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When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.
Welcome to the Indie Summer Tour Today’s Stops feature Keith Yatsuhashi and his book Kojiki! Make sure you stop by and visit these blogs for a chance to win some great prizes!
9/13: Keith Yatsuhashi
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Kojiki is rich in Japanese mythology. What is your favorite Japanese myth or legend?
My favorite isn’t a true myth. It has to do with the story of the Kamikaze, or Divine Wind. Back in the 1200’s Ghengis Khan tried to invade Japan with a huge force. The Japanese were badly outnumbered. Before Khan’s forces landed, a typhoon unexpectedly swept in to destroy Khan’s forces. The Japanese called it Kamikaze because they believed the spirits protected them.
I’m not familiar with any Japanese mythology. How would you compare the myths to some of the Western myths, such Greek, Roman, or Norse mythology?
I’m no expert by any means, but in Asian myths nature seems to play a huge roll–more so than in the western myths most of us know.
Who is your favorite author?
Easily Robert Jordan. I’m in awe of The Wheel of Time. I also like Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, John Sandford, and Preston & Child. As much as the fantasy lover in me hates to admit it, I think I liked Shogun better than any other book I’ve read.
What are the most difficult scenes to write?
Maybe it’s backwards, but opening scenes are the hardest for me to write. An author needs to do so much in the first three lines just to set the tone for the whole book. I can’t tell you how many variations I had on Kojiki’s first few pages. I kept changing them right up until the final edits. Ditto for each chapter opening. Thankfully, I don’t have trouble with ending scenes. The book’s final one is pretty much exactly as it was in the first draft.
Best writer fuel: Coffee or Tea?
Neither. I’m a soda drinker. I prefer an ice cold Coke to coffee or tea. If I have to do a hot drink, it’s hot chocolate.
Do you prefer series or standalone novels?
I DO like to read series, particularly fantasy series. The downside…I hate waiting for the next book. That year-long wait is tough. I understand it, believe me! I’m working my way through Kojiki’s follow up. It takes time. Lots of time. I’m also partial to series that are also stand alone. John Sandford’s books, for example. Same characters but complete stories. It’s more episodic. What’s nice is that author isn’t under pressure to deliver a slam-bang ending to a long simmering series. I think, oftentimes, the conclusion doesn’t live up to the hype. That has nothing to do with the work itself, but the expectation.
In your opinion, what is the best book to movie/TV show adaptation and why?
I’d say either Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings. I know you can find so many movie adaptations, but these two are the first that come to mind. Potter, because the movies were so faithful to the books. Did it take liberties? Yes, but I enjoyed each movie as much, though in a different way, than the books. I give a huge amount of credit to Peter Jackson and company for what they did with Lord of the Rings. I know not everyone feels it was a good adaptation, but I loved it, beginning to end. The Hobbit and then LOTR were the books that made me love reading. They have a very special place in my heart. To see them lovingly brought to life on screen was a dream come true. Again, yes with the liberties, but as a die-hard Rings fan, it says a lot about the movies that I either pardoned the changes, ignored, or accepted them.
If you asked if I could think of an adaptation I preferred, I’d say Jaws. Definitely Jaws.
When you’re not writing, what is your favorite hobby?
Golf. I love golf. It’s such a fun and frustrating game. Besides, you’re outside on beautiful courses.
Where do you find most of your inspiration?
Writing is one big mystery. You NEVER know when and where inspiration will strike. Some days, it’s zippo; others, you can’t type fast enough. It’s the strangest thing. I WILL say, I work with an incredible independent editor, Lorin Oberweger, of Free-Expressions.com. She gave me the best advice. She said, you just need to get away from writing and just THINK. Great advice. One of my favorite scenes in Kojiki came during a round of golf. Walking a course at 6 AM gives you a lot of time to think 🙂
Thank you for your time!