Meet the Festival of Words authors: Gail Tsukiyama |

Meet the Festival of Words authors: Gail Tsukiyama

Deb Luginbuhl

The 2004 Festival of Words is fast approaching with the festivities kicking off on Friday, April 16. The Booklovers’ Wellness Weekend offers participants the chance to meet nationally recognized authors and hear their stories. The 2004 Festival of Words is a three-day event beginning with a Wine and Wit evening of poetry on Friday, April 16, and followed by an Afternoon with Authors on Saturday, April 17. A Footnote Breakfast with the authors will cap off the weekend on Sunday, April 18. The weekend events will be held at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, with special rates. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Vail Symposium at 476-0954 or visit

In order for participants to get to know the authors before the event, the Vail Daily will be featuring an interview with each author every Friday in the weeks leading up to the festival.

Meet Gail Tsukiyama:

With more than 700,000 copies of her books in print, Gail Tsukiyama is one of today’s most evocative and perceptive authors. Her critically acclaimed best-selling novels, “Women of the Silk,” “The Samurai’s Garden,” “Night of Many Dreams” and “The Language of Threads,” have become favorites of reading groups and booksellers across the country.

While her books have primarily been set in Asia during WWII, “Dreaming Water,” her most recent book, is her first contemporary novel set in the United States. It tells the story of a mother and daughter who, with the help of a lifelong friend, face one of life’s most extraordinary challenges. Born to a Chinese mother and Japanese father in San Francisco, Tsukiyama currently resides in El Cerrito, Calif.

1. How did you start writing?

Writing grew out of my love of reading, and later, from my love of movies. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of telling a story, of using the power of words to transport a reader to another world. I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing – mostly poetry and short stories when I was a young teenager.

2. Is there a particular author, past or present, who has influenced your writing?

Growing up, I loved the confined complexities of Jane Austen, and presently, I’m inspired by the wonderful use of language by author Louise Erdrich.

3. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I love to travel! It’s pure inspiration to see new places and experience other ways of living.

4. If you could trade places with one famous person for a day, who would it be and why?

Mother Teresa. To experience how it is to overcome fear and give love unconditionally to those who need it most.

5. What is your best personal quality?


6. What is your most aggravating habit?

I can’t stand having dishes sitting in the sink. I have to wash and put away everything right away. (Even when they’re not finished being used yet!)

7. Finish this sentence: My favorite way to waste time is …

…watching movies.

8. If your house were on fire, what would you try to save and why?

All the humans and animals first, followed by photographs and the disk that holds the book I’m currently writing. All are irreplaceable.

9. What is the worst job you ever had?

Cleaning out mayonnaise jars at a sandwich shop.

10. If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I would love to be a doctor if I were smart enough. You can tell by the diseases that populate my books!

11. If you won the lotto, what would you do?

Keep writing and traveling and create a Young Writer’s Award.

12. Finish this sentence: People might be surprised that I…

…would love to learn carpentry and build a house.

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