Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pitch Wars Blog Hop: Why I Wrote My Book

This post is part of the Pitch Wars blog hop for mentors and alternates to talk about why they wrote their book. This is mine. Thanks to my mentor, Elizabeth Briggs, for picking me as her new alternate. 

In my heart, there's always been a soft spot for fantasy stories. It was easy to sit down to devour them, or take the time to dedicate myself to larger texts. The stories that I wrote were inspired by these, and maybe copycats in some ways, but it was the love that drove me. There was magic. Lots and lots of magic in those words.
One of my influences is Spirited Away from Studio Ghibli. 
It wasn't until I read more than one fairy tale retelling of Cinderella that I knew that I wanted something different. There were plenty of tales to choose from, but for some reason, I wanted something new. I thought about the cultures that interested me. This was also the time that I was really starting to fall even deeper in love with the work of Hayao Miyazaki, a well-known artist, writer, and director of Studio Ghibli movies in Japan. I sat down one night in front of the computer to find very few Japanese stories, but the ones I read sparked something in me. I also wanted a story about family, one pieced together by love and not blood. This is the type of family that I married into, and I know there are other families like it out there.

This was in 2010. I bought my first e-reader around the same time and I used Google Books to do what research I could with books from the early 1900s. I lived in North Dakota at the time and there wasn't one book in the whole state that could help me. Now, there are plenty of books that I could order. Something changed in this time. I don't know what it was, but I'm thankful.

This book was a real challenge for me since it was a culture I wasn't really familiar with. I traveled to Japan two months after the major earthquake in 2011. I researched every few months in case something new came up. It's fantasy so I could play a little bit with my own world, but I wanted authenticity. I wrote the story in first person, and decided to change to third person since I felt that gave it a fantastical voice that I wanted.

FOLLOW THE MOON exists because I love fantasy, the lovely country of Japan, the beauty of Miyazaki's work, the power of family, and my longing for a voice similar, yet unlike, my own. To give myself, and others, the excuse to look beyond the stories we all known so well and expand beyond our comfort zone. I know that this book did that for myself and I'm proud of the work I've done to get it where it is today.

A big thank you to Carleen Karnovic for putting this blog hope together. Check out the other book inspiration posts below.

Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER


Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND






































12 comments:

  1. I love the reasons behind your story. I sort of did the same thing--writing about the Indian side of my family, which I'm not as familiar with as my American half, is incredibly daunting. But we as writers need to bring these other cultures into the mainstream as much as possible. I can't wait to read your story someday! (And now I totally want to watch Spirited Away again).

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    1. Thank you! I agree that it's our responsibility to show different cultures since that's the world we live in. Good luck with your story!

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  2. Ooooh, love your inspiration (Miyazaki FTW!). Research is such a time-sink, but so worth it, and it sounds like you managed really well in spite of the obstacles. Also, love your title! Good luck with this!

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    1. Thank you! I changed the title so I'm happy to hear that. I do agree that research is totally worth it. I can't complain since it took me to such a beautiful country.

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  3. Awesome premise. Good luck to you in Pitch Wars. Looking forward to reading! :)

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  4. I love how you stepped outside the box for your story. Did you really travel to Japan for research?

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    1. I did! My husband also wanted to go so it was a win-win for both of us. It was such an amazing experience. I wrote a few blog posts about it if you want to check them out: http://www.natashamheck.com/2011/06/walking-paths-in-kyoto.html

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  5. As a HUGE Miyazaki and Murakami fan, I get it. Last Pitchwars I was a mentee for a Miyazaki inspired fantasy (the guy's a genius!). :) Your book sounds fantastic. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much! And more love for Miyazaki is always lovely to hear.

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  6. I love the why behind your story. Good luck this week! I'll be cheering for you!

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