A Little Girl’s Story Growing Up in Japan
Asian Fusion interviews author Lilli Liell
LL: I wanted something that would grab your attention. So I used elements from the book to entice you to want to know more. The book tells the story of my mother’s life between the ages of nine and eleven. She grew up in Kumamoto, Japan. Kumamoto is located in the southern tip of the southern most island, Kyushu. Kumamoto is east of the city of Nagasaki.
AF: What inspired/motivated you to write the book?
LL: Last year my father was the Grand Marshall of the Memorial Day Parade in Staten Island. It was a very proud day for the family. The day also reminded me that we had grown up listening to my father’s experiences during the Korean War. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in battle and the Bronze Star for his heroic efforts in trying to help a wounded soldier. I thought again about the telling of his stories and how they were part of his healing process. We all hear so much about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in relation to soldiers. However, we forget that civilians, particularly children, also suffer from PTSD. There is not much focus on this aspect of war. We also grew up listening to my mother telling stories about growing up in Japan during WWII between the ages of 9 and 11. I only recently realized that her telling of these stories was also part of her healing process….a process that lasts a lifetime. It was then that I realized how important it was for me to record her story.
AF: Did you have a specific audience in mind?
LL: Originally my planned audience was my mother and family. Then I asked a number of friends who are educators to review what I had written. It was their response to the story that made me think that it was an important story that could help children have a better understanding about what children go through in a war.
AF: With the publication of “Grasshoppers, Ants and Bombs: Tamie’s War”, are there plans to write another book, or perhaps a sequel?
LL: No. No other books are planned. However, in speaking to my siblings after they each read the book I found that there were stories that my mother shared with them that I had never heard. I am the oldest of six children-five girls and one boy. It occurred to me that although we all shared the same mother, depending on our ages our mother shared stories that would have been relevant in specific situations that I would not have been part of because I was already grown and working while my siblings were still young enough to still be home to hear more stories. So I do plan on gathering my siblings and ask them to share stories that I did not include in my book. So….maybe a sequel.
AF: Lastly, please tell us where our readers can purchase your book!
LL: Gladly! My book is available at: http:// bookstore.archwaypublishing.com /Products/SKU-000986179/grasshoppers-ants-and-bombs-tamies-war.aspx