James: I had the idea for some time of an epistolary novel using e-mails. I could never have come to live in Asia without e-mail. Before e-mail, over the course of 30 years, my father probably wrote me two letters both with a short note scrawled saying something like "Dear Son, Here's the check." But now he is e-mail-obsessed. People really let their guard down in e-mail, more than in conversation.
But why set the story in Bali?
James: Bali has this long tradition of people who...