Why did you write the book?
I have worked a series of unfulfilling jobs. I never had a great idea on how to direct my career so every year I’d make a long list of my likes, email it to my friends, and insist they pick a job or career for me. Obviously, it didn’t work because the following year, I’d do it again. The last time I did this, my sister stated the obvious. “Why don’t you combing your love of cats, Japan, food, travel, and writing and write a book about those things?” So that’s how the concept of Whiskers Abroad was born, by combining some of my passions. Originally I was going to make it a spy novel in Japan with a cat as the spy, but then decided to write about what I know, traveling in Japan as a tourist.
What was your biggest surprise or aha moment when writing your book?
When I realized I was actually going to complete the book. I’m notorious for starting projects and then never completing them. Herb Alpert music video? Some footage shot but never edited. Cookbook for my friend? Recipes written and tested but never put into book form. Learn to train parakeets? Parakeets check, training, not so much. However, this one felt different. I knew I had to write it, and I had to complete it. Plus, I had my sister demanding pages from me. She kept me on track.
Who is your ideal audience for the book?
People who love to travel. People who love Japan. People who love to read. People who love cats. Now make a Venn diagram and the intersection point would be the “ideal” audience. Honestly, though, they don’t have to intersect. Someone who loves cats would like cat antics and photos, and people who want to travel to Japan will find it fascinating and hopefully, inspiring. If you like light-hearted and fun, that person might be a great audience for the book.
Tell us, how do you deal with fear?
The best way to deal with fear is to face it, acknowledge it, and deal with it. Otherwise, it’ll drag you down. Of course, I know that’s easy to talk about, harder to actually do, but it’s what I attempt to do.
Tell us, how do you deal with rejection?
If you are talking about manuscript rejection from publishers, I shrug it off. I tell myself my manuscript probably was the wrong fit, or the wrong person reviewed it. I mark it down in my excel spread as a no, and then continue on with my submission. I like to look at it as a response from a publisher, even a “no,” as a sign they thought it had enough merit to warrant a response.
Tell us two concepts or ideas you want the reader to takeaway.
Be open to new places, foods, and experiences, and then go do them. Even the seemingly mundane might have a life-altering impact. An example from the book is when Ashi eats ramen for the first time. It’s just noodle soup, but the tastes are mind-blowing and change his perspective on what a meal should be. There are multiple perspectives on events. This is demonstrated in the book since you get Audrey’s view of what happened and Ashi’s views. They don’t have the same opinions or something even the same memories of what happened.
Name one of the biggest challenges you have faced writing your book and how did you overcome it?
Finding the time to write. The free time was there, but I made excuses for not utilizing it for writing. Finally my sister told me to write my two crappy sentences every day. I could definitely find time to do that. I carved out 30 minutes in the morning before I headed to work to sit down with my cat and write my two sentences. Sometimes I was lucky and wrote more. Before I knew it, I had a complete manuscript.
What’s a personal self-talk, mantra, affirmation, or self-belief that contributes to your success?
“Just have fun with it!” This was advice given to me from my screenwriting teacher. He’s right, when you have fun with whatever you are writing, whether its creating a nasty villian or having a cat charm his way into a business class upgrade, the reader has fun with it too.
How can people contact you?
They can reach me at email@example.com or contact my publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org