Why do you have a focus on Japan in your storytelling?
I have a huge heart for the Japanese people. They have blessed countless individuals with their visual media and ideals, and my heart is deeply stirred to share the love of Christ, who is my ultimate joy, with them. It has stirred my heart so much so, that one of my dreams is to move to Japan and share this joy face-to-face and experience this beautiful culture firsthand. However, in the meantime (since I am unable to go right now), I am reaching for Japan in my own writing. Every day I learn something new about Japan and its people that makes my heart beat a little faster. As someone who enjoys sharing what they learn, writing is an outlet for me to do just that. It is my hope that I can share this love of Japanese culture with others through storytelling, but even more, that I can share that there is hope in the real world, no matter the time and place.
How has Japanese culture affected you outside of writing?
In multiple ways! Beginning of 2020, I diligently learned hiragana via Duolingo. Due to the pandemic and teaching my kiddos at home, I have unfortunately been unable to continue learning Japanese. (Yet, it is a goal that I am actively seeking to work towards once again!) Though that might have been a blessing in disguise, as I recently won a free kawaii drawing course and have greatly enjoyed the experience of drawing kawaii. I definitely have a new understanding and appreciation for the obsession with everything cute!
You recently mentioned at a Facebook party about “giving back” to Japan by highlighting their culture in your stories. Can you share more about that?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Sailor Moon, followed by Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Though I am not as “obsessed” with these anime as much as I was back then, present me is so moved by the generosity of Japanese manga creators. These storytellers have impacted millions of lives with engaging tales and powerful characterizations, and I long to do something, anything, to show my thanks. Writing about their culture and/or having Japanese influence in my own stories feels like one small way I personally can “give back.” And while I am learning, I want to share this new knowledge with others through storytelling. I hope it leads readers down a path of new discoveries about a culture they may have not known much about, as well as allows them to potentially discover and dive into a life-changing manga.