Thursday, March 27, 2008


There Will Be Book

For information on my novel, Picking Bones from Ash, please visit the official website. Thank you for stopping by!

Last week I received a call from my agent letting me know that we were very likely to get an offer for my novel. I was at the dentist when the call came, and I literally collapsed in the hallway on the floor in disbelief, shock and relief. Today, I've accepted the offer! My novel, "Picking Bones from Ash" is slated to come out in the fall of 2009 from Graywolf Press. You can read more about Graywolf here.

I'm so excited to have a home with Graywolf. This past year, they published "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson, which the New York Times named one of the top ten novels of 2007. It's a gorgeous book and I encourage you to read it one weekend when you want to curl up with something beautiful, meditative and transporting. Other authors you may have heard of are Charles Baxter, Percival Everett, and Benjamin Percy.

I already feel tremendous enthusiasm and support for my book, which is enormously important for a first novel. Graywolf distributes through FSG (Farrar Straus and Giroux) which means that my book will be in all the big stores--chains and all--and that you should be able to find it wherever you are. Of course, it's always a good idea to support your local independent bookstore.

This has been an emotionally exhausting process and I'm glad I had Irene Skolnick, my agent, by my side to steer me through the entire ordeal. Thanks to her, I have an incredibly intelligent editor who actually understands my work, which is not something writers are accustomed to at all. I can't wait to work with Fiona McCrae (and yes, that is a Scottish name for those of you who care about these kinds of things). We met this week over lunch and I found myself wondering if I would really be lucky to work with this intelligent woman--and I'm so glad that I will be.

So, what is the book about? Picture a little Banana Yoshimoto, a little Hayao Miyazaki, with some Amy Tan and, well, my own perspective thrown in, and you have some sense of what my novel will feel like. Here is the current synopsis:

“My mother always said that there is only one way a woman can be truly safe in this world. And that is to be fiercely, inarguably and masterfully talented.”

Eleven-year-old Satomi has always used her gift of music to shield herself and her beautiful and unmarried mother, Akiko, from their neighbors. No one knows who fathered Satomi, and the village women in the traditional 1950’s mountain town of Kuma-Ume find Akiko’s restless sensuality a threat. Satomi’s talent has always saved her and her mother from complete ostracism.

But when Akiko’s growing ambition for her daughter tests the boundaries of this delicate social balance, Satomi’s gift is not enough to protect them. Seeking sanctuary, Akiko marries a wealthy suitor, but in doing so, unleashes unintended consequences on her daughter. Satomi, at war with her new family, must eventually choose between extremes: love and obligation, and freedom in the newly accessible west and the comfort of her native culture. Eventually she will be pushed to make a drastic decision in order to begin her life anew.

Years later, Satomi’s choice echoes in the life of her daughter, Rumi. Growing up in San Francisco, Rumi has talents of her own. Trained since childhood to authenticate antiques by her father, Francois, Rumi believes she can “hear” if objects are real or not; fakes simply strike her like a “wrong note in a song.” She has always believed her mother died shortly after her birth, but a visit in 1990 from Timothy Snowden, a strange American Buddhist priest who claims to have known and loved Satomi, prompts Rumi to question her assumptions. When she begins to see and hear a ghost in her Victorian home, Rumi wonders: is this the ghost of her mother? If so, what happened to Satomi?

With grim determination, Rumi uncovers the insidious nature of family secrets—and the power these secrets have to cross oceans and cultures. As the stories of mother and daughter intersect, it will be up to Rumi to relieve the burdens of several generations of women.

More news as it becomes available. I'll be blogging about this process to the extent that I feel comfortable, and also sharing pictures of Japan, where I will be very soon.

And double woot!
For the parents:

Woot originated as a hacker term for root (or administrative) access to a computer. However, with the term as coincides with the gamer term, "w00t".

"w00t" was originally an trunicated expression common among players of Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game for "Wow, loot!" Thus the term passed into the net-culture where it thrived in video game communities and lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement.

"I defeated the dark sorcerer! Woot!"

"woot! i r teh flagmastar!" (Think Tribes)

"Woot, I pwnzed this dude's boxen!'
Thanks, folks. ;-)
Congratulations, Marie! I'll most definitely order it when the time comes!
Congratulations Marie! I'm happy that your hard work and perseverance is finally paying-off. I'm so proud of you!
After hearing so many lovely things about you for so long (and admiring your work online/from afar) I really can't say how delighted I am that I got to meet you last weekend, or shall we say, before you were famous! Congrats, Marie, and best of luck with everything. Warmly, LC.
Lauren--What a treat to find you here! It was a pleasure to meet you too, after hearing your praises sung so often, and I look forward to more socializing in the future. Who knows? There may even be a treat from your beloved Naka-Meguro on the horizon . . .
I'm just now catching up on blogs. Congratulations! This is wonderful!

And your novel sounds so interesting; I can't wait to read it!
Sorry to send you back in time commenting here but your privacy seems safely concealed. I'm going to be in the states through the end of the year and figure now is the best time to pick up a copy of The Book. Do you happen to know which shops in San Francisco have been stocking it, so that I might find a copy without dirtying my shoes in a chain or stuffing Amazon's pockets?

Now it's occurring to me I will need to check comments on this post for the foreseeable future.
I loved your book and didn't want it to end.

I hope you are writing another one!
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