Interviews

Born and raised in Vancouver, Daniel Kalla is a loving father and husband to his wife and two teenage daughters. Rising Sun, Falling Shadow is his eighth and most recently published novel. Two of his eight novels, Pandemic and Resistance have been optioned for feature films. Additionally, Kalla is a practicing Emergency Room Physician whose experience has been the basis for several novels.

His first medical thriller, Pandemic, was the result of Kalla’s clinical experience with the SARS crisis of 2003. He has since written several science thriller and medical mysteries involving DNA evidence, drug addiction, widespread viruses and more. Rising Sun, Falling Shadow continues the story of The Far Side of the Sky- a medical drama centered around World War II.

Graduating from the University of British Columbia with his B.SC and also MD, Kalla continues to attend the university - although as an assistant clinical professor instead of a student. He is also the Physician Operations Leader for St. Paul’s Emergency Department.

In addition to being a professor, doctor and a Globe and Mail best-selling author, Kalla is also a keynote speaker and has been featured on ABC, NBC, FoxNews, CNN, City TV, The National post and much more.

Earlier this month, Dr. Kalla spoke with Shalom Life about his latest novel, his medical background, and his experience raising teenage daughters.


ASHLEY RAMNARAIN (AR): Congratulations on the success of your newest novel, “Rising Sun, Falling Shadow”. In your own words, can you describe what the book is about?

DANIEL KALLA (DK): “Rising Sun, Falling Shadow” continues the story of Dr. Franz and Sunny (Soon Yi) Adler through the bleakest year of World War II in Shanghai. It’s 1943 and Allied citizens are herded into prison camps while tens of thousands of German Jews are crammed into a ghetto already teeming with impoverished Chinese. Franz is a secular Jewish surgeon from Vienna, while Sunny, a Shanghai native, is a Eurasian nurse whose father trained her to be a physician. Despite the constant threats and hostilities surrounding them, Franz and Sunny manage to keep the doors to the refugee hospital open, saving several lives in the process. But conflict comes from within and without for the Adlers. Against Franz's wishes, Sunny risks her life to help the cause of the local Resistance, which puts strain on their own marriage. Meanwhile Franz’s teenaged daughter, Hannah, gets mixed up in a local smuggling ring inside the ghetto. Through it all, the Adlers along with the others trapped in the Shanghai Ghetto prove that the human spirit can rise above almost all adversity.

AR: “Rising Sun, Falling Shadow” focuses on the frighteningly widespread destruction of the second world war. Why did you chose this specific moment in time as the basis of your novel?

DK: I am fascinated by Second World War Shanghai, an amazing cosmopolitan city that was an absolute microcosm of a world at war. It truly boggles my mind to imagine one city where communists lived among fascists, Jews beside Nazis, gangsters and spies around police and intelligence agents, and on and on. It also was a city rife with culture, crime and multi-nationalism. I'm particularly drawn to the history of the secular German Jews, a community of more than 20,000, who arrived into this surreal human mosaic. These people, who suffered so much at home, had to endure even more hardships under surreal circumstances during war-time Shanghai. They did so with great dignity, creating a culturally rich community. I felt huge obligation to be historically accurate to these people, whom I consider heroic.

Find out more about Daniel Kalla and 'Rising Sun, Falling Shadow' on the next page!

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