The Writing Life Blog Hop

Fellow writer and expat Rachel Piehl Jones invited me to participate in this blog hop on the writing life. Be sure to check out her post and her excellent blog on living in Djbouti. Below, I will introduce more writers and books for you to discover.


Here are my replies:


1) What am I writing or working on now?

I am in various stages of three different projects including a young adult novel about a Japanese boy who returns to Japan after having lived abroad for three years, only to find that he no longer fits in; a follow-up to Gadget Girl in which Aiko visits post-disaster Japan and finally gets to know her father; and a mother-daughter travel memoir. I also occasionally write short pieces such as this newspaper article on writer Mariko Nagai, and a column for All Nippon Airway’s inflight magazine.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I often write from the experience of being an expat American in a conservative part of Japan where there are few foreigners. There are many expats writing about being a gaijin in Tokyo, for example, but not so many writing about what it’s like to raise a child with disabilities in the sticks.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Like many people, I write the kind of books that I want to read, and that I think my kids would like to read. The YA mentioned above was intially written for my son. The main character plays baseball here in Japan, as does my son. I read the whole book to him at bedtime. The books about Aiko are written for my daughter, although she doesn’t read English. Hopefully someone will translate them into Japanese one day! (Hint hint!)

Basically, I’m very interested in people of other cultures and experiences. I love doing the research (like traveling to Paris and drinking hot chocolate at Angelina’s with my daughter, or listening to grrl bands while I was writing my new novel Screaming Divas).

4) How does my writing process work?

When writing a first draft, I usually have an idea of the arc of the story and how it will end, but I don’t outline. I tend to write out of sequence and then piece everything together later. I don’t usually show my work-in-progress to anyone until I have a full draft, but last fall I enrolled in the MFA Program at the University of British Columbia, and I have been sharing chapters of my new novel with my classmates. It’s a delicate process.

After I’ve finished a draft, I usually senin to a few trusted beta readers and then revise. Rinse. Repeat. It seems to take me about four years to finish a book.


Check next week for posts from:

Helene Dunbar, author of the intensely beautiful new novel These Gentle Wounds

Fellow expat blogger and writer Melissa Uchiyama whose writing appeared recently in Literary Mama

and Christine Kohler, author of No Surrender Soldier, a fantastic novel set in Guam.





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