Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ANNOUNCING: Beyond Paradise

Back from Thanksgiving vacation and now I'm ready to climb another mountain.

Yes, I've put another book on-line. Beyond Paradise was my first venture into publishing. I remember when I got the call from my editor Rosemary Brosnan at Morrow Junior Books. It was weird. I've now learned that no one gets accepted out of the slush pile (according to my friend Esther Hershenhorn of SCBWI fame). Maybe the fact that this was 11 years ago accounts for the phenomena.

Fantastic!

I signed a contract, I celebrated, I waited. Pretty much hot dogs have a longer shelf life.

Part of the problem was that Morrow got bought out by Harper (is it Harper Collins, Harper & Bros, or simply Rupert Murdoch?). Anyway, my baby, the work of my hands, the thing I had gone over and over again with my editor--let alone revised numerous times on my own--got remaindered. Remaindered without the chance for me to buy back at a reduced rate author copies (THOUGH IT WAS IN THE CONTRACT).

So today I upload, celebrate, and make pennies on the dollar--BUT STILL I'm not complaining. I only wish I had more books to put on-line.

Beyond Paradise is about a young girl, Louise Keller, who travels with her missionary family to the Philippines on the eve of Pearl Harbor. At first the country seems like paradise, but soon Louise and her family are captured by the Japanese and forced to live in internment camps. 
"How would you like to go to paradise?" asks Louise Keller's father, a Baptist minister who has accepted a position as a missionary on the small island of Panay. Fourteen-year-old Louise, a writer of poetry who chafes at small-town life, is eager for the change. But the new experiences Louise has dreamed of soon turn nightmarish: when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, the war, which had seemed so far away, rapidly threatens their island existence.

This unusual first novel is based on true accounts of the imprisonment of American citizens in Japanese detention camps in the Philippines during World War II.
Here is a small Thanksgiving excerpt from the book:


Our Thanksgiving meal was a banquet for poor, hungry eyes and also a feast for our empty stomachs. When we entered the small cookhouse, we discovered a turkey on a platter. Our “turkey” was a large squash called a camote, something like a sweet potato. This camote was naturally shaped like the torso of a turkey. The neck was the stem. Long bananas fastened on with copper wire stuck out like legs, and the turkey’s wings were made of slices of camote. Surrounding the “turkey” on a platter were red beans and rice, which looked almost like dressing.
The camote turkey was just a centerpiece. There was real meat with vegetables and fruits, donated by friends outside the camp. For a week the women cooked over an open fire in the afternoons, preparing one thousand pieces of chocolate-coconut fudge so that each of the 146 internees could take several pieces back to their rooms.
Mother and I ate on the verandah with Ann, Frank, and the girls. It was the closest I’d felt to home in a long time.

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