For more info on Hiromi, visit her site:
Other books by Hiromi:
Chorus of Mushrooms
The Kappa Child
The Water of Possibilities
The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm
( Go here for further books)
Summary: Melanie Tamaki is human—but her parents aren’t. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World—and neither of them may return alive. Imagine Coraline as filmed by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle), or Neil Gaiman collaborating with Charles de Lint. Half World is vivid, visceral, unforgettable, a combination of prose and images that will haunt you.
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1) How old were you when you started writing?
HG: My first memory of a completed story-- Grade 3 or 4? It was for Japanese language school. I wrote the tale of "Harold the Turkey" (in katakana), who heroically saves a little girl lost in a storm, so the family doesn't slaughter him and eat him for thanksgiving, but keep him as a treasured member of the family. I had to read it for a local Japanese radio program. It was excruciating. After that I returned to 'drawing stories' for some time then returned to writing (romances for my friends) in junior high school. . My 'serious' writing came after I finished university. I was 22 years old.
2) What inspired you to write Half World?
HG: I wanted to explore a story that had an unlikely female hero, someone who wasn't especially 'brave' or 'smart' (however we define these things), nor had special magical powers, but was capable of being a hero when it mattered the most. I wanted to write a fantasy adventure where a girl could look into the darkest of places, and still not lose her self. This is the conceptual aspect. Loads of other things are an inspiration also. Like Dorothy Allison's novel, Bastard Out of Carolina, the artwork of Frida Kahlo and Hieronymus Bosch, Japanese folk legends and ghost stories, J horror, the tale of Persephone and Demeter, feminism, etc!
3) Are the characters in the books based on someone you know?
HG: No, not really. I might winnow a trait here, an aspect, there, but these characters are fictional.
4) What was the hardest part about writing Half World?
HG: Finishing it.... Truly! This book took around seven years to complete, with countless revisions. All you budding writers out there-- you have to be bloody determined to sometimes see the book to print. You can't give up!
5) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why?
HG: Awww, geez. I'm bad at these games! Mmmm... redemptive. Because there are different levels of redemption for all the characters, not just the hero's. (And, maybe the reader's as well! This is not a christian book, btw....)
6) Out of all the books you've written, which one is your favorite?
HG: I think it's the first draft of the latest project...
7) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on?
HG: Yes. I'm writing a companion book to Half World, with a different protagonist although there are overlap characters from the first book. I'm very excited about where it's going! I'm also working on something that's still a secret. Sometimes if you talk about an idea too soon, it just withers and dies. But I'm super excited about it and will probably blog about it at some point.
8) What book are you currently reading?
HG: Shimmerdogs, by Dianne Linden. Too Bad, by Robert Kroestch, The Bloody Chamber and Other Adult Tales, by Angela Carter, and Learning to be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging, by Margaret Cruikshank.
9) Do you have anything to say to all your readers?
HG: Thank you for keeping the magic alive. Without readers, there would be no books.... It's kinda like the Tinkerbell situation. And for the readers who want to become published authors-- that's how it all began for me. The love of books, the love of wondrous stories, led me to writing, and leads me still. And it can lead you too. Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!
10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about.
HG: Mmmmmmmm. Bad at this game, too!
I love prime numbers (though 2 bothers me because it falls under "even", but clearly it's "odd") because they're indivisible. Yah! Geeks rule!