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Garden of StonesFebruary 26, 2013

THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE LAST YEAR, and it comes out TODAY! (And I'm giving away a couple, so read on!) 


Garden of Stones, Sophie Littlefield

Disclaimer: Sophie Littlefield is a very dear friend of mine. This, however, has nothing to do with the way I feel about her writing. In fact, I'd say that the only problem I do have with our friendship is that sometimes I think, Why does a writer like HER like ME? She's so good. She writes emotion so that you feel it knife your gut, and then you turn the page and you read a sentence that makes you sigh with happiness. 

So I'm very proud to host her on the blog today. This newest book is about mother-daughter relationships so real I predict they won't let you go when you turn the last page. I love the book, and I know you will, too.

Rachael's Unconventional Sleep-Deprived Interview 

1. What fact that you learned while doing the research for Garden of Stones that was the most resonant for you? 

At the start of WWII, there were three orphanages in San Francisco and Los Angeles for Japanese-American children. Often, those of mixed race had been abandoned by their parents and were considered unadoptable. At the outset of the war, all three of the orphanages were closed, the children sent to Manzanar, where they lived in a building called the Children's Village. After the war, Japanese-American families adopted some of the children, but the rest were returned to social services in whatever city they'd lived in before the war.

I think this struck me with such force because some of the children were *infants* - and others had as little as 1/16th Japanese blood. And yet, they were considered a threat to national security.

2. omg I'm so sleepy. How are you today?

Aw, sweetheart, I'm doing great - but I've definitely got all of those book-launch symptoms: eating everything in sight (just polished off the last few Triscuits and the salty crumbs in the bottom of the box), and finding anything at all to do so I don't have to work. Moments ago I was lying on the floor talking to the dog, who is much more sanguine about the process of books coming to life than I am. 

3. I love reading about mother/daughter relationships, and the one in this book is so weighted and fraught with emotion. Um, thanks for that. [Insert your answer to my non-asked question here.]

Yeah, right? You and I have talked about our moms a lot. And how many times have you talked me off one mom ledge or another, reminding me that the kids will be fine? The mother-child (and in particular the mother-daughter) relationship is one of those subjects you can puzzle over forever, and never come up with any definitive conclusions. In fact...I believe that the more I ponder, the less I know. Fiction is a good place to work out my feelings, though. Long ago, I planned to be a *perfect* mom. Now, I'll settle for good enough. 

Yesterday, I took my 17-year-old daughter to see Jimmy Carter speak. On the way there, my attempts at conversation were met with a full measure of disdain and eye-rolling, which makes a BART ride so much more enjoyable.  (Picture the crowded car, and me yelling, so as to be heard over the train, "I remember when Amy Carter was your age! She had the most adorable freckles!" and her trying desperately to pretend she wasn't with me.) We were barely speaking when we got to the theater. About forty-five minutes into his remarks, for no reason, Sally laid her head on my shoulder and held my hand. I'll tell you what - moments like that make all the rest way more than worth it.

4. Please take a picture of your current pair of favorite shoes and tell us why you love them. 

Wow! You're the best interviewer. Okay, here you go.


I cannot wear these; for some reason they pinch everwhere. But I've held onto them for years. Why? - because my kids once gave them to me for mother's day. (Yes, they are covered with sequins. Which reminds me of the best gift I ever gave my own mom, who wore no makeup: a compact with bright blue and green eye shadow. Because I was six, and it was pretty and so was she.)

Can I have another favorite?  


I also love these. I'm going to wear them to my launch party. To me, they are a reminder that I can have, do, and be anything I want, no matter how many wrong turns I take. Because I sure as hell never expected that when I was 49 years old, I would have a reason to get dressed up to go do a job I love.

5. Tacos soon? Where and why? (that's such a gimme!)

Ha! Here, and here's why: 
(Rachael and Nicole Peeler at Mi Rancho!)
I'll be giving away two copies (in your choice of format, paper or e-version) of Garden of Stones, one to a lucky commenter here on the blog, and one to someone subscribed to my mailing list. I'll draw on Friday, so good luck! 


Best wishes to Nicole on the launch of her book. Hope I'm the lucky winner. So wonderful to have it available as an e-version!

You've piqued my interest! Can't wait to get a chance to read Nicole's book. Wishing her great success.

sounds like a book right up my alley!

Don't bother with a drawing, just give it to me. Heh.

This looks like a great (and tearjerky) book! My old landlord, when I lived in Davis, CA, had been one of the Japanese interned at Manzanar. An amazing person...wise and funny as hell.

Are you going to Stitches South? I know there's no book tour going on, but it's coming up in April, and maybe you need some southern culture, no?

