Thank you to the Santa Fe Writers Project 2015 Literary Awards Program for selecting my manuscript out of nearly 500 entries for their short list!
Of course, I was hoping to win. Nevertheless, I am very thrilled with this honor. Especially since I never intended to write a book.
This is part of the magic and mystery of writing. A writer does not necessarily know where the writing will go. I started writing vignettes and personal essays about my life in Honolulu because, while many people have written about these islands, most have been white visitors, not local residents immersed in the culture. Hawai’i-born writers have been published for sure, but they are as scarce as outrigger canoes in the Pacific Northwest.
Authors Kiana Davenport, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Garrett Hongo, Sharon Hashimoto and Nora Okja Keller have represented Hawaii’s voices that are authentic. Prominent authors like James Jones, James Michener, Joan Didion, and Mark Twain have voiced their perspectives as outsiders about the islands. When I read their essays and books, I didn’t see myself or the local community in their words. I feel that no one can understand and appreciate my homeland without understanding the people who live there.
As an island girl born and raised there, I wanted to share what it was like to grow up in three cultures: Chinese, American, and Hawaiian. And so, The Lava Never Sleeps: A Honolulu Memoir About Being Lost and Found evolved and came into being.
Comments from other book contests:
Clear, compelling, and original. I loved this story of East meets west in Hawai ‘i. The writing was compelling and easy to follow. (2015 Pacific Northwest Writers Assn. Literary Contest)
With a lovingly evocative setting, this manuscript is a delight to read. Characterization is strong, as as the atmosphere created. The author has a rare voice… (2014 Memoir Discovery Contest)
I am encouraged by these words and will continue to seek a publishing home for my manuscript. Book contests offer one avenue; I am exploring other opportunities as well. It’s all part of a writer’s journey.