Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kristina McMorris

Today I'm thrilled to have Kristina McMorris back for another chat and the celebrate the release of her latest novel, BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES.


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.

(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.

Advance Praise:
"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.


What’s your favorite holiday?
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.

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.


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!




  1. I am so interested in your book! The time around this war is one of my favorites and there is not a lot of good fiction about it. We still have our parents letters to each other from this time, but find them difficult to read. Did your grand parents number their letters?

    1. How wonderful that you still have their letters! My grandpa's letters aren't numbered, but they're dated, so they can be put back in order. :)

  2. What a stunning cover!

    I'd love to have dinner with Cary Grant, Marie Curie, and with a nod to the war my grandfather fought in and my home state of Kansas--Dwight D Eisenhower.

    Congratulations on your release!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Great choices of dinner guests!

  3. I guess to answer your question... Ernie Pyle, Hoosier War Correspondent, David Niven, my dad as a young Lt, jg. would be interesting...

  4. Good Morning Kristina and welcome back to GLIAS. DITTO what Gillian said about your covers. They are visually stunning. Love the intriguing titles, too.

    The experience in the Bomber must have been amazing. I love history.


    1. I've definitely been spoiled with an amazing cover art designer! So glad you like the titles. And yes, the B-17 ride was something I'll never forget!

  5. I have a copy ordered but if I won one...I'd give it as a gift. I have so many friends that read and I don't like to part with my special books.

    1. Thanks for already ordering a copy! That makes me so happy. Hope you enjoy!

  6. What a fun interview. I'd love to sit down and chat with Frederick Douglass. I read his biography as research for my novel, and his courage and perspective on life fascinates me. Can't wait to read Bridge of Scarlet Leaves!

    1. Ooh, good choice for a dinner guest. Hope you enjoy the new book!

  7. Kris ... Wish I could be there tonight, but alas, it's a ten hour drive from here in Whitefish, Montana. As it is, I have to drive three hours to the nearest B&N (or major bookstore for that matter), which I'm hoping to do sometime in the next couple of weeks ... because I WANT your book. But I want it autographed to join my autographed "Letters from Home". Hmmmm ...

    Miss all my fellow Roses!!! Hugs ~ Catherine

    PS: I know I can order on-line, but there is something so special about browsing in a bookstore with a Starbucks in hand. I'm missing that experience more than I'm missing Nordy's!!! ;-)

    Catherine Clyborne

    1. My goodness, I wouldn't expect you to drive that far! I'll miss you being there though. If you'd like a bookplate, you just say the word. xo

  8. Hi great interview, the more I learn about Kristina the more I want to know.
    Hmm who in history would I wanted to chat with, well for me it would actually happen after the war and ask one of the wives who took over the breadwinning by working at a male only job and ask her how it felt to relinquish that role back to her husband.

    1. I have no doubt those wives would have plenty to say on the topic, lol. Thanks for stopping by, Deb!

  9. I've always been fascination by WWII history, whether in literature or something else. There is something about that era that interests me. I would like to meet Anne Frank who seems like just another young girl and yet she faced such difficult circumstances.


    1. A bit cliche, but still true: during war, there are so many ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Anne Frank is definitely among them. Thanks for commenting!

  10. I'd like to have met Albert Einstein.

    1. He would be amazing to chat with....once I got over the "my-goodness-I-suddenly-feel-dumb" part. :)

  11. The day has passed in a blur! But I wanted to stop in and say THANK YOU to Maureen for having me back here.

    I love all of your answers! Best wishes on the giveaway!

  12. I think I would really enjoy this book. It's nice to have a historical aspect to the story, which helps teach people about something which they would otherwise not learn.

  13. Oops, missed the question. I would have like to have met Jack Layton, who was one of Canada's most well known and beloved politicians. Sadly, he passed away last year, far too soon. A great champion for those who were unable to fight or stand up for themselves.

  14. Oh my. Kristina is totally new to me. How interesting! Wonderful covers. The story descriptions are intriguing!!

  15. i never read kristina's book before but seems the book's story and cover so sweet ;)

  16. Hi Kristina! Love the blurb and excerpt Of your book:). I want to meet with Audrey hephburn. She is truly an inspiration:), Aretha zhen

  17. Great interview! This sounds like a very moving book.


  18. Hello Kristina !

    Your book sounds absolutely beyond incredible ! Someone from the 40 's I would have loved to have had Albert Einstein as my guest.He seemed like such a very insightfull man alltough he was also sometimes misunderstood. Thank you for the lovely giveaway !