Sunday afternoon. Snow was falling. I was skiing in Chugach State Park with two of my good friends, Corinne and Jo-Ann. Corinne mentioned something she'd posted recently on her blog, then she asked the question: is your blog done or just on hiatus? To which I answered that I would return to the blog when I felt I could keep it current. Enough posts, at least once a week, was what I had in mind. But right now I'm busy. Recently returned to a few days a week at the shop; taking two classes; volunteering in the museum archives, helping organize a fundraiser, helping organize the ride and clinic schedule for my biking group. Getting in a ski or a bike ride. Crap! I am busy!
Then I was tagged in a post by Katey, one of my friends who is also a writer, and a disciplined one at that. Katey did a post on "The Next Big Thing," a blog hop where writers from around the world share what they're working on by responding to ten questions. Am I supposed to tag someone? If so, I'm going to tag Uncle Gus, who is also working on a novel. Alright, ready or not, here is my entry to "The Next Best Thing." Before I begin, did I mention I'm also working on revising my novel? I am.
What is your working title of your book?
High Water Line
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was riding my bike on a trail near my house. It was a year after my dad died. My parents married late, for their generation, when he was about 32 & my mom was around 29. He served in WWII and went all sorts of places before and after he met Mom. I had a thought: what if before he met her, he had another family, people we didn't know about. What if they were in Japan. The earthquake & tsunami had happened 5 months previous. What if they were affected by it. I just kept asking myself "what if" and the story wouldn't go away.
For the record, this was supposed to be one of several short stories that revolved around the theme of this natural disaster from several perspectives, including some stories based here in Alaska. But this story kept expanding and I didn't want to turn my back on it as it took on its own energy.
What genre does your book fall under?
Realistic, contemporary fiction. (I stole that answer from Katey.)
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Really? Think Redford wouldn't mind playing a guy in his late 80s? I'm not sure what actress in her 40s should play his American daughter; and I don't know what 60-something Japanese actress should play the other one. (And I don't want to see their images while I'm still revising.)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After the 2011 Japan tsunami, a Midwestern woman learns that her elderly father had another life before meeting her mother, a life that includes another daughter whose mother is missing after the tsunami floods a town where the father served in post-WWII Japan.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'd like to be represented but am not at this time.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About 10 months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don't know what else is out there that is like this; haven't researched it.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Initially, my dad; then my friend, Mika, in Japan; the events surrounding the tsunami, the objects washing up on beaches. A few friends, other writers have encouraged me as I press on.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The themes included in this book are: the idea of a passing generation and the loss of memory, collective & individual; concerns about contamination in our global environment, climate change, political upheaval and its impacts on individuals; the idea of what makes up a family. I felt there was lots of
material to dive into because of its place in time: Spring 2011.