3 ?s about Momotaro Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters
What three words would you use to describe your book?
Imagination, friendship, adventure
What made you decide to change gears and write middle grade books?
I guess it wasn’t so much as I decided to write middle grade books as it was that I had a specific idea, and the best way to execute that idea was through writing a middle grade book. It was a pretty big learning curve for me, with many drafts over several years, but a lot of fun! I worked on it in between other projects.
How did you get the ideas for Momotaro? I know you visited Japan for your research, but how did you arrive at the Japanese fantasy genre?
I’m half Japanese and I had a Japanese board book about Momotaro that my mom would read (translate) to me. I thought the story could be compelling for Western audiences and I wanted to find a way to present it to them.
Xander’s biracial because I am, and I didn’t read about any biracial characters while I was growing up. I also thought it’d be a way for a Western audience to relate to the Japanese cultural stuff– Xander’s a bit of an outsider and raised in the West, as well. I was also raised in San Diego, with only my mother as the link to the entire Japanese culture.
Additionally, I wanted to explore some ideas about being mixed race, and also what that would mean for a mythological hero that was always the same race. Will his powers be weaker? Stronger? Different? How does his mother’s heritage affect him? It parallels ideas and fears people have in the real world about races and cultures intermingling. And, I wanted to leave open the possibility that Xander’s mother’s myths would cross-pollinate with the Japanese myths.
3 ?s about You
If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be and why?
A detective, because I observe things and make connections other people commonly do not, and I am extremely nosy!
What is one book that has stuck with you since you’ve read it?
That is like the #1 Impossible Question for writers! I will say THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie because after I read it, I had a breakthrough about Momotaro.
What is one item in your fridge that tells us about you?
The big ol’ jar of coffee.
You can learn more about her and her other books by visiting www.margaretdilloway.com