This is the book of my heart. Within its pages, I retell the ultimate romance — taken from the Japanese folktales with which I had grown up, but set in the United States of contemporary times.
It took time to find a publisher who didn’t tell me that mainstream readers wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of its theme of biracialism and bigotry. Some editors to whom I submitted it literally told me that Asians didn’t read! (You can imagine my surprise, as I looked at my mountain of books, then shared this story with Asian friends and relatives, all tripping over their own book Fujis.) This self-fulfilling prophecy may be why the publisher who brought the book to market in 2007 did not bring me the right readers.
So I have recaptured the rights to publish this work, and I think the timing is perfect. Times have changed a bit. It’s okay to be different. And being biracial no longer confuses people. Just look at our popular culture — who isn’t familiar with Keanu Reeves, Nicki Minaj, Chrissy Teigen, Dwayne Johnson, Olivia Munn, and Meghan Markle? (Markle even proves that fairy tales might come true!)
Festival of Stars is a fairy tale set today — one that Asians will recognize, but one so universal that the longing its characters feel is tangible. My characters Kristin and Dare must struggle with their heritage and what family, friends, and others think about them. Their mixed ancestries serve to both bring them together and pull them apart.
In this year of diversity, now is the time for such a story. I hope you’ll join half-Japanese Kristin Olafsson and half-Swedish Dare Borodin on their journey to find love and their heritage with the help of the star ravens.
The book is available now, both digitally and as a print book. I especially like the cover. It’s adapted from the 1857 woodblock print by the great Hiroshige, “The Tanabata Festival in the Flourishing City,” from the series One Hundred Views of Famous Places in Edo. If you, love this traditional art form as much as I do, I hope you will love the cover as much as I do. (I’m also just a skosh fond of the cover designer — my spouse, Mike.)
This is the book of my heart. I hope it will be one of the books of yours.
July 9, 2018
(As usual, a favor: If you read the book and like it, please tell your friends! Reviews on Amazon (I hope, favorable) also help enormously. Domo arigato gozaimasu.