Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Patricia Kiyono here today and she’s talking about her newest release! And I must say it does sound interesting! Check it out!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Lisa!
The Samurai’s Garden is a project I started in the summer of 2005, just after I retired from my full-time teaching job. I had just learned from my mother that when her family researched the background of the Japanese American man she intended to marry, they found Dad had descended from a shogun! I started reading about the Japanese feudal system and quickly became intrigued by these warriors, and the samurai soldiers who fought for them. I learned that the entire class of people was eliminated suddenly when Emperor Meiji began his rein in 1870 and I wondered how these people coped with such an abrupt change. And as any author will tell you, the question “what if…” is the start of any good story!
As I wrote, Hiromasa Tanaka emerged as the consummate hero—larger than life, with a strong sense of justice and compassion for those less fortunate. Hanako Shimizu is a subsistence farmer with a distrust of former samurai soldiers (known as “ronin” or masterless samurai) because her farm was raided by a band of unscrupulous men the previous fall – men who had previously sworn to uphold the samurai code of ethics known as the Bushido. Hiro is disgusted by the rogue ronin’s acts and vows to help her restore her lands and improve her standard of living.
The Bushido (translated, it means “the Way of the Warrior”) is a series of tenets that each samurai swore to uphold. They include justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, honesty, honor, loyalty and self-control. I found several books and websites about this code of ethics. Most of them are characteristics we find attractive in a hero. Think of the heroes in our favorite stories from any setting or genre – the gruff but gentle cowboy, the fiery but passionate vigilante, the brooding cop. All adhere to a “code” of some kind whether it’s written or unwritten. It’s a strong sense of right and wrong, and they live their lives according to that code.
I fell in love with the hero, the setting, and the people in my make-believe village in rural Japan. Of course, life often gets in the way of large plans, and since I’d never published a book before, the writing project was put away in favor of other things. I’d pull it out once in a while, especially when I joined a critique group that forced me to keep plugging away at the manuscript. I even managed to write a short story about Hiromasa’s four times great-grandson, Andy Tanaka, and The Legacy was accepted for publication in July of 2011 as part of the Japan Relief anthology. That really inspired me to finally complete this story, and I am so thrilled with the entire experience at Astraea Press. I hope you enjoy the result.
Here’s the book blurb for The Samurai’s Garden:
Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan’s feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido. Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.
Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers. The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild but has no money and no prospects—except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.
When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband’s cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay. Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro’s past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.
This time, he’s fighting from the heart.
Thanks Patty for sharing your new release with us! I’ve definitely got this book on my TBR Pile!