Tokyo Dare (The Sushi Chronicles)
by Anne Van
Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with me and the bunnies. It is so nice to have Anne Van here. Readers I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Oh, hold on Anne Van every time someone new stops by the dogs and bunnies go crazy.
Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.
A dare sends a high school student to Japan where her host family thinks she’s the devil and a wacky to-do list turns her world inside out.
Do you write under a pen name?
Kind of. Anne Van is my middle name and the beginning part of my long legal last name. It’s Dutch. So many people have a hard time pronouncing it that I thought it would be easier for my readers to remember the middle part of my name.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
All the time. I like to be comfortable when I write as I tend to do long sessions at the keyboard. In the winter I tend to never take them off. : )
What do you think was the largest influencing factor that pushes you as a writer?
The stories in my head. They just scream to be put on paper. I get ideas all the time. Some I just jot down and save for later, others I turn into short stories. For the bigger concept ideas, I’ll write an outline for so I can work on them later.
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Hands down Devil Wears Prada. I read the book and thought it had a lot of places it could have been better. Then when I saw the movie all the issues I had with the plot and character development were fixed in the screenplay. I was so impressed how the screenwriter knew that having the boyfriend be so much more present in the story would show the character’s emotional development more clearly.
Do you have a book trailer?
Yes. It actually was featured in USA Today. I really had a lot of fun bringing Tokyo Dare to life. It was so exciting to go through voice over artists until I found the perfect one for my lead character Erin. Here’s the link. : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYpphAwOrgI
You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?
Without a doubt Kenzo. He would give me a grand tour of the island. He’d tell me jokes and funny stories so the time would fly by. Plus he’s very resourceful and a real survivor. I’m sure I’d make it off the island alive.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while I’m working on my new genie story. What power would my character wish for? For some reason mind reading came to me first. How awesome would that be? Then I thought about what it would be like to know what everyone was thinking about me and thought maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Immortality would be the one I’d wish for in the end. I love life and discovering things and how fantastic would it be for it to never end.
Night owl, or early bird?
Definitely night owl. From when I was little I always loved to stay up late. This drove me parent’s crazy of course. I do my best thinking after midnight. That’s when I like to plot out my stories.
What is your favorite type of pet?
I have a soft spots for cats. In Pasadena where I live there is a big feral cat problem. I’ve rescued a few of the cats and some were so cute I couldn’t part with them. I have a pair of blue tabby six toed sisters and a tuxedo brother and sister. I guess I fit the stereotype of writers all having cats.
Did you ever think you would ever become an author?
No. Art was always my first love. I liked to tell stories and wrote some poems but I never thought I’d love writing. But after a creative writing class in college I kind of caught the bug. I had a notebook I wrote little story ideas in. But once I stared working I never had the time to sit down at the computer and write them out. Over time my desire to write became so strong I finally sat down and wrote my first book. I’ve never stopped since.
What is it about the YA novel genre that called to you?
I think part of me never grew up. : ) I like to explore things with wide-eyed innocence just like when I was in high school. When I travel to new places I just take it all in. I like to dive into life. When I’m writing I try to capture that feeling through my characters reactions to the places they see on their adventures.
Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m an artist, fashionista, turned writer. I have a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. I’ve exhibited my artwork all over the United States and one of my works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. After several years toiling as a fine artist, I switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. I graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while I heard stories in my head. So one day I quit fashion and finally put my stories on paper.
Please tell us a little about what inspired your book
My two years living in Japan. After getting back from living in Japan, I had so many stories to tell. My friends kept saying I should write them down. It took me a few years but I finally sat down and wrote the first draft of Tokyo Dare.
When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer?
When I received my first award for my writing. I won the gold Sola award for best cultural story for Going Underground in the Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011 anthology. It was such a thrill to be recognized for my writing. It made me realize I really had mastered the skill of telling a good story.
What are you currently working on?
I’m also working on a fantasy about a girl who inherits a vase after her grandmother dies and discovers a genie inside. I love the possibilities of having a genie come into your life. I’m working on the first draft now. It’s been a fun book to write.
Where can your followers find you?
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today Anne Van. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
Sixteen-year-old artist, Erin Van Horn, doesn’t know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll. But on a dare from her best friend, Tori Mukigawa, she wins a spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in the land of the rising sun, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with a host family from hell. Otosan, the father, stops speaking to her after she “murders” his favorite bonsai tree. The mother, Okasan, believes Erin’s evil because she’s left-handed and their son is an Elvis impersonator who is convinced Erin’s the spitting image of Priscilla if only she’d dye her blonde hair black, and become his child bride.
But Erin has a bigger problem than her crazy host family when she faces the ultimate dare from Tori—a to-do list.Racked with guilt for winning the spot that should have gone to her best friend, Erin is determined to complete the list. All she has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, (sure, there’s one on every street corner), apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, (no problem, they’ll be listed in the Tokyo Yellow Pages) and visit Tori’s long lost relatives to find out what’s hidden in the family closet. So what if the only words she knows in Japanese are, “Excuse me eat pretty idiot.” How hard could it be?
“What is wrong with me? I’m itching everywhere and I have small bumps all over my stomach. My throat is dry, my muscles ache and I think I have a fever. There’s more but I’m too tired to go on.”
Aki showed no sign of concern. “Can I see your stomach?”
I slowly pulled up my pajama top.
Aki’s eyes grew wide. “Oh.”
Hmm…that didn’t sound good. She ran past me and called for Mamasan. Next, she went to Hiroshi’s room and woke him. Within a minute they had a family meeting. I nervously fidgeted with my hands as their whispering took on a more urgent tone.
Aki stood some distance from me. “You have Kotsu. Hiroshi had it a few weeks before you came to live with us. Papasan and I have never had it so we must go.”
What great news. I had something so horrible Aki and Papasan had to leave the house.
Aki pointed towards my stomach. “Don’t scratch your bumps. They can get worse and you can get bad scars. Whatever you do, don’t touch your face.”
My knees were shaking. “How…long will I be sick?”
“You’ll run a high fever for the next few days. Don’t worry, only babies die from it…but I’m not sure about Americans.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in a national magazine and an award winning travel story about her time living in Tokyo, Japan. She has also published short fiction. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including one that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t.