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I am beyond thrilled to have a series for young readers starring a Japanese American girl!
I’m not sure I consciously wrote with a message in mind, other than wanting to write about a Japanese American girl.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the family and how fun it must have been to make mochi together like that. Traditionally, men pounded mochi while women rolled mochi. She was persistent and I could no longer ignore her.
I wondered what would happen if a Japanese American girl wanted to break the family rules and tradition and pound mochi with the boys. Not only that, but she was a younger sister who was frustrated that her older sister always got to do everything first. By the time I sat down to write her story, I knew her well because she’d been talking in my head for months.
I had worked on Mochi Queen off and on for four years. While book 1 (Mochi Queen) was already written, I worked with Grace on revisions.
Books 2 – 4 were only ideas when I signed the contract, so I had to write three books from scratch during that time.
I then spent months reading and studying chapter books by authors I admired (Grace Lin and Kate Messner to name two) before I wrote my first draft. I wanted to tell Jasmine’s story and I’d accomplished that with Mochi Queen.Plus, I was really having fun writing the books and working with Grace.As for stretching me as a writer, I think it made me realize that I could work faster. For books 3 and 4, I sent Grace earlier drafts than I would have had I been querying/subbing.How has creating these stories stretched you as a writer?
The greatest challenges were writing faster and juggling the books. Books 1 and 2 were due in December of 2015, book 3 due in April 2016, and book 4 due in December of 2016.
I feel like we work well together and she truly helps me be a better writer.