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Margaret Dilloway, American Housewife

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Roses in Entertainment Weekly

Which would blow your mind more? That your mom’s book and her name got a little mention in Entertainment Weekly‘s “Summer Guide” double issue:

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OR, that Sacha Baron Cohen was the voice of King Julien the ring-tailed lemur in the Madagascar movies?

I got a nice surprise yesterday when my EW came in the mail and I saw my book mentioned. Yay! I immediately showed the issue to my kids. The two younger ones were gratifyingly excited. “Oh boy! Mom’s in a magazine!” they shouted.

Eldest said, “I want proof!” and had to make sure my name was actually in there and I wasn’t totally making it up  and finally granted me a, “Cool.”

Later, she stopped me and Cadillac in the kitchen. “You’ll never believe this!” she said. She told us that her friend told her that Sacha Baron Cohen was the voice of King Julien in the Madagascar movies. “I was like, AHHHH!” she said, and slapped her cheeks in a Home Alone stance. Widened her eyes. Almost lost her mind. “Can you BELIEVE IT?! Sacha Baron Cohen is King Julien! I can’t believe it.”

Sacha Baron Cohen, stealing my thunder.

 

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5 Questions: Author Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris is the author of BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES, which I had the honor of reading back when it was in looseleaf form; and LETTERS FROM HOME.


***
Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern’s life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother’s best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.
***
I was surprised to learn that there were indeed some Caucasians who went to the internment camps, inspiring Kristina’s story.

Kristina and I started corresponding a couple of years ago, before LETTERS FROM HOME, another WWII story, was released. Like me, she’s half-Japanese, only it’s her father that’s Japanese. Not only is she an all-around nice gal (in the parlance of her novels’ era),she’s an enterprising book promoter; just read about some of the things she did to help launch her first book.

One day, after I’d started pen-palling with Kristina, I was walking through Costco and saw Mr. Yoshida’s sauce. The name was familiar. Wasn’t Kristina’s maiden name Yoshida? I wondered.

Yup. Kristina’s dad is the Mr. Yoshida.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kristina in person, when she organized a group of women writers to meet for a retreat at Mt. Hood. It was a fabulous weekend, and I came away with many new friends.

Here are a few questions I asked Kristina:

Do you dream in black and white, or color?
I read a long time ago that people dream in one of the two, so I always ask everyone this. I haven’t found anyone who dreams in B&W yet!

You would think I dream in black & white, since my books are all set during the ’40s. But alas, I’m not that unique. From what I recall, only color dreams for me!

What are your hobbies?

Authors on deadline are supposed to have hobbies?! Ha. As the mother of two young sons who are now active in various sports, I’m finding less and less free time these days. But when I have the chance, I enjoy reading, watching films (I especially love movie trailers, which always hold so much promise!), and dining with friends over good wine and food that’s too pretty to eat.


What are your favorite and least favorite parts about writing?

My favorite part is editing. I love to tweak like nobody’s business.

My least favorite? The blank page. That blinking, taunting cursor is not my friend. But I push myself to fill the pages regardless, propelled by the vague memory of how wonderful it feels to type THE END.

If you could have any super power, what would it be? What would your superhero name be?

Given that I so often complain about wanting another hundred hours in a day, I would either slow down time or eliminate my need to sleep. As for a name? I’d have to go with “Crasian.” A friend once combined “crazy” and “Asian” to describe me, and the fitting nickname never fails to make me laugh.

What’s your favorite snack? Notice I did not say “healthful snack.” (I think healthful is correct. My MIL always corrects me when I say healthy).

I’m a longtime fan of salt & vinegar chips, but my latest discovery is the baked Cheez-It Duoz that feature both smoked cheddar and Monterey Jack crackers. Yum!

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