Are you Japanese?

No. I'm Scottish-American. My husband is originally from Japan. 

Have you ever been to Japan?

Yes, I've been going to Japan every summer with my kids since they were 4 and 6 years old. We stay with their grandparents in a rural part of Gifu Prefecture for about a month each summer.  

Are you fluent in Japanese?

Despite taking Japanese 102 four times (4!!!) as an adult, no, I am not. I do know enough to be able to eat, go shopping, find the bathroom, and use mass transportation most of the time. I can read hiragana, katakana, and about 100 basic kanji. My now-adult children are not fluent either, but they are working on it. I have a hard time conjugating verbs, but my food vocabulary is quite impressive.

Why are your books set in Arizona if you live in Chicago?

I lived outside of Phoenix for 20 years before I moved to Chicago in December 2022. I wrote TANABATA WISH, BREATHE, EVERY REASON WE SHOULDN'T, and FAKING REALITY  when I lived in Arizona. I started writing FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE in Arizona but finished it in Chicago (more about this book soon!)

You look familiar. Did I meet you at an anime con once?

Maybe. I've been presenting at Saboten Con in Phoenix for several years now. I've also done presentations at Con-nichiwa, Taiyou Con, and Phoenix Fan Fusion. I don't always wear my Author Hat though. You may know me better there as my alter ego, The Obento Lady.    

What are you passionate about?

Literacy, biracial/bicultural kids, empowering girls, and supporting the arts. Therefore, it will be no surprise that these things overlap sometimes and end up in my books. 

Can you read my manuscript and give me feedback?

Unfortunately, with my current schedule and demands, I can't. I'm not even taking on paid freelance work right now. A great place to find people to review your work--both other writers and paid professionals--is by joining a professional organization. There are many different specialty groups depending on what you write. My work has been greatly improved by the guidance I've received through SCBWI.

Do you really have a twin?

I do! You might even see her sometimes at events with me. 

Bonus: Want to know where I get my ideas from and specifically how EVERY REASON WE SHOULDN'T came to life? Listen to my interview with Dani Cutler of Dani's Diner on KWSS 93.9 here


Sara Fujimura