This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anne will be awarding a box filled with Japanese Chocolates (The main character in the book loves them.) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY).--the other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.
Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?
I think part of me never grew up. : ) I like to explore things with wide-eyed innocence just like when I was in high school. When I travel to new places I just take it all in. I like to dive into life. When I’m writing I try to capture that feeling through my characters reactions to the places they see on their adventures.
Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?
Chocolate, lots of chocolate. Her art supplies would be stacked on top of her schoolbooks. Stuck to the inside of the door Taylor would have a few photos of her favorite J pop stars. Smack in the middle of the photos would be one of her host mother with a hand drawn mustache and horns on her head.
What’s your favorite sweet treat?
I’m a chocoholic. Can’t go a day without my 60% dark chocolate fix. My other weakness is ice cream. Plus I love to bake. I usually make a batch of cookies a week. To make up for all my sweet treats I walk at least a mile almost every day.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand, I’ve drawn and painted. I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I love creating things. I also liked to design and I sew my own clothes when I was in high school. Things in the store just weren’t unique enough for me. That’s when I first wanted to be a fashion designer. It wasn’t until I got a bit older when I was in college that my creativity spread to writing.
What candy do you give out at Halloween?
Halloween is a big deal at my house. It’s my husband’s favorite holiday and we were married on Halloween. So we go all out decorating the house and have a huge plastic pumpkin full of candy. It’s loaded down with Reese’s peanut butter cups, Jr. Mints, Skittles, Almond Joy, candy corn, you name it. I love seeing the faces of the kids when I show up at the door dressed like a vampiress and fill their bags with candy.
What superpower would you love to have? Why?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while I’m working on my new genie story. What power would my character wish for? For some reason mind reading came to me first. How awesome would that be? Then I thought about what it would be like to read what everybody was thinking about me and thought maybe that wouldn’t be so awesome. I think immortally would be the one I’d wish for in the end. I love life and discovering things and how fantastic would it be to have it never end.
What book is on your nightstand currently?
Tales For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’m really enjoying it. I read a lot of YA but like to switch it up and read adult literary every once in awhile. The book has a really compelling premise. A woman finds a diary inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox that washed up on the beach from the Fukashima tsunami. It’s written by a Japanese girl who is going through a tough time in her life. The story is very compelling.
Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.
A dare sends a high school student to Japan where her host family thinks she's the devil and a wacky to-do list turns her world inside out.
What was your ideal summer vacation?
I love to travel. My ideal summer vacation would be to hop on a plane with an endless budget and travel the world. I’d make sure to schedule in some down time on the beaches of Tahiti. Nothing like staking out a slice of a beautiful white sand beach and staring out at the turquois waters of Bora Bora.
You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?
Without a doubt Kenzo. He would give me a grand tour of the island. He’d tell me jokes and funny stories so the time would fly by. Plus he’s very resourceful and a real survivor. I’m sure I’d make it off the island alive.
Now, enjoy an excerpt:
Sixteen-year-old artist, Erin Van Horn, doesn’t know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll. But on a dare from her best friend, Tori Mukigawa, she wins a spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in the land of the rising sun, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with a host family from hell. Otosan, the father, stops speaking to her after she “murders” his favorite bonsai tree. The mother, Okasan, believes Erin’s evil because she’s left- handed and their son is an Elvis impersonator who is convinced Erin’s the spitting image of Priscilla if only she’d dye her blonde hair black, and become his child bride.
But Erin has a bigger problem than her crazy host family when she faces the ultimate dare from Tori—a to-do list.Racked with guilt for winning the spot that should have gone to her best friend, Erin is determined to complete the list. All she has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, (sure, there’s one on every street corner), apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, (no problem, they’ll be listed in the Tokyo Yellow Pages) and visit Tori’s long lost relatives to find out what’s hidden in the family closet. So what if the only words she knows in Japanese are, “Excuse me eat pretty idiot.” How hard could it be?
A Japanese guy in his early twenties with a mop of long hair and a goatee blocked my way. Dressed in a black leather jacket and skinny jeans, all he needed was a guitar, and the rocker look would be complete. I stood speechless. He was the kind of guy that never talked to me back home.
He stretched out his hand and said. “Names Kenzo.”
I managed to squeak out, “Erin…. Um… American who’s totally lost.” Just as I was about to let go of his hand, water dripped down my arm onto his watch.
“Hey, I know it’s a sizzling summer but you’re soaked.”
“I had a little accident with a water bottle.”
His eyes moved up and down my body like a scanner. “I can see that.”
His stare confirmed I still looked like a wet T-shirt contestant.
“I was headed to Seda Academy and got lost. I couldn’t find anyone who could speak English to help me. Until… you.”
“You don’t speak any Japanese?”
“Only five words.” I gave him a smile and said in Japanese, “Excuse me, eat pretty idiot.”
a Rafflecopter giveawayAbout the Author
Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain.
After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in a national magazine and an award winning travel story about her time living in Tokyo, Japan.
She has also published short fiction. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including one that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t.
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYpphAwOrgI
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-Dare-Sushi-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00DUFR2D0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374026052&sr=8-2&keywords=tokyo+dare
Barnes and Noble Link:
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natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com