THE BOOK: Rainbow Gardens.
PUBLISHED IN: 2015.
THE AUTHOR: James Malone.
THE EDITOR: Mark Hetzel.
THE PUBLISHER: James Malone.
SUMMARY: Japanese immigrant Harry Shikita dreams of becoming successful by building Rainbow Gardens, America’s first neon-lit motel. But the 1920s are a tough time to be an Oriental in America, and Harry must deal not only with prejudice and foul play, but also the trolls.
Yes, trolls — the kind that turn to stone. Cursed descendants of Cain, the trolls are trying to find their way back to God through their Redeemer. The trolls think Harry’s their guy, but he’s on his own quest to be accepted, to be an “old boy.”
Each time Harry’s slapped down, he gets up and starts again. But things only get worse for Harry after Pearl Harbor. Innocent of any wrongdoing, he finds himself interned for the duration of the war while his son fights the Nazis in Europe.
If Harry finds a way to forgive his adopted country, can he become the trolls’ bridge to God’s Grace? The answer lies within the neon paradise of Rainbow Gardens.
THE BACK STORY: The inspiration for my novel came from the experiences of a Japanese immigrant who opened a motel in Carrington, North Dakota during the 1930s. He named it Rainbow Gardens, and he did quite well for himself until the outbreak of war, when he was interned for the duration at Fort Lincoln.
No one seems to know why, and on the surface it makes no sense — Carrington is hardly a location with strategic value, military or otherwise. When I attempted to gain access to his file at the National Archives, all I received was two pieces of paper that documented his admission to the facility.
Harry’s experience began turning some wheels in my head. My father, a career U.S. Navy officer, had spent most of WWII in the Pacific, and we lived in two of the Axis countries that he had helped defeat. Looking back on our time in Japan and Germany, I now am impressed by Dad’s ability to forgive his former enemies. Forgiveness seems to be a quality shared by many combat veterans. It is a powerful concept that has deep roots in American society as well as others, but what if our understanding of its power is limited? What if our competitive, tribal urge to survive blinds us to the true nature of forgiveness and its promise of redemption?
And what of God’s forgiveness? Why does it seem so conditional and contradictory? Cain is not forgiven, and yet the Prodigal Son is. Is it possible that we just don’t get what Jesus was trying to tell us because he took us out of our comfort zone? I wrote Rainbow Gardens as a labor of love. If there’s an underlying message, it’s that we all bear the mark of Cain in one way or another, and the people we marginalize — the trolls of our society — are no worse nor better than we are, because we all seek the same thing: redemption.
WHY THIS TITLE? The true story of a Japanese immigrant to America, Harry Taiju Hayashi, is the inspiration for Rainbow Gardens. In the 1930s, Harry built North Dakota’s first motel in Carrington. He named it Rainbow Gardens.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: For its original concept, larger than life and diverse characters, non-traditional settings (from idyllic to war-torn), close relationships, high stakes, multiple points of view and quality writing (short-listed for the Chanticleer OZMA Fantasy awards.
“An impossibly, improbably, wonderfully fantastic novel.” — Sheila Deeth, Amazon toip 3,000 reviewer.
“The Coen Brothers should option this book! — Diane Kistner, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer.
“Epic, yes, that’s a good word.” — J. Trant, Amazon Top 500 reviewer.
“A unique blend of fantasy and history that really hit the mark.” — Anthony J. Cappozzo.
AUTHOR PROFILE: James Malone has had a long career in writing, from senior writer at a mid-size advertising agency to senior communications and public affairs positions in federal and state agencies. The son of a career U.S. Navy officer and a Vietnam Era veteran himself, James is a child of the Cold War. He grew up in cities around the world, including New York, San Diego, Yokohama, London, Paris and Stuttgart. He has moved often since then and has hung his hat in places such as Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Washington. Besides writing, his interests include collecting first editions and soccer, which he learned from the English neighbor kids when he lived in London. He was also a competitive sailor for a numbers of years, racing a 20 foot C-Scow, an inland lakes boat. He currently resides in Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters, who take turns trying to teach him the Zen of Volleyball.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “For nearly 15 years, the beginning and ending of Rainbow Gardens rattled around inside my head. But the rest of it seemed almost unreachable; I simply did not have the time to sit in numerous libraries and historical societies and sift through dusty volumes and boxes. The internet changed all that; it’s a researcher’s paradise, and I’ve made good use of it, but it’s also a researcher’s quicksand. The sheer volume of available information can suck you in until your brain starts running through your nose. Delving into and climbing out of research holes was an exhausting process. But it was worth it because of my discovery of interesting, talented and sometimes unscrupulous people who have largely drifted into obscurity and yet have had some impact on our society as we know it. Thanks to the web, many of these people jumped back to life for me, and the more I learned about them, the more I wanted to know.
“This, in turn, led to my discovery of incidents that a fiction writer could never invent. For example, between the world wars, America and Japan engaged in naval intelligence skirmishes; one caper, played out in the unlikely setting of Davenport, Iowa, resulted in a huge intelligence coup for the U.S. It’s a tale of seduction, break-in and theft made all the more tantalizing because it really happened, and it has never lost its appeal. It’s mentioned in numerous intelligence memoirs, and an Associated Press article described the affair in 1990, some 55 years after it occurred.”
SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://jdmalone.net/tour-rainbow-gardens/free-sample-chapter/
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords (e-book only).
PRICE: $16.99 paperback, $2.99 Ebook.