Author Spotlight: JUAN TAKAI (Translated by Toshiya Kamei)

 

Hi everyone, today’s Author Spotlight has been kindly translated by a wonderful supporter of our projects, Toshiya Kamei. He translated about 15 of the drabbles in our latest anthology (see below) and has introduced many new contributors to Insignia Stories. He’s a star!

Enjoy the interview,

~Kelly~

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We are pleased to introduce Juan Takai, who has contributed the following three pieces to Japanese Fantasy Drabbles: “The Inevitable End,” “One Day at Takamagahara,” and “Nuclear Life.”

Here’s his write-up on the anthology (in Japanese): https://hametuha.com/news/article/45306/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Juan Takai was born in 1994 in Saitama to a Japanese father and a Paraguayan mother. Since high school, he has engaged in anti-establishment, anti-censorship activism. A regular contributor to the literary magazine Hametuha, he published Konketsu terror and Tenran konketsu under the name Juan B. He is the author of Senzen fukei hatsugen taizen and Senzen hansen hatsugen taizen, which collect anti-emperor and anti-war sentiments of ordinary citizens in pre-war Japan. Most recently, he authored the YA fantasy chapbook Kinō no mura. He’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreatJuanism

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

1. Author Name/s: Juan Takai (a.k.a. Juan B.)
2. Years active as a writer: Approximately 8 years
3. What genre/s you write: My recurrent themes include miscegenation in Japan and politics. My favorite genres are science fiction and comedy
4. Favorite genre to write: Many of my recent short stories contain sci-fi elements.
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like short stories, up to 20,000 characters in Japanese.
6. Your nationality: Alas, Japanese . . .
7. Country you live in: Japan, in spite of it all.
8. Number of Asian countries visited: Only Japan, unless Tokyo Disneyland counts as another.
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): See my answer above.
10. Favorite places in Asia (visited): Shinjuku, Akihabara, Kawagoe, Morioka, and Ōizumi-machi (Gunma), among others.
11. Places you want to visit in Asia: China, the Korean Peninsula, India
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Chinese
13. Favorite Asian dishes: Sushi, fried rice, grilled unagi
14. Favorite Asian movies (any genre): The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), Akira (1988)
15. Favorite Asian authors (any genre): Among my favorite authors are Shūsaku Endō and Kenzaburō Ōe. My favorite mangakas include Takashi Nemoto and Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira.
16. Favorite Asian celebrities: My heroes tend to be anarchists: Kenzo Okuzaki (1920-2005), Pak Yol (1902-1974), and Fumiko Kaneko (1903-1926).
17. Best thing about being a writer: Writers, especially minorities, gain the opportunity to create traces of our existence and thoughts that will live on in this world after we are gone.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: Inextricably related to the previous question, we increasingly tend to become involved in events and incidents that may not personally concern us.
19. Day writer or night writer: I prefer to write at night, even though it may cause inconvenience to many people, especially those living with me.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): Who can resist the guilty pleasure of gobbling a bag of potato chips? Admittedly, I have a weakness for artery-clogging junk food. I struggle at times with my cravings for Funyuns, but, alas, it’s no longer available in Japan.
21. Number of short stories submitted each month (av): For now, I can handle only a few short pieces. After working on a pair of tomes totaling 1,200 pages in the last few years, I need to recharge my creative batteries.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Publib and Tokyo Kirara are so great to work with. I’d also love to work with large publishers such as Iwanami, Kodansha, and, someday, Penguin Books. One can only hope . . .
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter (@GreatJuanism)
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: I’ve had experience with both.
25. Currently working on: I’m juggling multiple works-in-progress. Here’s my small but growing portfolio, short stories translated by Toshiya Kamei:

“Desde un país sin gafas” (in Spanish):
https://www.nagarimagazine.com/desde-un-pais-sin-gafas-juan-takai-traduccion-de-toshiya-kamei/

“A Country with No Glasses”: https://acrossthemargin.com/a-country-with-no-glasses/

“Planet Ape”: https://acrossthemargin.com/planet-ape/

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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR 

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of Latin American literature include books by Claudia Apablaza, Liliana Blum, Carlos Bortoni, Selfa Chew, and Leticia Luna.

He has translated stories in Insignia: Asian Fiction & Poetry, Japanese Fantasy Drabbles, and the upcoming Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles.

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Japanese Fantasy Drabbles is out now! 

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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzo9kj

The cover is also in All Authors’ Monthly Cover Contest. We’d appreciate your vote! (Link goes to the voting page).

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Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles is open too. Get your drabbles in by June 15!

Details on the Submissions Page. 

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STAY SAFE…STAY HOME…READ ALL THE BOOKS!!!

 

Author Spotlight: J.M. WONG

 

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having a great week.

