Inspired by her grandparents' wartime courtship letters, Kristina McMorris penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home (March 2011, Kensington Books and Avon/HarperCollins UK). Praised as "a sweeping debut" by Publishers Weekly, this award-winning book was a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild alternate selection, and 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction.
Previously, Kristina owned a wedding/event planning company and served as a weekly TV host for twelve years, starting with an Emmy Award-winning program at age nine. Her works of fiction have garnered nearly twenty national literary awards, including two nominations for the highly coveted Golden Heart®. For her diverse accomplishments, she has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal.
BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES
(2-28-12, Kensington Books and Avon/HarperCollins UK)
In spite of her Julliard ambitions and family's wishes, violinist Maddie Kern secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. When her beloved Lane is evacuated to an internment camp, she dares to remain at his side. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.
Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris delivers an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit.
"Readers of World War II fiction will devour [this] poignant, authentic story of Japanese and American lovers crossed not only by the stars but by the vagaries of war and their own country's prejudices."
-- Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
"An unputdownable love story…[McMorris'] attention to detail is meticulous, the East meets West clash between cultures -- revelatory."
-- Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Good Graces
“Impeccably researched and beautifully written...I highly recommend this book!”
-- Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Beach Trees
Click here to read an excerpt.
Definitely Christmas! Aside from the shopping madness, I love everything about the season: sugar-cookie-decorating contests with my kids, an annual holiday brunch with friends, the tree lighting and music, and, of course, movie classics like "It's a Wonderful Life."
What’s the first book you remember reading?
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Do you believe in ghosts?
As strange as it sounds, my parents' previous home, which I grew up in, was haunted for a short time. So, to your question, I'd have to say yes.
Oh, I am going to have to hear about that ghost the next time we see each other! What’s next for you as an author?
I'm currently finishing a novella that will appear in Fern Michael's 2012 Christmas anthology, and then I'll be diving into the first of my next two contracted novels for Kensington Books.
What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
The most comprehensive survivors' handbook ever written.
Would you rather sky dive or scuba dive?
Even if I weren't a certified scuba diver, I would never choose the first option. I just can't imagine having the desire, as they say, to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Oh, I really wish I could write to music! It sounds like much more fun than typing in a quiet room, which is the only way I can be productive.
What’s your favorite desert?
Tiramisu. My husband and I are on a perpetual hunt for the best tiramisu in the world.
Strawberry daiquiri or a beer?
Strawberry daiquiri. I've never understood the attraction to the taste of beer, which is why the concept of O'Doul's confuses me even more.
What sound or noise do you love?
That's an easy one—the sound of my kids giggling at each other.
GOTTA ASK -- GOTTA ANSWER
|Kristina doing research|
What’s the most interesting or exciting thing you’ve experienced while researching your books?
Interviewing WWII vets, especially Japanese Americans who secretly served as code breakers and interrogators against Japan, was amazing. But the most fun experience was flying in the nose gunner's seat of a restored B-17 bomber.
KRISTINA ASKS READERS:
Since I spend much of my writing time pondering people from the '40s, I'd love to know which figure(s) from history—famous or not—you'd love to have chatted with over dinner. A person of great inspiration perhaps? Or maybe someone you would have laughed with all evening?
Kristina is offering a signed copy of BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES for one lucky commenter!
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH KRISTINA HERE: