1: What is the title of your book? KOJIKI. I had a very different, very generic title, but my editor advised me to change it. I did some research, and discovered the Kojiki, Japan’s creation myth. My story has its roots in Japanese myth, so KOJIKI made for a natural title.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
Family history. My father never spoke much about his family. His sister-in-law told us that my father’s family traced its roots back to the Imperial court and that my grandmother had an ancestor who fought the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1281, during the famous Kami Kaze, the typhoon that wiped out the Mongol army. At a friend’s wedding, the bride’s father, a Japanese national, when introduced, said I had a ‘noble’ name. My wife had none of it. I still have to take out the garbage. Still the stories were so wild, they fired my imagination. Hence, Keiko’s backstory and her father’s involvement with the Spirits that formed Japan–and the world.
3. What genre does your book come under?
Fantasy. Or speculative fiction, though to be honest, Kojiki is really an anime or manga in book form.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ooh. This is a tough one. Two leads are young Japanese women. I’m not familiar enough with Japanese actresses to pin point any, though I did see Meisa Kuroki in Space Battleship Yamato. She’d make a very good Yui Akiko. Not all the characters are Japanese, and I could easily see Richard Armitage as one of the male leads. Delta Goodrem looks the part of one of the female leads, though I haven’t seen her acting work. Rounding out the cast? Lawrence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Ken Watanabe, David Tennant. As long as we’re just playing, why not aim high, right?
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
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—your camera will show you the way.”
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Independent Publisher, Musa Publishing
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
To be honest, I haven’t really come across another book like KOJIKI. Most fantasies follow the medieval model, even the Japanese ones. KOJIKI takes place in the present. It has more in common with manga and anime than any book I’ve seen in the U.S. It’s unique, which made finding a publisher somewhat of a challenge. No one knew what to do with it. Until Musa came along. They’ve been fantastic!
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I was a teen, I dabbled at writing but never made it very far, mainly because I didn’t have the skill or patience. In college, no matter the class, my professors routinely commented on how much style my papers had, which made me wonder if I had a talent I didn’t know existed. Then, back in 2003, after the death of my aunt, my father’s last surviving sibling, Kojiki’s story started to grow. I wrote what I thought would be a prologue. That prologue turned into chapter one, then two and so on.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Thematically, KOJIKI is about personal responsibility. Sure, I filled it with BIG action scenes, but when you look beyond those, you’ll find the story’s heart. Selfishness drives the characters’ critical decisions, almost always with tragic results. The story is about facing those mistakes, owning them, and setting them right.
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