Monday, October 10, 2011

Introducing: A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT



I’m delighted to announce that on February 16, 2012, my second middle grade novel, entitled, A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT, will be available from Viking. The idea for this book came after visiting my oldest son’s middle school National History Day competition. One of the students there had built a model of the Zenimura baseball field as it stood outside Gila River, a Japanese internment camp. Her grandfather had played outfield for the team. I asked her if I could interview him. I thought I would write a short magazine article about him, but after the interview, I immediately contacted the other two players who were still alive so I could interview them, too. This began a two year process in which I learned everything I could about the baseball team and Gila River. I’ll admit, I never thought I’d write a story about baseball or Gila River. I didn’t even know the baseball team had existed until the day I saw the model of the field.

But here’s the thing. After listening to the men, and hearing what they went through, I wrote the story because, against all odds, in a time of turmoil in our nation, this team of young boys was able to come together and beat the Tucson High School state champs in a nail-biting extra innings game that was so incredibly remarkable, it gave a sense of hope to the other residents of the camp. It gave a sense of what is possible, if we try.

Because am not Japanese, I was somewhat apprehensive to write the story. So before I wrote even one word, I spent many months in the Pacific Archives building of the Laguna Niguel branch. I read through all three and a half years of the newspaper on microfiche. I interviewed the men over a period of two years. After each draft of the story, I sent it to the pitcher so he could read it to make sure I got it right. And then, I asked my son’s former baseball coach to read the book, so he could check my baseball facts, and the baseball scenes of each game. I am so very grateful for the support and help I received while writing this book.

Moreover, I would say A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT is a story of hope and courage which happens to take place in an internment camp. It’s a story that helped me to see the good in people, and how with faith and determination, we can achieve what we want. It’s also a story about a dog, named Lefty (after Lefty O’Doul) who after he was given away (because the camp didn’t take dogs) found his way home and waited there for his owners to come back.

I hope you will enjoy the book. I am so happy to be able to share it with you.

2 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Oh Kathryn, this sounds wonderful! I'm off to share it over at Project Mayhem, where yesterday someone requested sporty MG titles.

Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

Thanks, Caroline!