I want to start by saying congratulations to Kristina on the release of her newest novel Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, released today! What a joy it has been to have her here at MMBBR. Everyone get out and get your copy today!!!
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. True historical stories have been my greatest source of inspiration. My debut, Letters from Home, originated from the discovery of my grandparents' wartime courtship letters. My second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, evolved from knowledge of a family friend who had fought for America while his brother served for Japan. Once I have a nugget of history that I feel other people should know about, it's nearly impossible for me to let that go.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. I'm sure it's been said a million times, but after a year or more of drafts and copy edits and page proofs and finger crossing…it's hard to beat the thrill of holding an actual finished book in my hands.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. The blank page. I absolutely love to revise, but too often writing from scratch is a horrendous chore that makes laundry and dishes look enticingly appealing. This is not a good thing when you work at home. And now, with the distractions of social networking only a click away? It's a wonder that I ever complete a single page, let alone entire books. J
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. I would probably return to one of my two favorite former careers, either an event planner or a TV host. I thoroughly enjoyed both, although being an author offers the greatest benefit of setting my own hours so I can be there when the kids come home—which is an incredibly important perk.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. " The Crasian." A friend once combined Crazy and Asian to describe me and it never fails to make me laugh. I think it pretty well encapsulates the joy I find in life and my tendency to take risks over playing it safe.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Heart-wrenching, beautiful, haunting. It's the only book I've ever wanted to reread the moment I finished.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Oh, I wish I had an answer for this! Since I'm not cool enough to think of one, I'll have to opt for a cop-out and say that all of the main characters in my own books represent pieces of me, even the guys. Come to think of it, I'm probably more like them than the female characters in a lot of ways!
Q. What character from all of your book(s) are you most like?
A. See what happens when I don't read the next question before answering? I've tried narrowing it down to one, but can't. So I'll have to stick with my response above.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. I love winter the most. I'm an indoor girl at heart, so I adore being curled up with a cozy blanket (I'm addicted to buying them!), fuzzy ugly socks, the fireplace going, and a mug of hot cocoa—which, in my firm opinion, is actually just a carrier for whipped cream.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
A. I was once given the wrong date to call into a radio program for an author interview. After I dialed in, I was put on auto hold for quite some time. I could hear the show begin and the host introducing another author, raising a red flag. But it dawned on me that perhaps the show was covering more than one author. So, I simply waited my turn. But then the host clicked on my line, announcing I was "a caller," and wanted to know if I had a question for the author. I was mortified. Thankfully I had been paying attention to the other author's answers, so I was able to finagle my way through it.
Although the mishap was anything but funny at the time, I can now look back and laugh.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I'm happy to report I just turned in a novella, The Christmas Collector, which will be published this coming October by Kensington Books in a holiday anthology titled A Winter Wonderland. Given that it's headlined by #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels, you could say I'm a wee bit excited. After that, I'll be working on my next two women's fiction novels under contract with my publisher. So hopefully I'll be sharing stories for a long time to come!
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Thanks for taking the time to read a little about me. I hope you'll check out Letters from Home and especially my new shiny toy, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. I'd love to hear what you think!
The recipient of nearly twenty national literary awards, Kristina McMorris is the author of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, declared a "gripping story [that] hits all the right chords" by Publishers Weekly and a "sweeping yet intimate novel" by Kirkus Reviews. Her critically praised debut novel, Letters from Home, inspired by her grandparents' WWII courtship, achieved additional acclaim as a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, Kristina has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she refuses to own an umbrella.
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.
When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.
Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris draws readers into a novel filled with triumphs and heartbreaking loss--an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit
Letters From Home
Liz Stephen's life changes when she meets infantryman Morgan McClain at a Chicago USO club. Liz has long expected to marry her childhood friend, Dalton, yet her instant attraction to Morgan is mutual. But when she misinterprets Morgan's chivalrous rescue of her friend Betty, she flees without explanation. When Betty begins corresponding with Morgan, she asks for Liz's help. Soon, Morgan and Liz, under Betty's alias, are exchanging soul-baring letters. Betty, serving in the Woman's Army Corps, finds unexpected romance of her own, as does Liz's engaged best friend Julia. But as the war ends, each woman faces the repercussions of her choices. Inspired by the true story of her grandparents' epistolary courtship during World War II, Kristina McMorris captures the heartache and sacrifice of love and war in a story that is timeless, tender, and unforgettably moving.