Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Next Challenge

Katsuren features a heroine with two much formal education and not enough life education. The next novel in my Okinawa series stars a hero who is the exact opposite. Sam Ryder's formal schooling stops at the junior high level, and that's when his real education begins.

As someone who didn't especially enjoy school, this is a tempting avenue to explore.

For instance, who ends up with the better body--the kid who goes to gym class or the urchin who teaches himself parcour? I think I'll let the urchin win that one. But how about the kid who goes to school and is inspired by a great teacher--can the urchin's life, populated by people whose personalities might not win the Good Housekeeping Seal, provide as good a jumpstart in life?

As the old catch phrase goes, we'll soon find out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Part of the fun of writing a novel is naming the characters. Since Katsuren is set in Okinawa, I wanted the names to sound authentic. One of the most common surnames there is Shiroma, and it includes the kanji character for a castle like Katsuren.

Other choices were not so obvious. One is the surname Ganaha. It, too, is very common, though quite difficult to write in kanji. However, if an ethnic name is to be used, it should be easy to pronounce. Ganaha, with three rhyming syllables, fills the bill nicely.

But---if the character's last name is a long one, his first name needs to be short. Thus, the hero of Katsuren gets a two letter first name, Yu. Some readers may be surprised by a name that sounds like a familiar, but totally unrelated, English word. That's good.

In reading Katsuren, it is a good idea to be prepared for the fact that things are not always what they seem.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Watch Your Step

This is a scene from cliff terrain in a place called "Stray Dog Point" on Tokunoshima Island, near Okinawa. I thought the name came from the formation's resemblance to the open mouth of a snarling dog. Alas, it has a more sinister connotation--stray and dangerous dogs were eliminated from society by being pushed from the cliff onto the razor sharp rocks below.

Katsuren Castle is located at a cliffside location with similar terrain. A rocky cliff just like this one figures in the story.

How to Read a Novel (2)

Fiction is, by definition, something that is made up. It doesn't have to be real events or the way things really happened, and it doesn't have to be about real people. It's the author's way of telling people something new, something that might have happened, something that--if it happened--shows you how the author looks at life.

That is Katsuren.

The place is real. The people could be real, but they're not. What IS real is how this author feels about the beginning of love.

You have to make a choice. Do you stick to the well traveled path, or do you follow the road that most people wouldn't choose to follow?