Wednesday, November 05, 2014

UNDER THE SILK HIBISCUS - Alice J Wisler - One Free Book

Welcome back, Alice. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
It is important for me to write books that entertain my readers. I hope my characters are realistic as they go through struggles and hardships, love, forgiveness, and hope. I suppose I write the books I do because I like to read books like I write, if that makes sense.

It makes perfect sense to me. That’s why I started writing novels. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’ve had many happy days and really can’t name just one. I think I’m happiest when I’m writing!

How has being published changed your life?
Well, I get to sign books and answer questions in author interviews—like this one!

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading The Art of Mending by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg.

What is your current work in progress?
I’m working on a memoir. Tough stuff as I strive to be authentic.

What would be your dream vacation?
 Alice Springs, Australia. I have always dreamed of going to Australia and making friends with a kangaroo.

Australia has been my dream vacation for a long time, too. How do you choose your settings for each book?
My first five novels all take place in North Carolina. Under the Silk Hibiscus is the first novel I have written not set in my home state. I chose Wyoming for this one because that is where an internment camp during WWII was located.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’d admire Denzel Washington for his acting talent and would love to be on a movie set with him.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to bake bread! Most of my recipes that I have created have turned out well, but I have had some disasters.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I think it would have to be getting stuck on one word and overusing it. I don’t realize that I do this until the novel is completed and then I do a “search and find” and am appalled at my redundancy of certain words. I have to get rid of words and replace them. A Thesaurus comes in handy.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
The usual motivational speech all writers give to beginners—never give up! Keep striving. Practice your craft. There is always room for improvement.

Tell us about the featured book.
Under the Silk Hibiscus takes place in an internment camp in Wyoming where many Japanese-Americans were sent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There's upheaval, frustration, pain, and sorrow. Families are separated. Some members are accused of being spies, like Nathan Mori's father.

To balance the discrimination that evolved during this time period, I had to  rely on humor and romance.

One of the most fun relationships I enjoyed crafting was between the main character, Nathan, and his aunt Kazuko. Even though she's single and has no children of her own, Aunt Kazuko knows how to keep Nathan and his brothers in line. But even she knows a body can't live on hard work alone. Cookies are her friends! She keeps morsels in her sweater sleeves, taking them out when she needs “a pep.”

And of course, there's young romance. Nathan dreams of the lovely singer, Lucy, and wants her to notice him, but she seems more interested in his older brother, Ken.

There are two characters which are not people—one is Heart Mountain, the mountain viewed every day from those in the barracks at the camp. Then there is the Mori family's coveted gold watch, a family heirloom from Japan.

So the questions form: Will Nathan get the girl? What happens to the family heirloom during the war and after the war ends? Does Nathan's father return? How does war and discrimination change hearts? How does God's love prevail?

Please give us the first page of the book.

As an afternoon wind blew over the camp’s sagebrush terrain, I wiped dust from my face with a handkerchief that once belonged to Papa. Frustration, like the surrounding barbed wire fences, taunted me. At breakfast, something vile overcame me; I’d demanded to know if anyone knew about Papa’s whereabouts. I targeted my aunt because she was the easiest to bully. As I continued insisting that she tell me what she knew, the families at the nearby tables lifted their faces from bowls of dry rice. Shut up, I could read from the older men’s and women’s expressions. We’re at war; this is no time for you to become hostile. Besides, you are only a child.

Since there had been no communication from Papa after that fateful day in February when two FBI agents entered our home in San Jose, I was certain he was dead. They had taken him away in handcuffs. “Spy,” the tall one with a crew cut had called him. “We know you are working with Japan’s military.”

As the memory of that day burned in my mind, I trudged toward the camp’s latrines, bucket in hand. Yesterday afternoon Lucy had smiled at me; I’d nearly danced across the hard dirt road. Today, I felt almost as despairing as the day Mama, my aunt, my brothers, and I were told we had forty-eight hours to pack up for relocation.

