Thursday, April 29, 2010

Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood

Oops! I forgot to post this yesterday, but here I am now.

Here is the final part of the interview with Nancy Bo Flood!

Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?

Nancy Bo Flood:

If I come back to the idea – if a character or a scene, sometimes even just a phrase - continues to haunt me. Then I must write it down to get it out of my head. Sometimes this means getting up in the night and scribbling about the characters, the scene or the dialogues to get them out of my head and onto paper.

Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?

Nancy Bo Flood: Go for a long walk. Walking or doing dishes always helps clear the mind and see “a bigger picture.” My husband likes it when the remedy is baking cookies!

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

Nancy Bo Flood: Being with my kids, my husband – and my dog – and writing. Exploring a new little corner of the world. Or researching, which I hope to be doing as you read this. I am traveling to Saipan to talk with students about Warriors then on to Japan, to Hiroshima, to talk with survivors of the War and the atomic bomb, researching Kento’s story, as he searches for his father on Japan.

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

Nancy Bo Flood: What an interesting and tough question. Funny, I thought, pen and paper and it needs to be a fine pen that writes well and will last a long time. I don’t see any rescue ships in sight. And my husband, yes, someone needs to climb the coconut tree to bring down supper!

Nancy Bo Flood:

Thank you for an exceptionally interesting interview. I hope teens, kids and parents enjoy reading Warriors in the Crossfire.

and here are the other participants in the tour that you should go check out!

Whispers of Dawn, Cafe of Dreams, The Hungry Readers, My Own Little Corner of the World,, Reading is My Superpower, 5 Minutes for Books, Becky’s Book Reviews,My Utopia

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Live Life on Purpose by Claude Hickman

This has been a slow reading month, but the few books I have read have been very good and very, very insightful.

A sentence on the back cover reads "There is only time in life for one purpose," and the book speaks to this all 206 pages. My copy is full of pencil marks, highlighting so much of the book I ought to have just underlined the whole book!

I will leave you with a few quotes:

"The reason God blessed them was not just for them. He had the end goal in mind, reaching all the nations with the message of salvation. The reason God blesses us is so that we may be a blessing to the nations" (52).

"Missions is not simply something the Bible speaks about; missions is what the Bible is about" (54).

"His [God's] desire is for a worldwide worshiping church"(56).

"The main way the unreached see the glory and character of God is through the character of His people" (84).

Quoting John Piper "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is" (96). (because worship will result in missions, missions doesn't necessarily result in worship. missions will end [when we die, and when the world ends], but worship never ends (97))

"More than 88% of the world's unreached peoples live in this area [the 10/40 window]" (125), "only 2.4% of all missionaries are located" in this window (125).

"Agreement does not equal obedience" (144).

"The reason there is a 10/40 window is Christians are busy doing great Christian things" (145).

Quoting an unknown speaker "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" (152).

From 'Christian legend' Leonard Ravenhill: "Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for" (166)?

"If God's heart is for the world, that is a big enough reason to make it our heart" (169).

"God clarifies in the midst of obedience"(179).

"The scary thing is that if you choose to walk your own journey, God will allow it, even though you waste your life"(195).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood

Welcome to day two of the book tour of Nancy Bo Flood's book Warriors in the Crossfire!

Yesterday I shared part of an interview, and I will share the rest of it tomorrow, so be sure to stop by then!

And today I will share a few quick things on what I thought about this book.

- When I first saw 'Warriors in the Crossfire' I thought 'really? how many WWII books can be written??' But Nancy Bo Flood tells a part of the story I had never heard before- an old and (somewhat) familiar topic was new and different, told from the perspective of the natives on the island of Saipan.

-At the beginning of each chapter there is a poem. If you want an example, read the last part of yesterday's interview where Nancy Bo Flood shares some of them. They are a very creative way to title a chapter, I think.

-I loved the language... the voice. I am not quite sure how to explain this without an example, so here is a quick excerpt from page 50. The main character Joseph is talking about his sister:
"My mysterious sister was so much like our mother, quiet and shy. When she spoke, her words did not have hard edges like Japanese words. Her words were round, soft, slow."
see what I mean?

-I like how Nancy Bo Flood explores point of view- how we may think we know a story (like WWII) until we hear it from another person. That is why it is always important to get more than one side of a story, so that you do not believe only a half truth.

Now, I will share another small portion of the interview. Enjoy!

Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

Nancy Bo Flood:

I truly like working on a variety of projects. Nonfiction mixed with poetry! A biologist and I are working on a book about fungi mixing prose and verse. Another nonfiction project is describing the “sleeping dragons” snoozing in the desert here in northern Arizona…or shall I call them sleeping volcanoes? I have challenged myself to write an early-chapter book that is funny but has substance. So far I’m not doing very well. A new young adult contemporary fiction is in process and at this stage it has poetry, narrative, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your writing?

Nancy Bo Flood:

Working on writing is open to interpretation. When I am washing dishes I am thinking about my kids or friends or a problematic character in one of my books. Often some of my best creative thinking time is when I’m walking the mesa with my dog. But I do spend at least 4 or 5 hours a day – or during the night – writing.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

Nancy Bo Flood:

Navajo Rodeo: Rider Up, Come to the Rodeo - I combine poetry and narration.

I am traveling to Friendship Center, the Peace Museum, in Hiroshima, Japan to do research for a sequel to WARRIORS IN THE CROSSFIRE in which Kento returns to Japan to find his family.

Marie: How did you get into fiction writing?

Nancy Bo Flood:

I love stories – I enjoy reading, listening to story-tellers, sharing stories. As a counselor I was truly amazed at the power of “telling one’s story” as part of every healing process. Children tell story through play; adults share story through reading, talking and listening. And writing.

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

Nancy Bo Flood:

I write in silence but during revision, I choose music that “fits” the emotion of what I am writing. The tempo, tone and rhythm are important – and no words.

Here is a list of the other bloggers participating in the tour (be sure to check them out!):

Whispers of Dawn

Cafe of Dreams

The Hungry Readers

My Own Little Corner of the World

Reading is My Superpower

5 Minutes for Books

Becky’s Book Reviews

My Utopia

Monday, April 26, 2010

Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood

Today is the first day of the Warriors in the Crossfire book tour hosted by Kidz Book Buzz!

I suggest you watch THE BOOK TRAILER first.

I'll give you a heads up of my plan for this tour: Today I am going to share part of an e-mail interview I had with Nancy Bo Flood(that I think you will really enjoy), to
morrow come back for my thoughts on the book, and Wednesday I will post the rest of the interview.

Marie: Everything in your book seems so realistic- what kind of research did you do to be able to make everything seem so real?
Nancy Bo Flood: Thank you, Marie, what a wonderful comment. I must admit, I did about 10 years of research– but some very fun, exciting, and even some delicious and “dangerous” research.
Research is searching for information and understanding. I swam with turtles - and the sharks. I paddled out across the reef, got scared to death as sharks circled our kayak. I tipped over my kayak in the deep sea beyond the reef where the ocean goes down forever into darkness, and was terrified. That’s what Kento felt and it was no fun. Having the shadow of a shark slide over you is terrifying. It was also part of research. Of course, eating mangoes, coconut, papayas and breadfruit were part of research too. Even tasting a raw octopus! Climbing up a cliff, sitting in a stinky damp cave, listening to the sound of the surf and trying to find words that capture it.
Research was spending time with people on Saipan of all ages who wanted to “talk story.” I also spent days in the library reading accounts of the war, watching film footage of battles, talking with both American and Japanese veterans – all part of learning many layers about a time in history and about people who live on an island in the Pacific.
Read it, live it, ask it. Then listen, listen, listen. Keep collecting images, sounds, smells, ideas, information. Remember the joy, kindle the passion, and begin writing.”
Marie: Where did you get the inspiration to write Warriors in the Crossfire?
Nancy Bo Flood: How seldom we think about the families and especially the children who live where wars are fought. Saipan is a tropical island in the western Pacific, the kind one imagines with sweeping white sand beaches and clear turquoise-blue waters. But World War II haunts both land and sea. I stood at the Suicide Cliff where hundreds leaped to their deaths. In the sea and on the beaches the presence of war washes in and out like the tide. When I wrote Joseph's story, I wanted to write a story of hope, realistic and honest, but also one that expressed not only the horror and destruction of war but the amazing resiliency of the human heart to rebuild and forgive.
Few Americans know that Saipan is a political entity of the US, and is called the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. These islands are where Magellan found refuge when he was lost on his voyage around the world. These islands became critical locations were the final Pacific battles of WWII were fought, where the air force bomber, the Inola Gay, was loaded with the atomic bomb and then flew to Hiroshima. Japan surrendered and WWII ended. All of these events began on Saipan.
Marie: Which scene did you find the most fun to write?
Nancy Bo Flood: What a fun question! Whenever little Taeyo bounced around on the page, I was smiling. What a mischief-maker! He almost dropped the machete on Joseph’s bare feet. He pounced on Joseph when he wanted some attention. He never ran out of questions to ask.
Marie: Where did you find the poems that preface each chapter? Why did you decide to use them?
Nancy Bo Flood:
An interesting question you ask about “where did I find the poems that preface each chapter?”
I found them within each chapter.
Poetry captures an essence. Poetry invites the reader to participate, to see anew. Narrative, the novel, captures an experience, usually the unfolding experience of a character in conflict that creates change.
Each of the beginning poems came from the events that happened in the chapter. I searched and chiseled until only an essence remained. My model was haiku, inspired by the poetry of Basho, Rumi and Eloise Greenfield.
Poetry is an essential element throughout Warriors. Poetry reflects Joseph's transitions from rebel to warrior, from student to teacher. What better source than some of the oldest poetry, Basho's haiku, a riddle in metaphor that captures the essence of change. Basho's brief poems invite readers to bring into the metaphor their own meaning. There are no right or wrong “answers.” For example:
An ancient pond
A frog jumps in
The splash of water.
What is that ancient pond? Why a frog? And the splash? What’s that all about?
A ten-year old reader said to me – “the splash starts the ripples and the frog? The frog is war.”
· Each poem introduces and summarizes the chapter’s theme, but adds layering, an essence of what happens. For example, Journey (54) reads:
· Geckos chirped,
· Kingfishers squawked,
· Dogs barked.
· This is home.
· War cannot come here.
· Cannot.
· Debbie Gonzales described the emotional effect best: “feel that rhythmic wave-like motion in the words. Back and forth, back and forth, only to come to a crashing halt with the final word ‘cannot’. Geckos…kingfishers…dogs…home… all symbols of the safe and familiar. And then BOOM, a harsh foreshadowing of things to come…war…here…cannot, cannot.
· One more? War reads (102):
· Moonlight
· Shines silver
· Across breadfruit leaves,
· Broken shards of light,
· Broken dreams,
· Broken.
· See the picture, the metaphor? All is beautiful – the silver light cascading across the breadfruit tree, the primary source of sustenance for the native people of Saipan. And one event transforms moonlight into glass-like shards slicing, destroying all that was once cherished, sabotaging dreams, and shattering souls.
All that in a few lines of poetry and then it takes the whole chapter to show it.

Now, before I sign off for the day, here is a list of some of the other bloggers on this tour! check them out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Tuck Everlasting v. Twilight Saga
I have read Tuck Everlasting. I have not read Twilight, but I've heard plenty about it. A while back my cousin, her sister, and I had a brief conversation about how different they are. (SPOILERS FOR BOTH BOOKS) We noticed that in Tuck Everlasting, Winnie decides not to drink the water and live forever with Her Love, but that Bella makes the opposite decision in the Twilight books and becomes a vampire to live with Her Love forever. Bella gave up her soul so she could spend eternity on earth with an imperfect vampire. Whats the big deal? Well, the books are sending two different messages. The Twilight books are telling their young readers that love is the most important thing, upholding the lie that 'love is all you need', when really 'one imperfect/unhappy person plus one imperfect/unhappy person equals two imperfect/unhappy people'*. The fact is, no amount of human love will make us eternally happy- thats where Jesus comes in. (END SPOILERS)

The Sea of Monsters

Switching gears to one of the books from the Percy Jackson series.
My mom brought this one to my attention, because I had been reading the books so uncritically I completely missed it. One of the gods tells Percy that it is alright to break rules as long as you succeed in what you were planning to do, because then everything will balance out. Hm. I'm not so sure that this is the best thing to be telling adolescent readers. Rules are usually in place for a very good reason.

Be Careful What You Write
I am not sure how many of you out there write, but if you do please be careful. Be cautions about what your characters do and don't do. You may know its just a book, I may know its just a book, but some of your readers may assume that because your character got away home free, they might have a chance, too. Give your characters good morals that you'd want your kids, siblings, cousins, whoever, to follow.

And read critically. Look at what different authors are presenting as 'a-okay' and think about it- how great is it, really? And if you have any additions to my list of stories with not-so-great-morals, and even examples of stories with great morals, let me know!

*one of The Seven Sweet Lies from Worldview Academy, and their counter truths

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Taking a Break Means Starting a Project

I've recently finished a draft of my novel (17,600 words) and decided I needed a break from it.

I really like it, but if I don't stop myself I'll be editing it 'till kingdom come. As soon as I think I'm done with a draft, I get a new idea and start editing again.

So I decided to take a month long break from it, work on some other projects (not to mention schoolwork...), and then look at it again. With fresher eyes. More prone to see mistakes I make, and plot holes I created.

So in the meantime (because you know I can't just do schoolwork...) I've been working on another project. When I can't figure out what to write, I draw. Pencil, watercolor, paint, chalk, whatever. The pictures are watercolors that got me writing again this month.

I have this goal to write something everyday, to make it habit. So I've been experimenting with a sequel to my novel. So far so good, I havn't encountered too many plot problems.

When you are in the limbo between projects, what do you do?