In 50 words or less, entice us to read MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT (MbM).
MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT tells the story of fresh-from-Japan Midori Saito who finds herself lost in translation in San Francisco as she searches for her American Dream and the perfect dessert.
What is the initial kernel to which MbM was born?
My husband, who was born and raised in Osaka, always felt like he never fit in Japanese society and has now ended up living in the U.S. longer than he lived in Japan. I wanted to explore the theme of why some people feel the need to trade their native culture for a new one.
The main character of MbM, Midori, dreams of being a master pastry chef. What culinary talents do you possess?
I can put together a straightforward dinner for my husband and me, but as far as desserts, I have little experience in making them, other than fooling around with Betty Crocker cake mixes when I was a kid. My talent lies in eating delicious pastries and that’s where the inspiration comes from.
From the time you finished MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT, how long did it take you to get an agent and subsequently, the book deal?
Approximately 2-1/2 years. But I’d like to point out that although MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT is my debut novel, it is actually the fifth novel I have written. The process of writing and getting rejected on those previous novels until MIDORI got published took around 12 years.
What’s your favorite thing about MbM?
That Midori Saito goes through self-actualization and discovery in her entertaining journey.
I learned on your website that you are a Japanese karaoke singer. If there were a soundtrack to your life, what would be three must-have tracks on the CD?
That’s a little difficult, because when I say Japanese karaoke singer, that means I sing songs in Japanese and I’m sure many people are unfamiliar with any of those! But I’d say that the some of the artists that would be included on a CD soundtrack of my life would be the Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, Blondie, The Runaways, Akina Nakamori, Sayuri Ishikawa, Guns and Roses, AC/DC, and jazz pianist Bill Evans. How’s that for eclectic?
How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
Right now I’m in school getting an MFA in Creative Writing so you can find me doing homework. I also like to travel, watch classic movies, and get massages.
Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
LOVE: Manabu (my husband)
KARAOKE: stress buster
WENDY NELSON TOKUNAGA: optimistic
What advice would you offer aspiring-to-be-published authors?
Continue to learn about and work on your craft, read, and don’t give up!
What is one big thing you’ve learned about the industry since receiving your book deal?
There are still many interesting challenges every day.
What projects are you currently working on?
The second book for St. Martin’s.