Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview: Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I'm thrilled to welcome Jamie Ford to Diary of an Eccentric today, and I'd like to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.  Ford is the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (which I reviewed here), a story set in Seattle that focuses on Henry Lee, who as a young boy during World War II, witnessed the relocation of Japanese families -- including his best friend and first love, Keiko Okabe -- to internment camps.

What inspired you to write Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet?

It was really the perfect storm of a lot of things, good and bad, beginning when my father died. He was Chinese, but an only child, so when he passed I felt cut off from my Chinese heritage. I was also working in advertising at the time on some truly soul-killing accounts. When that happens I tend to write on the weekends just as a creative outlet, and began kicking around a few story ideas set in Seattle’s Chinatown, circa 1940. And then I skipped my twenty-year high school reunion to attend a writers' conference. It was there that I brought some recent work and met with an editor who thought I had a bright future. Now here I am talking to you…

What do you want readers to take from the book?

I didn't want to write a story that's something for everyone, but rather have it be everything to someone. And that everything is the love story—that some things, and some people, truly are worth waiting for, even at great hardship and personal sacrifice.

Beyond that, I hope people visit Seattle's Chinatown International District. I hope they pick up related books or at least do some googling of the historical aspects of the book, lest we forget.

Are you working on another book?  If so, any hints?

I am. Just turned it in to my editor a few weeks ago and am diving into revisions. It's the story of a student conscript who becomes a kamikaze pilot. It's tentatively titled, Whispers of a Thunder God. And oddly enough, it's another love story.

I'm also doing research for a YA (Young Adult) series.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

Live entertainment—whether it's MMA (mixed martial arts) or theater, I love it all. I'm also a comics geek; currently I'm feeding my manga addiction.

What book are you reading now?

I'm reading an ARC of Juliet by Anne Fortier—an amazing book that'll be coming out later in the year. It's already a huge hit and it's not officially "out there" yet.

What/who are some of your favorite books/authors?

I love Harlan Ellison. He's known for short fiction, but his essays are incredible—they're honest, caustic, painful, self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating at the same time. He's a true self-taught man of letters, the last of a dying breed, I'm afraid.

I'm also a big Sherman Alexie fan. Another writer who's mastered the alchemy of blending truth, humor, and tragedy.

Can you describe your experience getting Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet published?  Any advice to aspiring writers hoping to see their work in print?

My publishing journey has been a dream, like a vacation on that 70s show, Fantasy Island—I keep expecting Herve Villechaize to pop up and offer me an umbrella drink.

As far as advice to aspiring writers—Orson Scott Card said it best, "Writers block is your subconscious telling you this sucks." Listen to that inner voice. Learn from it and move on. Keep writing.

Thanks, Jamie!  I wish you much success, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

Courtesy of Random House, I have a trade paperback copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to give away.  Just leave a comment and tell me why you want to read the book.

Because the publisher is shipping the book to the winner, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only.  This giveaway will be open through Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11:59 EST.
 

Click here to check out the other stops on the  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet blog tour.

61 comments:

Tea said...

I really enjoyed reading the interview with Jamie Ford. I would love to read HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET.

There are three reasons I would like to read the book: I enjoy reading and learning about other cultures. Seconly, a book is really good with a love story included in it. Thirdly, I adore the title of the book. I love unique titles of books.

Thanks to the author and blogger for working together.

tea said...

I misspelled "secondly." Sorry, I don't know how to edit it.

Jamie Ford said...

Thanks for the interview! Hope everyone enjoys the book--my best to all!

Serena said...

No need to enter me in the giveaway, but I wanted to stop by and say that this was a great interview. I learned a lot about what makes him tick as a writer.

Andi said...

Great interview! This book has been on my radar for a while now, and now I'm even more excited to read it.

samantha.1020 said...

This book sounds really interesting and I want to read it because I've heard nothing but good things about it. Great interview!

samantha.1020@yahoo.com

Toni said...

What a fantastic interview. I have this book. No need to enter me. I SERIOUSLY can't believe it is languishing in my pile. I am going to nominate it for my book club. I love that what he wrote about not wanting to write a book that is everything to everyone... but a book that is everything to someone. When I read an interview like this, it really incites me to want to read the book more than ever. Thank you.

LisaMM said...

Like Toni, I loved the part where he said he didn't want to write a book that was something for everyone, but everything to someone. What a great approach and so brave for an author too, to avoid going for mass appeal with a little bit of everything.

Fabulous interview!! Would love to be entered in the giveaway!

carolsnotebook said...

That was a great interview. The book sounds so good, both from what I've heard before and your review.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Sue said...

I've been looking at this book for so long and wanting to read it and just haven't gotten around to buying it. I was struck by the cover and title initially, then with the teaser on the back of the book.
Thanks for the giveaway!

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Cool interview, Anna!

No need to enter me (and hi, Jamie! I see you in the comments). I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail, Anna. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Suko said...

Awesome interview, Anna! I also interviewed Jamie Ford--please stay tuned for my interview with this talented author next month!

Michelle said...

I would love to read this book for several reasons: I've seen it all over the place, and the title intrigues me; I've seen reviews (including yours!) all over the place, and they have piqued my interest even more; and your interview with Jamie Ford. His book sounds great!

michellemsherman(at)gmail(dot)com

Staci said...

I adored this book and I think Jamie has a great career ahead of him!

Zibilee said...

No need to enter me in the contest, as I won the book about a month ago in another giveaway. I loved this interview though, and think that Ford sounds like an incredibly down to earth guy. I also think he has great taste in literature, Harlan Ellison rocks hardcore!

bermudaonion said...

Nice interview! I can't wait to read this book. No need to enter me.

MJ said...

Loved the interview. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. It's been on my wishlist for awhile.

