Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, a small town where she could escape into the surrounding forest to read. Ink is her first novel and The Paper Gods series is inspired by her time living in Osaka and traveling throughout Japan.
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A MAGIC MIGHTIER THAN ANY SWORD A DESTINY THAT CAN’T BE DENIED
Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum’s death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they’re near each other, Tomohiro’s drawings start to come to life…
Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth.
Katie Greene Character Interview
Following a family tragedy, Katie Greene had to move in with her aunt, Diane, who lives the other side of the world in Japan. Today she’ll be telling us a little more about what that’s been like for her, and even lets me quiz her about Tomohiro. He’s the star of her new school’s kendo team…he’s also moody, and has a secret which if the wrong people were to learn of, could endanger them both.
Hi Katie, thanks so much for taking the time out to speak with me today.
Hi. Thanks so much for having me. *smooths out skirt* It feels kinda weird to be speaking English again, if that makes sense.
So what would you say has been the biggest challenge for you in adjusting to life in Japan?
Honestly? Day-to-day life. Like, I never had to get up this early to make it to school back in New York. I didn’t have to go into school for club meetings on Saturdays, or empty the garbage bins in the classroom. I make a lot of mistakes like hugging friends when I shouldn’t, or calling people by their first name instead of their last. It’s confusing and I keep breaking rules I don’t even know about. My friends are really great, and my aunt, Diane, helps me out a lot, but it’s hard getting used to everything.
Could you tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
Okay, so, my mom was a single parent and a journalist. Things were pretty intense for her, so every summer Nan would give her a break by having me stay with her in Deep River. It’s this little town in the middle of nowhere, on the banks of—ready?—a deep river. I had this great group of friends up there. One time, we swam across the river at midnight, in our clothes and everything. It was so hot out, and we just jumped into the cool water and swam across. Then we lay on the beach and looked up at the stars.
I got in so much trouble with Nan when I got home sopping wet and sandy! *laughs* But I felt like anything was possible in that moment. I felt like something was waiting for me, but I didn’t know what. After that I felt restless all the time. But now that I’m in Japan I’m…learning things about myself I didn’t know before. And I think I’m starting to unravel where my life is going, you know? It’s scary, but it’s better than feeling as lost as I did when Mom died.
I can’t even begin to imagine how much you’ve had to handle, and it seems you’ve taken on even more with Tomohiro. I mean, you two didn’t meet under the best of circumstances. Why of all the boys, was he the one you fell for?
At first, I didn’t really understand it. There was something in him that drew me in. He was a jerk, and I wanted to ignore him, but…I saw something I couldn’t explain in his art. *looks nervous* I mean, it’s nothing. But the thing is, I discovered that he’d lost his mom too. And I was such a wreck over losing my mom. I never knew my dad, and Nan couldn’t take me in. I felt so lost. When I heard Tomo had been through the same, I was desperate for answers. How could I cope with the pain I was feeling? How could I stop hurting all the time? And he got it. He didn’t tell me all the lame things the people at Mom’s funeral told me, stuff like “she’s in a better place” and “time heals all wounds.” He just let me be me.
Honestly, I think there’s something more that draws us together, now. I feel like something inside me is reaching out for him, something that isn’t really me. I guess that sounds weird. Actually, never mind. It’s nothing.
And, is there anything you would change about Tomohiro?
Because of what he’s been through in his life, he’s built a lot of barriers around himself. I know that all he wants is to be normal, to be liked at school and have friends. I mean, he is liked. He’s admired for his kendo and all that, but I think, really, he just wants to be normal. I don’t think he wants to be a jerk all the time. That really isn’t who he is, and I’ve seen that. So, I wish he could have that kind of life and just be himself at school. I wish things could be different for him.
It seems to me that your stay in Japan’s really got you thinking about your values in life. Like you said, you’re going through a process of unraveling where you’re life’s going. Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers?
Try to remember to take your school slippers off before you head home. *laughs* Mortifying. But honestly? Just keep going in life, because there’s more that’s meant for you. I think we all feel the same way when we stare at the stars at night—we want to matter, you know? And I think we do. But we have to run toward what we want, because it isn’t going to just come knock on your door. And you can’t be afraid, even when there are answers you might not really want to know. You can’t move on if you don’t face your fears. At least, that’s what I’ve found for me.