Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Writers in their own words-GCC

If, like me, you're a bit too sick of winter and even early spring seems too long in coming, Midori by Moonlight by Wendy Tokunaga might be just the escape you're looking for . . .

"MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT is a comic, cross-cultural novel, out now, that has a mouth-watering pastry theme running through it that makes many a reader either head to the kitchen to start baking or just make a beeline to the nearest cake shop.

What happens when a young woman, fresh from Japan and too independent for Japanese society, finds herself suddenly lost in translation in San Francisco as she searches for her American Dream and the perfect dessert?

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga answers this question and more in her poignant comic novel, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT, where we meet thirty-year-old Midori Saito, whose dream seems about to come true. A strong independent streak has always made her feel like a stranger in a strange land in her native Japan, but now she’s embarking on a new life in San Francisco. She’s about to marry Kevin, the perfect American man—six feet tall, with curly hair the color of marmalade. Unlike a Japanese guy who’d demand she be a housewife, Kevin doesn’t mind if Midori follows her dream of becoming a master pastry chef. Her life is turning out as exquisitely as a Caramelized Apple Tart with Crème Fraiche, until Kevin dumps her at their engagement party in favor of his blond, ex-fiancée, whom Midori never even knew existed.

Now Midori is not only on her own—with just a smattering of fractured English in her repertoire—she’s entered the U.S. on a fiancée visa that will expire in sixty days. Unable to face the humiliation of telling her parents she’s been dumped, and not wanting to give up on her American dream, Midori realizes she’s “up the creek without a saddle.” Her only hope is new acquaintance Shinji, 30, who long ago escaped Japan after a family tragedy, is a successful San Francisco graphic artist and amateur moon gazer, and who lets her share his apartment as a platonic roommate.

Soon Midori finds herself working at an under-the-table hostess job at an unsavory Japanese karaoke bar, making (and eating) way too many desserts, meeting a charming and handsome chef with his own restaurant who may be too good to be true, and trying to uncover the secret behind a mysterious bar hostess who looks strangely familiar. But Midori’s willing to endure almost anything to hang on to her American dream, and she just might find that the love she’s been searching for far and wide is a whole lot closer than she thinks."

Here's Wendy in her own words . . .

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book?
I wanted to explore the theme of what happens when someone trades their native culture for a new one, which is what my Japan-born husband did when he ended up settling in the United States.
Are you more driven by plot or by character?
I usually come up with the idea of a story by first starting with a character, but once I do I like to have a tight plot.

2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
I have to say that I love my protagonist, Midori Saito. She has an inherent sweetness and naivete that I find charming.

3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I write in a home office in between grocery shopping, doing homework, slavishly checking email, surfing the Web, cleaning out the litter box, and preparing dinner for my husband and me.

4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
Revising, rewriting, tweaking. I find it painful to write new material from scratch.

5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
Borrow widely, steal wisely.

Check out her blog, too!

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