Welcome, Diane! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have loved writing ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the front porch steps when I was four, scribbling “stories” on a small tablet and reading them to my friends. Hand-written thank you notes to my grandparents and letters to cousins also played a special role in my enjoyment of writing and the ability to touch a reader in a personal way. In the years that followed, I jotted ideas and memories in journals, wrote poems, and short essays. During graduate school, I joined a writer’s group that often met in my home. We participated in local author events, read our writing at various venues, and eventually self-published a small fiction anthology, Tellin’ Lies: A Quick Anthology of Three Writers. Seeing my work in print sparked my energy and passion to follow my writing path. I have been on it ever since.
I enjoy reading and writing stories about real people’s lives, their challenges and successes. Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants is the first book I co-authored with my aunt Miriam Dloniak Kaurala, a story about my grandparents leaving Finland and settling in northern Minnesota in the 1920s. Then in 2011, after seven years of writing and rewriting, I published my own memoir, Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal about the death of my husband and the process of rebuilding my life. The book is helping others in their dark days of grief. In 2015, I took the leap from memoir to historical fiction and published my award winning book, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. My readers enjoyed it so much they encouraged me to write the sequel. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph was released in 2016. In between writing books, I am also a contributing author for the national Women’s Voices for Change organization in New York City and the Open to Hope Grief Foundation in Palo Alto, California. The international Women For One organization recognized me as a Truthteller for my memoir, Twenty-Eight Snow Angels. I have shared my writing at local events and international conferences in Finland and Canada. My author journey has been a rewarding trip. I am excited to see what adventures lie ahead!
After several years imprisoned in a U.S. WWII Japanese interment camp in eastern California, eighteen-year-old Yasu Sakamoto cannot bear the hardships and injustices any longer. Overwhelmed with grief and the painful loss of the life she was forced to leave behind, Yasu seizes an unexpected opportunity for freedom. Terrified and alone, she longs to return to her parents, but knows she has no choice, but to push forward.
Yasu travels on foot into the unknown, her face covered with a scarf to conceal her Japanese identity. With the unexpected support from strangers, she manages to reach a train station in Omaha, Nebraska. On the train bound for Minneapolis, Minnesota, a woman professor befriends Yasu and ultimately becomes an intricate part of Yasu’s dream-seeking adventure. With the professor’s support, Yasu struggles to rebuild her life in a community filled with painful anti-Japanese racism and discrimination. Days of defeat drag her down, but giving up is not an option. With courage and determination, Yasu forges on.
Grounded in thorough research, this historical fiction novel, Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph, engages readers in a young Japanese woman’s life during one of the darkest times of America’s history. It reveals the injustices thousands of Japanese American’s were forced to endure during and after WWII. Readers feel Yasu’s pain and rejoice in her successes. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph opens readers’ eyes to the damaging affects of prejudice and intolerance. At the same time it opens their hearts to the importance of accepting differences among us.
What Readers Are Saying
“While teens will be the likely readers of this novel, many an adult will find that Yasu’s Quest holds perspectives and details that are as enlightening as they are involving. It, along with its companion, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel, are thus highly recommended picks for any reader interested in a powerful, ultimately hopeful, view of World War II’s lasting effects on the Japanese in America.”
-Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph does exactly what historical fiction should do in that it raises meaningful issues while simultaneously staying historically accurate. More importantly, this book brings to light real history in a compelling way making it accessible to readers of all ages. Any young readers interested in or currently studying the events of World War II should consider reading Yasu’s Quest as a way to get a perspective on an often-overlooked part of U.S. history.”
-Reviewer Ben Green, Reader Views
About The Author