It is no secret that we at Badass love Sophie Littlefield’s books. You can see our reviews of of her books here (Aftertime, Rebirth, Horizon, Bad Day for Pretty, Bad Day for Sorry, Bad Day for Scandal, Bad Day for Mercy, Blood Bond), our interview with her here and her guest blog post here. Because we are so excited about her new novel, we invited Sophie Littlefield to interview with us again.
We are giving away a paperback copy of Garden of Stones to one lucky reader. Please go to the bottom of this blog post to enter! Prizes will only be sent to a US or Canadian address.
Regina: Garden of Stones is a shift in genre and style from your earlier books and series, was it difficult to switch gears and write such a different book from your other works?
Sophie: I’ve always found it a great pleasure to be able to move among different genres and, to some extent, voices. I find that trying new things keeps me fresh for every project and forces me to grow as an author.
Regina: What was the inspiration for Garden of Stones?
Sophie: I was traveling with my best friend, fellow author Juliet Blackwell, when she casually mentioned that some of the Japanese internment camps were located here in California during World War II. I knew very little about the subject, but that conversation spurred me to learn more. A quick survey on the internet taught me the basics and introduced me to the photographic record left by some of the great photographers of that era (Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange), but once I began reading historical accounts, I was hooked.
I knew that I wanted to write about a female protagonist, and more specifically a parent, especially once I learned about how the camp was experienced by families.
And finally, I wanted to use a crime as an axis on which to turn the rest of the story. I was playing around with different ways to do that when I came up with the idea that a crime would take place years after WWII that would raise questions about what happened in Manzanar.
Regina: What sort of historical research did you do in preparing to write Garden of Stones?
Sophie: I have a whole shelf full of books on the subject, ranging from straight history to fiction to collections of photography to memoirs, written both for kids and adults. I also used the internet to find camp newspapers, blueprints, and maps. Even thought the book is now completed, I’m still very interested in the subject and keep an eye out for opportunities to learn more. I just read a wonderful young adult novel called WEEDFLOWER by Cynthia Kadohata, which has become one of my favorite fictionalized accounts of internment.
I visited Manzanar, which is now a National Historic Site where they have recreated watchtowers, barracks and other camp buildings to give visitors a sense of what the internees experienced. It was very moving, especially as I walked among the ruins of the camp, and was able to find the outlines of the rock gardens for which the book is named. (You can learn more about the site here http://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm). I’ve also had the opportunity to see several museum exhibits on internment. Among my favorites is a small museum in the town of Independence, which is about 15 miles north of Manzanar. They have a great collection of memorabilia from the camp, including letters, art, and jewelry, furniture and clothing made by the internees.
Regina: What readers will be interested in Garden of Stones?
Sophie: So far, I’ve been very pleased with the reception it has received from a variety of readers. Since it is a Target Book Club Pick, I think it’s well suited for book club readers, but I’ve also had advance readers from the mystery and young adult and romance communities who have enjoyed it.
Regina: What projects are you working on right now — any hints?
Sophie: Thank you for asking! I just turned in the revisions for my next book for Mira, which is being edited by Erika Imranyi, who worked on GARDEN OF STONES along with my former editor Adam Wilson. I’m really excited about it, and Erika gave me some great direction for the revision. It’s about a contemporary family in an affluent suburb who experience a break-in that goes terribly wrong, and how the events that follow alter all their relationships.
Thank you for having me, Regina!
Regina: Thank you for joining us and sharing your thoughts on writing! We are always excited to see you here:) Okay, now the details on this fabulous new book.
Garden of Stones is released on February 26th, here is a summary from Goodreads:
Win a print paperback copy of Garden of Stones! Play Here!
*please note we can only ship to US and Canadian addresses*
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