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Melody said...

Great interview! I enjoyed reading this book so I really look forward to his next release.

Bcteagirl said...

This book has been on my wishlist for a while. I admit I am very interested in the idea of a trunk of lost belongings and photographs from the past..

wisteria said...

I can't wait to read Jamie's next book. Thanks for bringing us this interview. I love his line..."lest we forget!~"

DarcyO said...

I just read your review and Ford's book sounds wonderful. I love to read books about the World War II era.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

wheresmyrain said...

would love to read it for subject matter and cause ive jst heard so much about ths book i feel left out not reading it

wheresyrain@yahoo.com

SharonK said...

Thanks for sharing...

I'd love to read anything written by an author repped by Kristen Nelson - if she loves it I'm sure I will too.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I've read so many wonderful reviews of this book! I'm also interested in learning more about the relocation of the Japanese in WWII.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

Lisa said...

I'm just starting this one; I love knowing what the author's background and inspiration were before I start reading.

Tea said...

Is something wrong with my computer? I can't read the email in my mail.

Sarah E said...

I would love to read this book because I enjoy reading novels set during the WWII period. I have also read many great reviews of this book elsewhere on the Internet.

Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

stacybuckeye said...

This was a great interview and his personality and passion for the book is what makes me want to read it.
stacybooks at yahoo

Carol in Oregon said...

No one has mentioned this, but the cover just draws. me. in. I'd love to read a book set in Seattle, my son's home. Though we often manage a trip to Pike Place Market, I've yet to visit Chinatown.

The interview makes me think of another book I loved: Snow Falling on Cedars.

Carol in Oregon
bakkerfamily1(at)verizon(dot)net

Dana said...

Please enter me in the giveaway - I want to read it because the story sounds interesting and so many people have recommended it!

boredd09ATgmailDOTcom

Anna said...

Thank you all for taking time to read the interview, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

~Jamie: Thanks for dropping by! I'm looking forward to your next book.

~Susan: Thanks, as always, for posting on Win a Book!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book. I have heard many good things about it from other readers and have meant to go out and buy it. Word of mouth usually means a good read.

Tammy(dot)Duncan(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Wanda said...

I'd love to read this book because the author is new to me and I love reading new authors.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com)

Scrappy Cat said...

This sounds like a really good book and I'd love a chance to read it. Great interview.

csgebhart at gmail dot com

Margie said...

I read a library copy of this book and thought it was wonderful. I would love to own my own copy so I could read it again and pass it on to my daughter.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

mindy said...

because it sounds like a fascinating read thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

scottsgal said...

I'd love to read this - I've read so many positive reviews of this book and I like the premise
msboatgal at aol.com

Heather said...

I live in the area the book is set in, and it just looks like a great read, that's why I'd love to win + read it!

Mia J. said...

I have heard so many good things about this book and would like to read it.

Sandra K321 said...

I missed this book on its first go around through the blogs and I really wanted to read it. I enjoy historical fiction and it is from a time that so many sad things happened and families were broken apart.
seknobloch(at)gmail(dot)com

Deborah said...

I'd like to read this book because I don't think we (in the USA) understand the emotional aspects of life during the times of the internment camps, and the amazing resilance of the people who were effected by them. asthenight at gmail dot com

rocknmyway said...

I would love to win a copy because I am intrigued by the author saying that it is a love story about love that is worth waiting for. It sounds like an awesome book.

rocknmyway@hotmail.com

ellie said...

This book has been on my wish list for a while now. The title was what first drew my attention to it and then I started reading various reader reviews on the internet and I knew it was a book I had to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

eswright18 at gmail.com

Mary said...

I've heard only good things about this book. A friend of mine put it in her top ten of the year.

mamie316(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

jemscout425 said...

i'd love to read it because this topic always interest me, one of our nations mark of shame, plus it's close to where i live.
pksanddancer(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kelly said...

Oh, I would love to read this. The whole era of WWII has always fascinated me. I did a heavy research paper on the Japanese internment camps, and I think it's a topic that should be more familiar to people.

krtrumpet [at] aol [dot] com

Nancye said...

I would like to win this book because I have always been interested in WWII and the internment camps. This book looks very interesting! Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

susan said...

This was a great interview! I would love a chance to win! thanks

Aik said...

I'd love to enter! Thanks!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

amanda18228 said...

I want to read this book because the reviews have been very good.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

dsandyboy said...

count me in.

dsandyboy@gmail.com

FrankSandy said...

it sounds like a great book.

walkerd@primus.ca

shnndvs said...

I would love to win this book - I've only heard great reviews, and the format seems really interesting. Thanks for the opportunity!
shnndvs at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous book :)

karenk
kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

lag123 said...

Your review has left me very interested. I would love to read this book because I have read so many good reviews. Thank you for having this giveaway.

lag110@mchsi.com

Amused said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! I grew up in Seattle and miss it terribly! Also, the subject matter sounds very good. Oh and the cover is beautiful! Thanks for hosting such a great giveaway!

amusedbybooks@gmail.com

Rebecca Graham said...

I would like to win this because I have never read anything by Jamie Ford before and this sounds like a good read.

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

Marianna said...

I'm always looking for a good book to dive into and get away from the stress of my everyday life - this sounds like a good one. Thanks for the chance to win.

SuperMom said...

I'd love to be entered.
I've seen this around the blog world and have read some good reviews!
i'd love to give it a try!

ladyverlina AY yahoo DOT com

Vicki said...

Love the interview. I've read so many good things about this book and would love to read this book.

readingatthebeach (@) gmail (.) com

Anna said...

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered, publicized the giveaway, or just stopped by to read the interview. I really appreciate it.

I will choose the winner via Randomizer.org and make an announcement soon.