About the book
Love in Translation: A Novel is for anyone who’s ever dreamt of finding love and family in an unexpected place...
After receiving a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms, 33-year-old fledgling singer Celeste Duncan is off to Japan to search for a long, lost relative who could hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew. Once there she stumbles head first into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems—a land with an inexplicable fascination with foreigners, karaoke boxes, and unbearably perky TV stars.
With little knowledge of Japanese, Celeste finds a friend in her English-speaking homestay brother, Takuya, and comes to depend on him for all variety of translation, travel and investigatory needs. As they cross the country following a trail after Celeste's relatives, she discovers she's developing "more-than-sisterly" feelings for him, although his mother seems to have other plans for her son. But when Celeste learns a Japanese song called “The Wishing Star,” things begin to change for her in ways she never expected, leading her to ask, what is the true meaning of family? And what does it mean to discover your own voice?
What the critics are saying
“Tokunaga... describe[s] Japanese culture in absorbing detail.”
"Witty, lighthearted and charming story of finding love in an unexpected place."
"A delightful plot with wonderful characterizations."
—Affair de Coeur Magazine
—RT Book Reviews Magazine
I asked, Wendy answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you ever used it in a book?
W. Seeing Wayne Newton live in concert was pretty scary. Oh, but I guess you don’t mean that kind of scary. Having my soon-to-be ex-husband threaten to kill my boyfriend (who is now my husband) with the gun he just bought was pretty scary. I haven’t used that in a book, but now that you’ve mentioned it... [April says: You’re not the first author I’ve heard talk about the scary ex with a gun - I hope it’s not a trend!]
A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
W. I don’t think you have room on your blog for all my fears and phobias. They include snakes, flying in small planes (big ones too), roller coasters, and fear of my car slipping backwards while stopped atop one of San Francisco’s famous hills, just to name a few.
A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
W. I devoured Agatha Christie’s books when I was a kid. I also love many of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies: “Strangers on a Train,” “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Psycho,” etc.
A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will happen next. What question does your book ask?
W. For LOVE IN TRANSLATION I’d say: a puzzling phone call, a box full of mysterious family heirlooms, then an unexpected trip to an overwhelming place where nothing is quite as it seems—Japan. What family secrets will 33-year old fledgling singer Celeste Duncan uncover as she searches for a long, lost relative who could hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew?
A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure?
W. The whereabouts of all my socks lost in the dryer.
About the author
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga’s first novel, NO KIDDING, won the Literary/Mainstream Fiction category in Writer’s Digest’s Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002. She is also the author of two children's non-fiction books, and has had short stories published in various literary journals. Wendy signed her two-book deal with St. Martin’s just as she was beginning the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco in 2006. Along with her MFA, she also holds a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. In her spare time Wendy sings bossa nova, cool pop, jazz standards and Japanese songs accompanied by her surfer dude husband Manabu on electronic keyboards. They live with their cat Meow in the San Francisco Bay Area, a short walk from the Pacific Ocean.
Find more information at Wendy’s website at http://www.WendyTokunaga.com. And look for her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-Nelson-Tokunaga/52795977320 and Twitter at http://twitter.com/Wendy_Tokunaga .