The Author

Kent Sorensen spent eighteen years doing business in Far East Asia and Russia, learning that success is best achieved when the culture of local people is understood and respected. He writes in the genre of cultural fiction where differences between people can either lead to powerful alliances or diabolical conflicts, depending on the effort each side is willing to devote to understanding each other. Popular books in this genre include Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See), among many others.

 

Sorensen did not fully apprecite the meaning of John Donne’s poem, No Man is an Island, until he began to write. He is grateful for the generous help support from many friends, business colleagues, and family members given to him.

The original idea for his first novel, The Dark Horse of Shanghai, came when he managed a golf course and expat housing community in Shanghai. He regarded the managers reporting to him as the finest. Those who distinguished themselves far beyond his greatest expectations were Sherry Wu, Martin Ajobe, Chris Brooke, Denise Zhang, Paul Haviland, Sabrina Yu, Annie Sat, Paul Wong, Zhou Yuan, and Mr. Zhuang (my loyal driver).

As Sorsensen began to first envision the storyline for the first novel, help came from an unlikely source, a Hollywood screenwriter, Skip Press. After reading his The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting, he made contact with Skip and revealed his intentions to write a novel about China. Without hesitation, Skip offered sage advice of immeasurable value and a friendship to Sorensen that continues today.

Along the way, he periodically received thoughtful e-mails from Lisa See, the bestselling author of many outstanding novels about the soul of Chinese people and their deeply rooted culture. Her repeated advice to Sorensen was simple, yet cogent: keep writing.

Lastly, he thanks his writing critique group and considers them his second family. They are: Marlene Cullen, Arletta Dawdy, Robin Moore, Ron Davis, Shane McGarrett, and Sharon Hamilton. With patience, love, and diverse literary skills, they helped Sorensen learn the craft of writing.

 

The Dark Horse of Shanghai is the first of a series of novels by Sorensen that reveal the exploits of Kip Duchene in China and his frustrating attempts to understand the Chinese way of doing business. It is a story of cultural clashes between the United States and China that takes Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun into the 21st Century and plunges the reader through a maze of deeply-entrenched Chinese business traditions and back alley tactics most American cannot understand.

On May 7, 1999, the U.S. deliberately bombs the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo War. Six years later, Kip Duchene, a business icon in California known for turning troubled companies around, is prodded by his best friend, Sal Estrada, to join him in China to save Shanghai Shores, a failing housing development, and to discover the mystery of its eminent demise. From his first day on the job, he is handicapped from using his well-honed business skills and for good reasons: he doesn’t speak Mandarin, has no idea how Chinese think, and is unprepared to cope with widespread corruption. Rico Niu, a giant in the Chinese underworld, emerges as a deadly adversary willing to do anything to take over Shanghai Shores in his quest to revenge what happened in Belgrade. As Duchene begins to falter, help comes from the beautiful Angie Li, a savvy local who knows how to get things done in Shanghai. Working side-by-side, the unlikely pair plows headlong into one crisis after another while Duchene struggles with his growing attraction to her. When Rico Niu becomes frustrated with his take-over attempts, he gives the order to insure that Duchene makes the ultimate sacrifice – his life.

Hearing about the setbacks at Shanghai Shores in the news, local people start calling the once heralded housing development the hei ma Shanghai  . . . The Dark Horse of Shanghai.

 

Sorensen is presently working on The Jutaku Affair, a story that emanates out of the great Kobe earthquake in 1995, and uncovers the hidden world of the Keiretsu and feared Yakuza underworld in Japan.

He’s also completed the story outline for the next Duchene novel, The Dragon’s Head of Shanghai.

 

Sorensen’s recent short story submission, An Unlikely Connection, was accepted for publication in the 2012 Anthology for the Redwood Writers Club in Northern California. The memoir tells a story of Sorensen’s interaction with a mentally disabled woman with the assumption that he was making a connection with her. In the end, however, it is she who touched him.

His second memoir, An Undisclosed Odyssey, placed third in a short story contest sponsored by the Redwood Writers Club in April 2012. While photographing in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, he encounters an elderly French woman hunched over an ancient water pump. What happens in the next twenty minutes is retold in this poignant story.

 

Novels

Short Stories