Today we're excited to chat with Kathleen Burkinshaw, author of The Last Cherry Blossom! Below
you'll find our interview,
more about Kathleen, and her book, plus a
Meet THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM!
Yuriko is happy growing up in Hiroshima when it's just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan's fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden from its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and air raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the atomic bomb hits Hiroshima, it's through Yuriko's twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw's mother's first-hand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima,The Last Cherry Blossomhopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding readers that the "enemy" in any war is often not so different from ourselves.
YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book?
My family and I visited Hiroshima last year to honor my mom at the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims and met with the librarians there. We found out that my mother was actually closer to the epicenter than she had told us. It was truly a miracle she survived.
Also, how long your body can go on just crispy rice treats and chocolate during revisions :)
YABC: If you could live in any fantasy world, which one would it be?
YABC: Do you have a mantra that gets you through the drafting phase?
“Just one more page.”
YABC: What is your favorite hobby when you're not writing?
If not hanging out with my family, any craft involving a glue gun!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
The main character, Yuriko. Because she was based on my mother, it took me a while to figure out how to describe her as a 12-year-old, not the person I knew as my mom. So once I began describing Yuriko as a fictional young girl in Japan, it was easier to then sprinkle some of my mother’s personality traits in the mix.
YABC: Do you enjoy writing to music? If so, do you have a go-to playlist?
Actually, I really need quiet when I write.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes, FIGHT THE FLAME 5k. This organization started in Charlotte, NC three years ago, and raises awareness of and funds for researching Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD). RSD is a severely disabling degenerative chronic pain & neuro-inflammatory disorder that I have lived with for the past 15 years.
YABC: What's a book that you've read recently that you would recommend to your readers?
UP FROM THE SEA, by Leza Lowitz: about a teen boy dealing with the aftermath from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan. Also any of the Sweet Sixteen Debut author’s books-all the ARCs I have read are fantastic!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising - not the deadline part of it though :)
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
The ability to go down the rabbit hole of research and turn what should have taken an hour into 5 hours. Definitely a power one must use wisely. :)
Meet Kathleen Burkinshaw!
Kathleen BurkinshawwroteThe Last Cherry Blossombased on her own mother’s story of growing up in Hiroshima during World War II. She was twelve years old when the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. Kathleen lives with her husband and daughter in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Five winners will each receive a copy of THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM (US & Canada only).
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*