A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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A Second Chance Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

 

A Second Chance JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Second Chance by Walt Mussell, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


A Second Chance

Title: A Second Chance
Author: Walt Mussell
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction with Christian, romantic, and fantasy (time travel) elements

Kira Sakamichi is a career-driven woman, trying to achieve success before her mother's constant interference sentences her to a relationship. But when a grudging drive to meet her mother's latest "selection" ends in a lake accident, Kira wakes up lost in the past, the concubine of a 16th-century samurai, and mother to his six-year-old son. 

When actions in battle lead to the samurai's condemnation, Kira learns that she and her son will share the samurai's fate. Only by understanding the importance of duty and family in both time periods can they survive.

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Walt Mussell 

Walt Mussell is an award-winning author who primarily writes historical fiction with a focus on medieval Japan, an interest he gained in the four years he lived there. You can connect with Walt via his website www.waltmussell.com (please use the contact form to be added to the newsletter) or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

CONNECT WITH WALT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter



Welcome Walt! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and allow my readers a chance to get to know you and your new book A Second Chance.

I like to start these interviews the same way, with something fun to break the ice. Can you share 5 random facts about you that we will not find in your bio?

1)    -My wife went out with me because I had a horrible Japanese pick-up line.
I met my wife in Japan. (We met by accident, which is separate story). When I asked her out, she thought my Japanese pick-up line lame for someone who had been in Japan for as long as I had. Her initial thought was, Three years in this country and that’s the best he can do?  However, she concluded that my horrible line meant I obviously didn’t spend my weekends hitting on Japanese girls and was, therefore, probably a decent guy.

2)    -When I visited Thailand, a guy offered me his daughter’s hand in marriage.
I spent a week in Thailand in ’93. When I was there, street vendors called out to tourists in English to get them to shop. When vendors tried to get my attention, I would respond in Japanese to get them to leave me alone. This worked in Bangkok. However, I tried this in Phuket (the “h” is silent) and a vendor jokingly told me off in Japanese. (He had spent two years in Japan working in a manufacturing job and sending money back home.) I ended up spending time with him and his family. They shared their lunch with me and then the vendor let me know that his daughter was of “marriageable age,” if I was interested.

3)   -My first book was a humorous collection of vignettes about marriage. It was turned down numerous times.
I called it, “Honey, You’re Annoying Me: Coping with Irritating Man-erisms.” A few of the vignettes are on my blog.

4)   -My favorite movie line is from The African Queen.
At the end of the movie, when Bogart and Hepburn are about to be hung, Bogart asks the German captain to marry the two of them as a last request. The captain does so and ends the ceremony with, “I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.”

5)    My first book, The Samurai’s Heart, is sold in the gift store at Himeji Castle.
The Samurai’s Heart, set in Himeji, Japan, in the late 16th century, greatly involves Himeji Castle. The City of Himeji was kind enough to add it to the list of things sold at Himeji Castle. 

In reviewing this, I just realized that four of the above five items were marriage related. My wife and I have been married for over 26 years.


When did you first discover you had talent for writing?

I used to live in Portland. While there, I did an email newsletter for my alumni group in the area. A lot of alumni found it funny and suggested I should try writing.


What drew you to historical fiction?

It took a while. I finally started writing after we moved from Portland to Atlanta in 2006. I finished the nonfiction book on marriage in 2007 and joined a writer’s group, Georgia Romance Writers, with the hope of getting it published. Because of the group’s influence, I began trying fiction. I’ve always loved history. However, my initial attempts were contemporary works.

In 2008, we made a family trip to Japan to see friends and relatives. We visited Himeji Castle, which is the best-known castle in Japan. Castles in Japan are decorated with tiles under the eaves to protect against fire, flood, earthquakes, etc. Himeji Castle, though, has a tile with a cross. From the 17th century through the 19th century, Japan went through a period where every Christian symbol in the country was destroyed. For some reason, the cross was left untouched.

