Our resident hound asked, “If you could be remembered (as an author) for only ONE of your books… which book would you choose? Why that one?”
In the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate to have sixteen stories published through various publishers. The stories range from short stories included in anthologies to full-length novels of 70,000 words. Two were written with co-author Stephanie Michels. But the story that remains closest to my heart is the one that took me over seven years to complete. Writing and publishing The Samurai’s Garden was a monumental task for me, because I started it while still working full-time, had two children at home, and was basically learning how to write fiction. But I was able to keep going because the story was so important to me. My father’s death in 2009 spurred me to complete it, and Astraea Press (now Clean Reads) published the story in 2012. I dedicated the book to my dad, who was one of the most honorable men I’ve known, illustrating the tenets of the Bushido, or the moral code of the samurai.
The Samurai’s Garden was my first full-length published novel, and it was truly the novel of my heart. It’s based on stories I’d heard about my heritage, sprinkled with conjecture about what some of my ancestors might have had to live through. I set the story in the part of Japan that my paternal grandmother came from, but it’s my paternal grandfather whose family claims to have a samurai among their ancestors. I had plans to continue the story of Hiromasa Tanaka’s family through several generations and end with a current day descendant, but for some reason I’ve been pulled into other historical eras, particularly English regencies, and now I’m not certain the fire is in me to continue the saga.
Amazon shows 105 ratings for The Samurai’s Garden, and 86 percent give the book four or five stars. I’m pleased that the general reaction is good, but that’s not the primary reason for my choice. Even though I tend to put a little bit of myself in one or two characters of each story I write, whether it’s a physical characteristic, a hobby, or a basic belief, almost every character (other than the villain) in The Samurai’s Garden contains a bit of me. So in effect, this is a story about me – or at least, the me I want to be. It’s definitely the me I want people to remember.
What would you choose as your legacy?