Friday, February 05, 2010

LONG-overdue GCC post for Wendy Tokunaga

I am still back-logged on my GCC posts (forgive me!!), so here is another post long-overdue, for the fabulous Wendy Tokunaga. I had the privilege of meeting Wendy a few years back at the San Francisco RWA conference, and she is just as lovely as she is talented. Without further ado, let me present Wendy's sophomore novel, Love in Translation:

For anyone who’s ever dreamt of finding love and family in an unexpected place...

After receiving a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms, 33-year-old fledgling singer Celeste Duncan is off to Japan to search for a long, lost relative who could hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew. Once there she stumbles head first into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems—a land with an inexplicable fascination with foreigners, karaoke boxes, and unbearably perky TV stars.

With little knowledge of Japanese, Celeste finds a friend in her English-speaking homestay brother, Takuya, and comes to depend on him for all variety of translation, travel and investigatory needs. As they cross the country following a trail after Celeste's relatives, she discovers she's developing "more-than-sisterly" feelings for him, although his mother seems to have other plans for her son. But it is when Celeste learns a Japanese song called “The Wishing Star” that things begin to change for her in ways she never expected, leading her to ask, what is the true meaning of family? And what does it mean to discover your own voice?

Praise for Love in Translation:

“A delightful novel about love, identity, and what it means to be adrift in a strange land. This story of a search has an Alice in Wonderland vibe; when Celeste climbs down the rabbit hole, one can't help but follow along.”
—Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Fog

“An amusing story of one woman's quest for her father and the improbable path of love.”
—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters

“Tokunaga... describe[s] Japanese culture in absorbing detail.”
—Publishers Weekly

The interview:

1) Now that you are published, what (if anything) have you changed about your writing routine?
Now I have to find the time to sit down and actually write! It’s very easy to get caught up in marketing and promotion with Twitter, Facebook, etc. and I can easily spend hours on it. Often the only writing I’m doing is email, press releases, and Q&As. I have to discipline myself to set aside the time to work on my third novel. And be sure to turn off email!

2) Do you listen to music while you write?
Sometimes. Especially if I’m writing about Japan, I’ll listen to some Japanese popular music. But most of the time I like to have silence when I’m writing.

3) Have you found that as you've developed your writing and story telling skills, you watch movies or read books “differently?”
Definitely! With books it’s often difficult to just read for pleasure as I’m too busy paying attention to what the writer is doing technically with plot, character development and motivation, prose selection and everything else. I find it hard to get lost in a book and it has nothing to do with the writer—it’s my hang-up. The same goes for movies. I’m always on the lookout for plot holes and character inconsistencies and I sometimes drive my movie-going companions crazy with my too in-depth analyses. A lot of time the reaction is, “Gosh! It’s only a movie!”

4) What vacation would be most inspiring to you as a writer?
I’d love to go to a writers conference in some interesting place and then have the time to vacation in the locale.


Thanks, Wendy! I'll be back next week with my chilifest recap.


  1. I am always interested about writing while listeing to music. Some people say it inspires them others find it a distraction.

    I also prefer silence, unless I'm trying to conjure up a mood or a feeling for a place (like Japan in her case, or Mexico in mine...)

  2. Sounds like a really good book!