WHY can't we have taco trucks in my Chicago burb?? I would stalk it.

Also - the little tale about her daughter resting her head on her should about made me cry. I have a 4 yo and she is so in love with her momma right now but I know before I can blink I'll be in her shoes and it scares me. So sweet to know that daighters still love their mommas at 17.

Congratulations, Sophie! And today, which would have been my dad's 78th birthday, seems like a perfect day to enter a drawing for a book about parent-child relationships... even if it *is* the other parent in this book.

Hugs to you both!

I'm a sucker for WWII titles. This one sounds like one I will not only love, but will cry over. It tends to happen when I feel moved by a book or really connect with one of it's characters.

my husband is japanese american and i am caucasian. i can't imagine something like this happening to my daughter. i remember thinking how bizarre it was that a few short years before we married in 1977 it was illegal to marry another race. i hope we learn from our mistakes!!!!

Lovely! can't wait to read it. thanks, sweet!

It sounds like a great book! Even if I don't win it, I will put it on the list to borrow from my local library. Thanks!

I'd love a copy of Sophie's new book!

Would love to read this book!

One of my proud memories of my mom is that in 1951, when I was 5, my mom hired a Japanese-American as a cleaning lady. I Loved Kimi with all my heart. She came once a week for twelve or more years until she retired. My mom made sure she paid into Social Security for Kimi so she would have some retirement income. It wasn't for many years that I relized that my mother had taken a stand against the injustice of the interments and also introduced her children to another culture/race in a way that erased all boundaries.
I'd love a copy of this book.

Garden of Stones looks intriguing. I'll have to add it to my "to read" list!

I would love to read this book. Even if I don't win, I'm going to find it for myself! Stitches South is April 11 - 14. Hope to see you there.

Great interview -- even with the tired. I'd love to win, sounds like a really good one. I love the title too. GEt some rest!!

That's a great interview and a great friend. Hope I win

Thanks so much for having me here, sweet pea. And hi to all you lovely friends of Rachael!! xo

Would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks

Sounds wonderful...will be on my must read list for sure. And Rachel...awesome interview. And tacos...always good.

Fun interview! Sorry I missed out on meeting up with you, Sophie, and Bethany last night, but let's try again soon.

I have become obsessed with this time in history, would love to read the book! And it's always time for tacos . . . .

This sounds like an excellent read...such a fascinating (and shameful) period of American history. I'm putting it on my TBR list for sure. Thank you for the giveaway!

Would love to win a copy of Nicole's book. Love her black heels. Would choose Kindle e-book if available. Hope your tonsils are behaving today!

I'd love to read this! And - anything to do with Jimmy Carter and lovely Amy makes me happy...

This sure sounds like a great book! As a mother of three daughters ages 4-11, I pray often that we are raising strong, confident girls who will grow up to be thoughtful and contributing young women. I jus don't know how I'm going to get past all the eye rolling and sighs!

Sounds like a great book I'm looking forward to it.

Garden of Stones sounds like such a good read. I'll be ordering a Kindle copy for my parents.

I especially love the favorite shoe part. Shoes say a lot about a person.

The book sounds interesting -- we definitely had some mother-daughter dynamics in the house when I was growing up!

I Love Sophie and love her different genres of writing. I can hardly wait to pass on another of her books to MY mom.

This looks like a very interesting book - something my book group would enjoy reading and discussing. I also love books dealing with family relationships; this will be added to my to-read list for sure! Thanks for bringing to our attention.

Love, love, love Sophie's books!!

Love the interview! Yeah, mother-daughter relationships can be challenging, from both directions. But I wouldn't trade the years I had with my daughter for anything, and I wish I could have had more of them.

I like your new sweater, and am impressed that you could finish it while you were so sick. You're a star.

I'd love to read Garden of Stones - I had a close relationship with my own mother, who died nearly 6 years ago. I think of her every day - I'm grateful to have many fond memories.

Book sounds awesome! Love your work, as per usual! So I'm sure I'll love Sophie's!

I want to win! Please let me win! Sounds like a great book for my book club, too.

(Great interview, too!)

I'd love a copy, and so would my book club! Pick Me!

Sounds like a very interesting book. Would love to read it.

Sounds great! I love reading about mother-daughter relationships since my own is so bizarre.

Thank you for the fun interview!

Sounds like an interesting book.

I love Sophie's writing! Can't wait to read this book..it's on the list.

As the mother of two small daughters (6 months and 4 years) the mother daughter relationship both intrigues and scares the hell out of me!

I love books with a mother/daughter theme but like them even better when I learn something along the way. This is a part of American history that really makes me say "ouch!" so I'm looking forward to seeing how she approached it in her novel. It would be great to win!