“Relocation,” Mama had cried, the word obviously foreign to her. “We don’t need to go anywhere. We are happy here.” But happiness had not been the point. Fear seemed to be. Was it
the picture of Emperor Hirohito on our living room wall that made Caucasian men tremble? Did they think that Mama was sitting under her knitted grey shawl at the kitchen table, sending messages across the Pacific to the enemy?

My thoughts sprang, one bouncing off another. An army truck sped past toward the mess hall, creating a blanket of dust around the row of bleak barracks. The roar of its engine brought me back to reality, and I increased my pace. If I weren’t careful, I’d wind up like my ten-year-old brother, Tom, who seemed to live in his own world of poetry books and fantasies.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Alice’s Patchwork Quilt Blog:

Thank you, Alice, for sharing this book with us. Many Americans aren't aware that these things happened.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Under the Silk Hibiscus

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Jennifer Hibdon said...

This sounds like such an interesting book to read!!!!! Thank you for the interview.

Jennifer Hibdon said...

I am a transplanted Michigander in Lubbock, Texas.

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued by this one, Lena. Thank you for your great interview!

Melanie Backus, TX

Caryl Kane said...

Hello Lena, I enjoyed the interview with Alice. I'm looking forward to reading "Under the Silk Hibiscus". Thanks for the chance to win. :)

Caryl in TEXAS

Deanna Stevens said...

Historical fiction. Although this one sounds all too true... Would love to win a copy :)
dee S from NE

Mary Preston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Preston said...

Such a fascinating story line & period in history.

Mary P


Granny's Attic said...

Love WW2 fiction based on fact.
Lisa Cowell in Ohio

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read alice's latest novel :)

karenk....from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marianne Barkman said...

I have been seeing this book posted about on several blogs. It certainly is a unique and intriguing subject. Thank you, Lena for offering it in a contest! And yes, I would love to win!

Anonymous said...

I'm entering to try and get this book for my sister who LOVES anything WWII. I know shed enjoy this.
J.C. -Indiana-

Melissa M. said...

I'm interested to learn more about the interment camps, so I think I'd love your book!

-Melissa M. from TN

Shonda said...

This novel intrigues me as I love history that is not widely known. I enjoy Alice's novels. I am from WA state. I would love to win this book!

sm said...

We visited Manzanar in CA this past summer and it was a fabulous site. It is a National Historic Site and was very moving. I would love to win and read your book on the Japanese Internment! sm California

alice wisler said...

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Lena! Am enjoying all the reader comments!

Velma said...

Alice is one of my favorite authors, and I would love to win her new novel. Please enter me in the contest. I am from Georgia.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

kam110476 said...

Wow! Under the Silk Hibiscus sounds absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Terri Wangard said...

I did a high school term paper on the Japanese internment program. (That was a long time ago.)
I've lived in four states, and am back in Wisconsin where I was born.

alice wisler said...

So much fun to see all the posts here!

Janice Hopkins said...

I have always been fascinated by the interment of the Japanese in the U.S. during WWII, but it has not often been chosen as a novel setting. I would love to win a copy of UNDER THE SILK HIBISCUS. It sounds like my kind of book.

Bonnie Roof said...

Hi, Alice!!

I don't know much about the camps mentioned in "Under the Silk Hibiscus" and would love to read your book!! Thanks for your informative interview - the interview along with the book excerpt have whet my appetite!!


alice wisler said...

Thanks for all he enthusiasm here!

The Artist Librarian said...

I don't normally see a lot of Asian American characters in Christian fiction, so I'm definitely interested in "Under the Silk Hibiscus."

I don't know if my grandparents were interned or not ... It's not something we ever discussed, though I know they worked on a plantation in their early life.

Thanks for the chance to win!


(P.S. I'm from Hawaii). =)

kec200 said...

Love reading about times like this that most people know so very little about.

Kathy from Wendell, NC

WritePathway said...

I love all of Alice's books! She makes her characters come to life and you get to see the sights and feel the culture of the place where the stories take place. My husband remembers visitng an internment camp with his father to teach the men working there about growing crops. His dad was a County Farm Agent in Hoke County.

Ann in NC