NORFOLK — It took more than a decade, but Norfolk author Keith Yatsuhashi finally finished what he started, writing and publishing his first book.
“I remember (Ronald) Regan had just died,” Yatsuhashi said as to when he started writing his recently published fantasy novel, “Kojiki.”
The lifetime Norfolk resident lives with his wife Kathleen and their three children, Kaitlin, 15, Jeffrey, 13 and Justin, 11.
Writing a book was something Yatsuhashi always wanted to do, but felt intimidated by the process.
“I put the idea on the shelf,” he said. “Then one day I had an idea and started to write, one sentence at a time.”
It took him two years to write the first draft.
“It was a very long process, because I didn’t have a background in writing,” Yatsuhashi said. “So I had a lot to learn.”
He sent his book off to various publishers, only to be rejected or not receive any feedback. To get some guidance, he hired independent editor Lorin Oberweger. Oberweger works out of Tampa, Florida, so the two conversed over emails and phone.
“I was lucky, she happened to like the book,” Yatsuhashi said. “She was very hands-on. Not only did she edit the book, she acted as a consultant on how to submit. She really taught me how the industry worked.”
Yatsuhashi said Oberweger helped him pare down the book, about an 18-year-old Japanese-American girl named Keiko who finds herself on a spiritual mission after crossing through a ceremonial gate in Japan. Originally Keiko was written as an older protagonist, based loosely on Yatsuhashi’s elderly and eccentric aunt Kikiyue.
But Kaitlin, Yatsuhashi’s daughter, suggested that, since the book is fantasy, Keiko is old in mind, but something happened to her that keeps her physically young.
Yatsuhashi followed his daughter’s advice. “It made for a much more interesting story,” he said.
The story is about a quest that Keiko must take after she is left a poem and a one-way ticket to Japan following her father’s death.
“She must find a gate and uses a camera as a sort of talisman to help her find the way,” Yatsuhashi said.
Without giving too much away, Keiko finds the gate and enters a doorway where she encounters god-like beings and learns that the myths and legends she was taught as a child are actually reality based.
“The world history she learned was all a lie,” Yatsuhashi said.
While the book bears some resemblance to Japanese folklore, Yatsuhashi said the book is entirely fiction.
“People who like animation will like this book,” he said. He added that teenagers seem to be drawn to the book as well, that many of the online reviews have labeled it in the “young adult” genre.
To purchase a copy of the book Yatsuhashi said it is available at http://www.amazon.com and other e-book platforms such as iTunes, the Sony Store and the Barnes and Noble digital store.
For anyone thinking about writing and publishing their own book, he offers this advice: “It’s a lot of work. You do more work than you think. When you’re writing you can’t just say ‘it’s good enough,’ be open to editing.”
Heather Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @heatherharrisWL.
*THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE COUNTRY GAZETTE, WRENTHAM, MA. SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE.