The Deb Ball Welcomes Kristina McMorris

We are so excited to have Kristina McMorris here at the Ball to celebrate the release of her novel, BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES!

First, a bit about Kristina:

Inspired by her grandparents’ wartime courtship letters, Kristina McMorris penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home (March 2011, Kensington Books and Avon/HarperCollins UK). Praised as “a sweeping debut” by Publishers Weekly, this award-winning book was a Reader’s Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild alternate selection, and 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction.

Previously, Kristina owned a wedding/event planning company and served as a weekly TV host for twelve years, starting with an Emmy Award-winning program at age nine. Her works of fiction have garnered nearly twenty national literary awards, including two nominations for the highly coveted Golden Heart®. For her diverse accomplishments, she has been named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal.

Now let us whet your appetite for BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES:

In spite of her Julliard ambitions and family’s wishes, violinist Maddie Kern secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. When her beloved Lane is evacuated to an internment camp, she dares to remain at his side. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

Skillfully capturing one of the most controversial episodes in recent American history, Kristina McMorris delivers an authentic, moving testament to love, forgiveness, and the enduring music of the human spirit.

Here’s what’s being said about BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES:

“[Bridge of Scarlet Leaves] gracefully blossoms through swift prose and rich characters…this gripping story about two ‘brothers’ in arms and a young woman caught in between them hits all the right chords.” — Publishers Weekly

“Readers of World War II fiction will devour [this] poignant, authentic story of Japanese and American lovers crossed not only by the stars but by the vagaries of war and their own country’s prejudices.”– Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

And Deb Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March and The Bungalow, says: “A beautiful, timeless love story, rich in detail and emotion, Kristina McMorris’ words reach right off the page and grab at your heart.”

And for an even sweeter taste—there’s a wonderful trailer for the novel too!

Kristina McMorris Takes the Deb Ball Interview!

Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.

My husband was the first to point out, only a handful of years ago, that I never eat the last bite of my dessert. Evidently there’s less guilt involved if I don’t technically finish the entire piece of cake, ramekin of Crème Brûlée, or bowl of rice pudding.

I will, however, eat another person’s last bite of dessert—because, well, it doesn’t count if the food isn’t yours. I guess.

Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.

I love this question because it was something I wanted to weave into the story, but never found the appropriate place. So, in a way, this is like a deleted scene I finally get to share.

In Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, one of the main characters is named Lane Takeshi Moritomo. Common to Japanese Americans in the ’40s, he has both a traditional Japanese first name and an American one. I never mention this in the story, but he is actually the one who picked “Lane,” rather than his parents. Given his desire to rebel against his Japanese heritage, he secretly chose that name for the difficulty his parents and all of their friends in the community would have pronouncing the “L.” A fun little inside joke!

What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?

That’s easy: my husband, Daniel, and my two sons, Tristan Kiyoshi and Kiernan Takeshi. Thankfully, you didn’t limit me to bringing only two things!

(Did you notice that my boys’ names don’t start with any L’s? My father, as a Japanese immigrant, would never have forgiven me!)

What’s your next big thing?  (new book, new project, etc.)

I’m currently finishing a novella that will appear in Fern Michael’s 2012 Christmas anthology, which I’m very excited about. Then I’ll be diving into the first of my next two contracted novels for Kensington Books. Somewhere in there, I’m hoping to also sleep on occasion.

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

I think that would have to be the time I was hired to appear in a film titled “Frozen Assets” for 20th Century Fox. What’s “strange” about that, you ask? (Waaait for it….)

You see, my role was of a cheerleader who performed at a town meeting, for the likes of Corbin Bernsen and Shelley Long, encouraging male residents to donate to the local sperm bank. (Hence, the movie’s <ahem> creative title.) While dancing a choreographed group routine, I sang a cute and peppy song about….yep, you guessed it….sperm. Indeed, a proud moment for my mother!

Kristina, thank you so much for visiting with us today.  We can’t wait to read BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES.  For more information on Kristina and her novels, you can check out her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

And guess what? Kristina is giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter in US or Canada!

11 Replies to “The Deb Ball Welcomes Kristina McMorris”

  1. Hi, Kristina! So glad you could be with us here at the Ball today to tell us more about BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES. It sounds like a fascinating take on a disturbing piece of American history — I look forward to reading it. 🙂

    Oh, and I approve of your dessert rationale. Sounds about right to me!

  2. Hi Kristina! It’s wonderful having you visit–and I can’t wait to read BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES!

    “Frozen Assets”! I love it! Is the film on DVD? Can we google to find your scene??

    (And would you believe my dad does the exact same thing with his food. He always leaves one bite. Always!)

  3. Kristina thank you for the wonderful interviews. I definitely think LETTERS FROM HOME sounds beautiful. And your latest takes on a tough subject matter but it sounds in a most thoughtful way. Definitely like to read BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES. Much success in your upcoming endeavors.

  4. WWII is one of my favorite time period to read about and even with that I find there are not many that focuses on the Japanese Americans. It’s fascinating to see how families cope with the war no matter what side they are on. I’m glad I came across the inside joke because I can keep it in mind.

    Congratulations on your release and I’m happy to hear more books are forthforming. A dessert or two may be in order 😉

  5. Thanks for being with us, Kristina! Wow, BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES sounds so intriguing and I love the title. Wishing you all the best with it and thanks again for dancing with us!
    p.s. I’m totally going to look up Frozen Assets – looks hilarious.

  6. Thanks so much for having me here today, Debs, and for the warm wishes! Being at the ball is always an honor.

    My only regret, of course, is that I didn’t disguise the movie with a made-up title. The point of the mention REALLY wasn’t so you’d all go searching. Ack! Now I’ll need a second helping of dessert to cope. LOL.

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