I had visited Himeji Castle numerous times prior to the visit in 2008 and I had seen the cross before. However, on this trip, I remember reading the plaque at the castle that said the cross’s origin is unknown. I became taken with the cross and decided I needed to give it a story. That story is The Samurai’s Heart. I’ve been indulging my love of history ever since.

Your interest in medieval Japan first began during your time living there. Can you tell us about that experience and what drew you to the topic?

I went to Japan in July 1990 after I finished grad school. During the 80s, Japan was seen as having the driving economic model in the world, and I became interessted with what was going on. I had professors in undergrad and grad school who did what they could to help me to learn more about the country. However, I decided I needed a better understanding of Japanese culture in general, so I moved to Japan to learn more. I worked there for four years. In my travels and sightseeing, I eventually fell in love with Japan’s medieval history.

What was the most challenging part of bringing this story to life? The most rewarding?

There are two challenging parts. The first is the same challenge I have in all my works: I struggle with female POVs. I’m always worried it doesn’t sound like a woman. (I make sure to have female beta readers.) The second challenge was the time travel aspect. It’s one thing to present a historical setting when all of the characters are from that setting. It’s a different challenge when you’re having a contemporary person go back in time. It changes things like the character’s reactions, internal metaphors, and how the character interacts with others.

The most rewarding thing was helping my main character, Kira, connect with those around her in the short time she had. I also loved that, as my character was discovering her new world, I was able to talk about the simple things and bring those out to readers.

Can you tell us a little bit more about A Second Chance?

By asking for “a little bit more,” I’m assuming you mean beyond the premise featured on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

I refer to A Second Chance as “Quantum Leap meets medieval Japan.” If you remember the premise of the TV show, the main character goes back in time and makes right something that went wrong. That’s what happens here. My main character, Kira Sakamichi, travels from 21st century U.S. to 16th century Japan, and discovers she’s a concubine in the house of a condemned samurai. She eventually realizes that she is there to set something right but doesn’t know what that is. Also, whatever the resolution, Kira understands she is still on a path towards death. Her only hope is belief in family and being willing to face her own fears.

I did reach out to Scott Bakula, the star from Quantum Leap, for a cover quote, but no luck.

What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

Several things. I hope the readers identify with the emotions (such as love, fear, and hopelessness) that Kira, my main character, goes through during the story. For those new to Japanese settings, I hope they will feel like they were there and want to learn more about the time period. I also hope they learn there were Christian missionaries in Japan during this time. The mid-16th to mid-17th century in Japan is referred to as Japan’s Christian century, but that is a piece of history few know about. (I have five videos on YouTube talking about this and also give lectures to churches on the subject.)  

I’ve also got a sequel bubbling in my head, so I hope readers will want to read the next installment. 😊

Thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions. Before you go, are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can share?

I have two other projects going on. The first is The Samurai’s Soul. It is the sequel to my book, The Samurai’s Heart, and takes place about 18 months after the first book. The draft is written, but I am not yet comfortable in publishing it. It needs another rewrite (or two).  The second project is a novel set in first century India and is called The Elephant’s Secret.  It’s another completed draft not ready for publishing. It’s different from Japan but allows me to create a work of historical fiction centered around Thomas, my favorite apostle.  



(1) winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card! If the winner is Canadian, the winner can request Tim Horton's!

A Second Chance JustRead Blog Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 31, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 7, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m completely enthralled and really looking forward to reading about Kira! I love the story about your wife agreeing to go out with you!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I learned more about Walt today than I have in the years I've known him. Great interview. And Randi, are you GO ARMY? or GO NAVY???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina, my husband is currently Army National Guard and has been for about 5 years now, but was active duty Marine Corps for 12 years before that, so we definitely consider ourselves more of a Marine Corps family still :)

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  3. Randi, thank you for the interview. I hope your readers find my answers interesting.
    - Walt Mussell

    ReplyDelete

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