THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE LAST YEAR, and it comes out TODAY! (And I'm giving away a couple, so read on!)
Garden of Stones, Sophie Littlefield
Disclaimer: Sophie Littlefield is a very dear friend of mine. This, however, has nothing to do with the way I feel about her writing. In fact, I'd say that the only problem I do have with our friendship is that sometimes I think, Why does a writer like HER like ME? She's so good. She writes emotion so that you feel it knife your gut, and then you turn the page and you read a sentence that makes you sigh with happiness.
So I'm very proud to host her on the blog today. This newest book is about mother-daughter relationships so real I predict they won't let you go when you turn the last page. I love the book, and I know you will, too.
Rachael's Unconventional Sleep-Deprived Interview
1. What fact that you learned while doing the research for Garden of Stones that was the most resonant for you?
At the start of WWII, there were three orphanages in San Francisco and Los Angeles for Japanese-American children. Often, those of mixed race had been abandoned by their parents and were considered unadoptable. At the outset of the war, all three of the orphanages were closed, the children sent to Manzanar, where they lived in a building called the Children's Village. After the war, Japanese-American families adopted some of the children, but the rest were returned to social services in whatever city they'd lived in before the war.
I think this struck me with such force because some of the children were *infants* – and others had as little as 1/16th Japanese blood. And yet, they were considered a threat to national security.
2. omg I'm so sleepy. How are you today?
Aw, sweetheart, I'm doing great – but I've definitely got all of those book-launch symptoms: eating everything in sight (just polished off the last few Triscuits and the salty crumbs in the bottom of the box), and finding anything at all to do so I don't have to work. Moments ago I was lying on the floor talking to the dog, who is much more sanguine about the process of books coming to life than I am.
3. I love reading about mother/daughter relationships, and the one in this book is so weighted and fraught with emotion. Um, thanks for that. [Insert your answer to my non-asked question here.]
Yeah, right? You and I have talked about our moms a lot. And how many times have you talked me off one mom ledge or another, reminding me that the kids will be fine? The mother-child (and in particular the mother-daughter) relationship is one of those subjects you can puzzle over forever, and never come up with any definitive conclusions. In fact…I believe that the more I ponder, the less I know. Fiction is a good place to work out my feelings, though. Long ago, I planned to be a *perfect* mom. Now, I'll settle for good enough.
Yesterday, I took my 17-year-old daughter to see Jimmy Carter speak. On the way there, my attempts at conversation were met with a full measure of disdain and eye-rolling, which makes a BART ride so much more enjoyable. (Picture the crowded car, and me yelling, so as to be heard over the train, "I remember when Amy Carter was your age! She had the most adorable freckles!" and her trying desperately to pretend she wasn't with me.) We were barely speaking when we got to the theater. About forty-five minutes into his remarks, for no reason, Sally laid her head on my shoulder and held my hand. I'll tell you what – moments like that make all the rest way more than worth it.
4. Please take a picture of your current pair of favorite shoes and tell us why you love them.
Wow! You're the best interviewer. Okay, here you go.
I cannot wear these; for some reason they pinch everwhere. But I've held onto them for years. Why? – because my kids once gave them to me for mother's day. (Yes, they are covered with sequins. Which reminds me of the best gift I ever gave my own mom, who wore no makeup: a compact with bright blue and green eye shadow. Because I was six, and it was pretty and so was she.)
Can I have another favorite?
I also love these. I'm going to wear them to my launch party. To me, they are a reminder that I can have, do, and be anything I want, no matter how many wrong turns I take. Because I sure as hell never expected that when I was 49 years old, I would have a reason to get dressed up to go do a job I love.
5. Tacos soon? Where and why? (that's such a gimme!)
Ha! Here, and here's why:
I'll be giving away two copies (in your choice of format, paper or e-version) of Garden of Stones, one to a lucky commenter here on the blog, and one to someone subscribed to my mailing list. I'll draw on Friday, so good luck!
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