My twin sister Rebecca has been spoiling me lately with beautiful drawings inspired by my two novel manuscripts, one of which you’ll notice has changed the look of my website — because I loved it so much I made it my new header!
The foxes with the steam train come from my Japanese Cinderella novel, which is set in 1900 Tokyo during the narrow window of time when Japan allowed private companies to build and maintain railways before taking back national control (a decision they would later reverse after the war years). Anyone who has been to Japan knows the trains are now iconic to the landscape; at the time, though, Tokyo was known as the “Venice of the East” because the waterways dominated the rhythms of the city. Gradually, trains came to displace rivers and canals as the primary means of transport, giving birth to a very different kind of city.
Rebecca also drew an image of sumo wrestlers during a training session. This one is inspired by a new manuscript I’m working on, a very loose Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling set in an isolated Buddhist temple in rural Japan of the 1870s. The main character is a sumo wrestler who, because of a prank-gone-wrong, becomes an acolyte at the temple at the worst possible moment: the peak of Buddhist persecution in Meiji Japan.
Didn’t she do a fantastic job with these? I love them so much! They’ve given me all sorts of inspiration through the long, slow process of editing and revisions.
I am delighted to share that I am now represented by Julie Tibbott and Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency!
In August 2016 I began drafting what I nicknamed my “Japanese Cinderella” novel (working title, Hai) in a writing workshop led by Danny Stewart at The Cabin, a center for readers & writers based in Boise. I continued working on it through another workshop with Heidi Kraay, also at The Cabin. Since then, I’ve had the help of many fantastic critique partners and beta readers, plus the support of friends in my local writing community as well as online, to write the strongest manuscript I could.
Overall, since I know other writers are often curious about this, it took around 70 rejections, 6 full requests, 3 partial requests, and 2 major revisions (i.e. with changes to more than 25% of the manuscript) to reach this point. Then, much to my happiness, Julie and Jill said yes!
What’s the novel about? I’ll be able to share more about it in coming months, but it is a Young Adult Historical Fantasy about a seventeen-year-old engineer nicknamed “Hai,” whose long days toiling on Tokyo’s first railway are disrupted in a big way when he crosses paths with Kano, an imperial prince whose obsession with inventing a submersible has his parents worried he’ll enter the sea one day and never return.
I look forward to sharing more book news in the future! In the meantime, I am about halfway through drafting another manuscript. That’s the fun thing about writing: there are always more stories to write.