Today I’d like to introduce another new Insignia Stories contributor, J.M. Wong. She has 3 stories in the ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ anthology: ‘At the Dinner Table’, ‘Hate Us, Never Love Us’, and ‘Lost, but Found’.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JM WONG: Born and raised in Hong Kong. Never ever lived in an English-speaking country for more than half a year but insisted on writing her books in English in hopes of sharing her stories with people all over the world. She’s also an English teacher who graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a degree in English Language and Literature and Education. She published her first book-Under Her Cursed Scythe in 2018.
Her blog: https://jollymollywongwriter.wordpress.com/

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

1. Author Name/s: J.M. Wong
2. Years active as a writer: Eight years
3. What genre/s you write: Fantasy, magic realism
4. Favorite genre to write: Fantasy
5. Favorite length of story to write: around 5000 words
6. Your nationality: Hong Kong, China
7. Country you live in: Hong Kong, China
8. Number of Asian countries visited: 6
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): Taiwan
10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): Taipei
11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: Korea
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Sashimi
13. Favorite Asian dish: Topokki (Korean Rice Cake)
14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (Korean
Movie)
15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): Goblin: Lonely and Great God (Korean TV drama)
16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Korean Actress Park Min Young
17. Best thing about being a writer: You have another world (the imaginary world) for
you to escape your problems and harsh reality for a little while.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: You can never sleep well because the best ideas
always strike when you try to sleep
19. Day writer or night writer: Night
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): popcorn & coffee
21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 1-2
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Penguin Publishing Group
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Instagram (@J.M.Wong)
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Self-published
25. Currently working on: my second book of my novel series: The Blessed or Cursed
Series & a short story for an anthology.

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J.M. Wong’s novel, Under a Cursed Scythe is available now from Book Depository!

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And if you haven’t checked out Insignia Drabbles Vol.1. ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ yet, it’s available from most ebook retailers now for just US.99c! 

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Want to write for Insignia Drabbles Vol.2.? Submissions open May 1st! Theme is Southeast Asian fantasy. Check out the Submissions Page for details.

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Author Spotlight: SHEENAH FREITAS

 

After a short break, our Author Spotlight Series is back! Meet one of our regular short story contributors, Sheenah Freitas. Sheenah also has micro pieces in our soon-to-be-released Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology!

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A geek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.

Sheenah works as a freelance book designer and works with both authors and publishers. Some of her clients have been The Sun, CoSchedule, and Dave Jesiolowski. You can learn more about her work as a book designer at papercranebooks.com.

Website: http://www.Sheenahfreitas.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas

Facebook: http://facebook.com/SheenahFreitasAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheenahfreitas/

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS 

1. Author Name/s: Sheenah Freitas
2. Years active as a writer: 6-ish? I took some time off, but I’ve been working in the publishing industry in some capacity for 10 years now.
3. What genre/s you write: I mostly write YA, speculative, and literary.
4. Favorite genre to write: Young adult
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like shorter works because of that instant gratification, but nothing beats the elated feeling of finishing a full-length novel.
6. Your nationality: American
7. Country you live in: USA
8. Number of Asian countries visited: 0
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): N/A
10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): N/A
11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: South Korea
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Korean
13. Favorite Asian dish: 갈비(Galbi) with a side of 김밥(Gimbap)
14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Spirited Away.
15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (but The Joy Luck Club comes in at a very close second).
16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Lucy Liu
17. Best thing about being a writer: Creating these vast new worlds and experiencing things in other people’s shoes. I love that someone can just go in and escape their own world for even just a little bit because of something I wrote.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: The first draft and imposter syndrome.
19. Day writer or night writer: I do my best writing in the morning. Despite that, I find myself writing a lot during in the evenings.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): In the colder months, I prefer hot beverages like citron tea and hot cocoa. In the warmer months, I’m usually sipping on a matcha latte or a chai latte.
21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): I don’t actively submit.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Flash Fiction Online, The Sun, Fox Spirit Books, Cast of Wonders, and World Weaver Press.
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook (groups, to be exact).
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Self-published
25. Currently working on: The third novel in my trilogy and a fairytale retelling.

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Stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:
‘The Third Eye’ (Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy)
‘Untouchable’ (Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories)

Stories Included in the Insignia Drabbles Anthologies:
‘The Water Child’, ‘And Keiko Went Missing’, and ‘The Time Kazuo Was Kidnapped by Aliens’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles)

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COMING SOON!

JFD-COVER-2020

Check out the full list of contributors to our Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology here!

 

The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Also we are still looking to publish Asian fantasy/scifi poems once a month here on the blog. Reprints are welcome. Full details here on our Instincts Submissions  Page.

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November News: Submissions are closed! Thank you!

NEWS

Submission Calls

Submissions for ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ are officially closed. I want to say a big thank you to all the contributing authors for submitting such a fantastic selection of drabbles. Otsukaresama desu!

I’ll probably write a post in December about the submission call, for those who are curious about the data and behind-the-scenes work involved in this project.

AS for new anthology calls, I’ll try to make a decision about that before the end of December too. I can say that the next anthology will be for short stories and offer a token payment as we have done in the past. Then perhaps we’ll do another drabble anthology after that…

For the poets, we’re always open for Asian Speculative poems. I’m really hoping to see some submissions from Asian writers for next year–please add us to your submissions list for 2020!

Details on our Instincts poetry series are here

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Site Updates

This past week, I made some changes to this site and some of our social media accounts. There’s a new profile logo, and I’ve changed the site name to Insignia Stories where possible. This is because the new drabble anthology will be the first in its own series, Insignia Drabbles Vol.1, Vol.2, etc. So the main site name will be Insignia Stories, and The Insignia Series will continue to be the series name for the anthologies we’ve done. Hopefully that’s clear!

Here on the site, I re-organized the menus and made a few drop-down listings which should make things easier to find. I’ll be putting up a new ABOUT page and one for the drabble anthology very soon, so that will have all the contributors name on it as well.

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Story Recommendation

I read a quite disturbing (in an awesome way) horror story recently, featuring a Japanese woman as the main character. It was written by Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy contributor, Eliza Chan and is published online at Three Crows Magazine.

I highly recommend it!

Link: ‘Knowing Your Type’ by Eliza Chan

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Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to our North American writers and readers 🙂

~Kelly Matsuura~