. Why do you write
the kind of books you do? Alice
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?
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
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
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 Heart Mountain 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
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?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alice-J.-Wisler/e/B001J6GVNE/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-J-Wisler/333751835453
Thank you, Alice, for sharing this book with us. Many Americans aren't aware that these things happened.
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Under the Silk Hibiscus
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