Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Interview with Jame DiBiasio, author of “Gaijin Cowgirl”

 Where did the idea come from for the book?
Thanks for the question. “Gaijin Cowgirl” emerged from many ideas, all based on my living and travelling in Asia, a passion for history, a curiosity about the cultures around me, and a love of action and adventure. But to give you one solid example, a well known tragedy occurred in Japan at a period when I was spending a lot of time there, involving a foreign woman working as a nightclub hostess who disappeared.  That was the spark on the kindling of other ideas simmering in my head at the time.
What genre does your book fall under?
“Gaijin Cowgirl” is a thriller. It would comfortably sit as noir or action/adventure, or anything ‘international’, for an American or otherwise English-speaking audience.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Fun question. The protagonist is Val Benson, a beautiful honey-haired, brown-eyed American twenty-something. I did have a movie star in mind when I created this character: Sharon Stone, circa her “Basic Instinct” days. I’m dating myself, and Ms. Stone, but not any blonde bombshell could play Val. She has to have a toughness to her. Val’s best friend is Suki, a Japanese hostess. There are many beautiful Japanese actresses but in looks they often tend toward either the cutie-pie or the porn star, and Suki is neither. Google “Mirei Kiritani” or “Rosa Kano” for looks that work for Suki.

Val’s boyfriend, Charlie, a lawyer, is half Chinese, half Irish-American. It’s a shame that I can’t think of any Chinese-American male movie stars who would look good in a suit and silk tie, they’re generally typecast as triads. John Cho and Daniel Dae Kim are prominent American actors but they’re ethnically Korean and probably too hunky anyway. Suki falls in love with Simon, an English kickboxer – a compact, moonfaced fighter, not a beauty. Dominic Monaghan from “Lost” could work, with a buzzcut.

Takeshi Kaneshiro I Found this guy Jame, perfect for the role of Charlie **smile**

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a wealthy client with a dark past reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favorite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book was published by Crime Wave Press, an Asian-based publisher that specializes in Asian-themed noir and crime fiction.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I can’t quite remember. It involved steamy nights in a very clapped-out apartment in Hong Kong. Probably two years for the first draft, plus lots of tinkering afterward.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
“Gaijin Cowgirl” happened because I couldn’t find a novel that told the story that I wanted to read. There are a few Asian thrillers and noirs that I suppose bear comparison: John Burdett’s incredible Bangkok police procedurals, the rather trashy “Big Mango” by Jake Needham. But the literary influences behind “Gaijin Cowgirl” are American noir and hardboiled (Chandler, Ellway, Leonard) and British espionage (Fleming, Greene, Le Carré).
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Living in Asia for a writer is like giving a sugar addict the keys to the cookie jar. The stuff that happens in real life around this region is far more interesting, weird or surprising than anything I could put into a novel.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

“Gaijin Cowgirl” is entertainment, but it draws on a lot of history and real events. Most notably it ties Japanese military crimes during WW2 regarding the enslavement of ‘comfort women’ to modern-day human trafficking and prostitution. It also explores some of the US government’s complicity in the darker episodes of recent Asian history. This is all in the background – a novel should be fun, not a lecture – but it gives the story and the characters the gravity required to make “Gaijin Cowgirl” a lot more than just a beach read.

Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a client with a rather unusual hobby – painting the private parts of his female liaisons – reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favorite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt.
The Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: Yakuza, bent cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail, snapping at her high heels.
So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. From comfort women and tomb-raiding in Japanese-occupied Burma to the murderous echoes of the Vietnam War, long forgotten crimes come roaring back to life, as Val leaves a trail of destruction and chaos in her wake.
Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. Finding the treasure before everyone else does is her only hope for survival, and perhaps redemption. 
My review

Buy Links: Amazon

Gaijin Cowgirl Web Friendly Tour Schedule
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