I went to the library yesterday and had a wonderful surprise when I reached for a Hemingway novel...How To Knit a Heart Back Home! Yay!

Rachael, anything you recommend has got to be good. Can't wait to read another book from your imagination, and I'd love to be selected to read Nicole's. Thanks for the offer.

Lol love the interview. Feel like I am listening in on a phone call...

Ah great interview! I love the shoes question too. Also, I am now craving tacos and a great book. :D

ummm, yes I do want to win a copy of Sophie's book and while I am thinking about it, where is that Taco truck parked?

Sounds like a great book! Mother-daughter relationships are ones to work on for a lifetime. At 35 years old and now being my mom's caretaker after a stroke, it's interesting to see how we're both working out our new dynamic.

I'm a mother of 4 daughters (and 3 sons) so please enter me in the contest. Thanks for "introducing" me to Sophie. I looove her Stella Hardesty and Hailey Tarbell series' and am on hold at the library for Blood Bond.

All the books you have shared have been wonderful! The interview was wonderful, too, thanks for sharing he party!

I actually just found your blog... I began reading A Life In Stitches on my way home from work tonight on BART and am hooked! I'll be adding Sophie's new book to my reading list--it sounds fascinating.

Looks like a goodie! Can't wait to read it!

Love the two stories about the presents of children to mothers! LOL

you've directed me to some pretty damn good books over the years I've been reading your blog so I'd love to read this one! Thanks for the give away and hope the tonsils do a disappearing act!

sounds like an interesting book - for a sleep deprived interview it was very interesting!

OK this interview was full of awesome. I love reading people's letters to each other.. and this was that in interview form. XXXOOO awesome!

That was so fun :-)

Yay!!! A new book by Sophie! I loved her Aftertime books! And the Stella Hardesty books!

Thanks for the interview.

Ah the mother-daughter thing, and a meditation on it recommended by you... well, you know why I'm paying particular attention. :-) I'll be sure to read this.

Me please! Sounds fascinating.

I would LOVE to read her book!!

looking forward to reading!

I would love to read this book. I have read a few of your past suggestions and always like them, so I figure that I will like this one too. Plus I am having mother issues right now as I prepare to leave for Florida to help her and my dad move into transitional living (they will start independent withthe ability to move into assisted and then nursing care if needed. My sister will be there too, and it is my parents' choice to do this, but it is still fraught with emotion.

I'm so often inspired by what you write on your blog Rachael and even more so today after reading Sophie's responses to your questions and comments. In my own efforts to write I find that a little inspiration from people I admire goes a long, long way and gives me some hope to keep trying. Even though everything I write looks like absolute rubbish, I am determined to keep at it. As always Rachael, thank you and thank you Sophie.

That sounds like a great book! Good luck with the launch, Sophie, and good luck with the sleeping, Rachael!

Oh, Rach, please please let me win this book!
Also: My mother regrew her tonsils, too!

If I don't win I will buy the book. Sounds like a good read.

Really looking forward to reading this one. And even sleep-deprived you conduct a wicked interview.

Love the shoes! Book sounds intriguing too!

Ooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me! Also too you need to come up to Vancouver to visit again soon.

This makes me want to take a picture of my shoes to post for everyone to see. They aren't as fancy as those ones. It also makes me want to write a book.

I'd love to have the book. I am always fascinated to read anything about CA and in particular the Bay Area , as that is were I come from.Even though I have spent more half my life living elsewhere, mostly in Germany, when I get off a plane in San Francisco , it smells like home. Even if I don't win the book, I'll probably buy it- just like I do all of the books you recommend. LOL

Looks awesome....

I love it and you and the shoes!

I always love a new book!

Would love to read this!

I would so love to read this-one of my best friends was born in Manzanar. Angel Island is one of my favorite places and its history pulls me in, as I am sure this book would.

This definitely sounds like a book I'd like to read! I have a lot of issues with my mother, but very happy with the relationships I've developed with my daughters. Besides, if you recommend the book - it's got to be good!

I will have to look this book up, it sounds very intriguing! Thanks for mentioning it on your blog, I find the books I love the most seem to come from blog or friend recommendations.

I read the first pages on Amazon, and I am hooked. I will purchase this book, but hope I win it.

Would love to win! Please enter my name. Thanks for a chance!

Great interview and the book sounds like an interesting read. Thank-you for a giveaway chance!

I would love a copy of this book, and I moderate a book club for volunteer court appointed special advocates (Guardian ad Litems)that this might be a great match for!

The book sounds great. Hope I win!

Either Kindle or hard copy would be fine.

Okay, you and Sophie have sold me - I'm throwing my name in the hat - but I'll read it even if I don't get picked :)

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