I recently got to do an interview with Alice J. Wisler and it was such fun putting it together. Alice is a great author, and I highly recommend her book, Rain Song, to everyone! It's a beautiful story - overflowing with witty humor and simple elegance. I wrote a book review for Rain Song and you can read it here: newreleasetuesday.com
You lived in Japan for 18 years. What was it like living there?
- I loved my childhood in Japan--crowded train rides to school, buying octopus and seaweed treats from the street vendor, soaking in an ofuro (large, hot bath), eating bean paste ice cream bought at the corner store, sailing on Lake Nojiri every summer, and riding the cable cars up and down Maya Mountain. My parents were Presbyterian missionaries, so we went to church a lot!
When did you start writing?
- Long before they put a man on the moon, before everyone had a color TV, and when PCs were not even a glimmer in Bill Gates' eye.
What is Writing the Heartache? How did it get started?
- This is the grief-writing course that I teach both online and in person. The online course last five weeks (more info is at my website: www.alicewisler.com) and when I teach it as a workshop at a conference, it can be condensed to fit smaller time slots. Writing was beneficial and healing for me right after the death of my 4-year-old son, Daniel, in 1997. I believe it is a God-given gift for health, healing, and hope. Therefore, I encourage others to write through their pain.
Your two cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle, are dedicated to your son, Daniel. Did it help writing about what happened?
- The two cookbooks hold recipes and memories of children who have died, including my son Daniel. Compiling both books was therapeutic. There are some great recipes in there for toffee bars, spaghetti, shrimp creole and even frog-eye salad.
For my birthday last year, I received your book, Rain Song. I found it to be one of my favorite books! Can you tell me how it came to be?
- I'm so glad that you were given a copy of Rain Song! Rain Song (which was originally titled--The Kimono Lady Sings) was a work-in-progress for a few years. I kept going back to it because the story-line intrigued me. I used to grow bored with my stories, so the fact that Rain Song kept me wanting to write, was amazing. Rain Song takes place in Mount Olive, NC, and has a Japan connection, like I do. I enjoyed flavoring the novel with bits of Japanese culture.
You have a new book, Hatteras Girl, coming out this year. When does it release? Could you give us a glimpse of what it’s about?
- Hatteras Girl, my third novel, makes her debut in October. Jackie, the main character, wants to own a bed and breakfast in Nags Head, NC, as well as meet the right man, but obstacles get in her way. Even so, as these obstacles are dealt with, Jackie gets closer to her dreams coming true. Rain Song is about taking risks, How Sweet It Is (second novel) is about forgiveness, and Hatteras Girl is about waiting for, and believing in your dreams.
I heard you have another novel in the works. Since your other novels take place in North Carolina, would I be correct in assuming the next one does as well?
- Yes! A Wedding Invitation takes place in Winston-Salem, NC, and is about second chances. I used to work at a refugee camp in the Philippines, and this novel will borrow from that part of my life, with flashbacks to the main character's days there.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
- During the summer months, I enjoy riding on our powerboat named Rain Song. I also like to cook, plan novel-related parties, and travel.
What advice do you have for people who want to become writers?
- Don't give up! Learn the craft well. Improve your grammar and vocabulary. And practice, practice, practice!
Alice, thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I look forward to reading more of your books.
Facebook Fan Page: Alice J. Wisler