Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Second Chance by Walt Mussell, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I’m honored to have Walt here today to talk about why he chose to write historical fiction set in Japan.
A SECOND CHANCE
Author: Walt Mussell
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction with Christian, romantic, and fantasy (time travel) elements
Kira Sakamichi is a career-driven woman, trying to achieve success before her mother’s constant interference sentences her to a relationship. But when a grudging drive to meet her mother’s latest “selection” ends in a lake accident, Kira wakes up lost in the past, the concubine of a 16th-century samurai, and mother to his six-year-old son.
When actions in battle lead to the samurai’s condemnation, Kira learns that she and her son will share the samurai’s fate. Only by understanding the importance of duty and family in both time periods can they survive.
Why I Chose to Write historical fiction Set in Japan
by Walt Mussell, author of A Second Chance
Japan has a unique Christian history. For 250+ years, the country was best known in the West by its mention in Marco Polo’s Travels, but its actual location was unknown to Europeans until 1543. In August 1549, Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier went ashore in southern Japan, setting in motion events that proved both promising and tragic. After sixty years, Japan’s Christian population numbered over 300,000, making it the jewel of the Far East. Within another thirty years, however, the religion was all but eradicated, and Japan became as forbidden as the Garden of Eden. The most memorable event was the Shimabara Rebellion, a tax revolt by a persecuted Christian population. Eventually, the government, with the help of Dutch ships, put down the rebellion and executed an estimated 37,000 people. Christianity was driven underground.
In Japanese history, the period from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century is referred to as Japan’s Christian Century. A priest I knew years ago once referred to these Christians as the “great unknown martyrs.” Most people are unaware that Japan has a Christian history. Part of what drives me is that I want to change that. My stories are set in late 16th century Japan, during the time when Christianity was growing, and at the same time facing the beginnings of persecution. I want to write great stories, but I also want to introduce readers to this piece of history. (I’ve lectured at churches on Japan’s Christian century and uploaded videos on YouTube about this topic.) I hope to make the story of these Christians known.
I also want to introduce readers to other aspects of Japan’s history and do my best to get details correct. When I originally wrote my first novel, The Samurai’s Heart, I wrote it as a work of historical Christian fiction. I was unagented, but two publishers expressed great interest. One sent me a revise and resubmit letter. The other asked that I expand the story. I did both. However, the first one declined (too many deaths by sword). The second one passed without explanation. (A third publisher, who judged me in a contest, offered me the opportunity to submit directly to them, unagented, provided I write a new story set in U.S. history. Stupid me, I didn’t react fast enough.) An agent would later submit my work to numerous Christian publishers. No success.
I cut ties with my agent and rewrote the story as historical fiction with Christian and romantic elements. This allowed more latitude with the history. (My books contain several pages of historical notes, similar to Japanese historical fiction that is translated into English.) It also allowed me to better present some of the challenges Christianity faced in spreading in Japan.
It’s often said that Japanese people are Shinto when they’re born and Buddhist when they die. (As Christian weddings are popular, the phrase “Christian when they marry” is sometimes included.) Shintoism began/arrived in Japan a few centuries before the birth of Christ. Buddhism arrived in the sixth century. The two religions coexist. Christianity showed up in the 16th century and reached approximately 1.5% of the country, roughly the same as current day. That low percentage means the history can get lost. I hope to change that.
So tell a great story, get the history right, and remember those Japanese Christians from long ago.
(1) winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card!
If the winner is Canadian, the winner can request Tim Horton’s!
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 31, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 7, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead Tours, not RimSP
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What about you? What makes you want to read A Second Chance by Walt Mussell?