Friday, November 15, 2013

Tokyo Dare


Anne will be awarding a box filled with Japanese Chocolates (The main character in the book loves them.) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY).

The Rafflecopter is below!!!  

About the Book
Sixteen-year-old artist, Erin Van Horn, doesn’t know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll. But on a dare from her best friend, Tori Mukigawa, she wins a spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in the land of the rising sun, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with a host family from hell. Otosan, the father, stops speaking to her after she “murders” his favorite bonsai tree. The mother, Okasan, believes Erin’s evil because she’s left-handed and their son is an Elvis impersonator who is convinced Erin’s the spitting image of Priscilla if only she’d dye her blonde hair black, and become his child bride.

But Erin has a bigger problem than her crazy host family when she faces the ultimate dare from Tori—a to-do list.Racked with guilt for winning the spot that should have gone to her best friend, Erin is determined to complete the list. All she has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, (sure, there’s one on every street corner), apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, (no problem, they’ll be listed in the Tokyo Yellow Pages) and visit Tori’s long lost relatives to find out what’s hidden in the family closet. So what if the only words she knows in Japanese are, “Excuse me eat pretty idiot.” How hard could it be?


A Japanese guy in his early twenties with a mop of long hair and a goatee blocked my way. Dressed in a black leather jacket and skinny jeans, all he needed was a guitar, and the rocker look would be complete. I stood speechless. He was the kind of guy that never talked to me back home.

He stretched out his hand and said. “Names Kenzo.”

I managed to squeak out, “Erin…. Um… American who’s totally lost.” Just as I was about to let go of his hand, water dripped down my arm onto his watch.

“Hey, I know it’s a sizzling summer but you’re soaked.”

“I had a little accident with a water bottle.”

His eyes moved up and down my body like a scanner. “I can see that.”

His stare confirmed I still looked like a wet T-shirt contestant.

“I was headed to Seda Academy and got lost. I couldn’t find anyone who could speak English to help me. Until… you.”

“You don’t speak any Japanese?”

“Only five words.” I gave him a smile and said in Japanese, “Excuse me, eat pretty idiot.”

Review by Elyah
To me Anne Van's book Tokyo Dare was a well written but, it felt unfinished, it felt like there was more to the story then what she put down. Although I think any fifteen year old would enjoy this book.

Some of my favorite parts from the book are 'I gave him a smile and said in Japanese, “Excuse me, eat pretty idiot.” and “I’m happy to report the Mickey D’s is just ahead. By the way, the locals call it Macu Donudo. That’s Janglish.”

Meet the Author

Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in a national magazine and an award winning travel story about her time living in Tokyo, Japan. She has also published short fiction. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including one that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t.

Website  -  Blog  -  Facebook  -  Twitter  -  Tumblr


What is it about the YA novel genre that called to you?
I think part of me never grew up. : ) I like to explore things with wide-eyed innocence just like when I was in high school. When I travel to new places I just take it all in. I like to dive into life. When I’m writing I try to capture that feeling through my characters reactions to the places they see on their adventures.   

How has your writing career treated you so far?  What is one of your favorite highlights?
Once I felt I mastered the craft of writing I sent my work out to see what editors thought. First I sold an article to a major national magazine. Next, my first short story was published in The Best Women’s Travel Writing of 2011. Going Underground won the gold Sola award for best cultural travel story. It was great to receive such great recognition for my first short story. Last year I had a steampunk story, The Unseen Wonder, included in, Gaslight: A Golden Light Anthology. The publisher liked it so much that it was also published as it’s own stand-alone book in The Chimera Series. Next, I did several drafts of my first book, Tokyo Dare, and found an agent. It was published this year. My agent is currently shopping my second book, a YA fantasy, to publishers. So far no bites but have my fingers crossed as we just started the process. So overall I think I’m off to a great start. 

What would you do differently with this book, if you could, and what would you never change for the world?
I would have outlined the book instead of just diving in and writing it by the seat of my pants. Would have saved me at least two drafts. What I wouldn’t change is the fact the even though I had my own experiences to draw on, the book took on a life of it’s own. It took me a while to make friends when I was living in Japan as I lived very far from central Tokyo. But when I began writing the book, I wanted my character to have a support system right up front. So I gave her two wonderful friends. It was a lot of fun to be able to make my characters experiences very different from my own. That’s what I wouldn’t change.

What do you think was the largest influencing factor that pushes you as a writer?
The stories in my head. They just scream to be put on paper. I get ideas all the time. Some I just jot down and save for later, others I turn into short stories. For the bigger concept ideas, I’ll write an outline for so I can work on them later.

What was your inspiration for this project?
After getting back from living in Japan, I had so many funny stories to tell about my experiences. My friends kept saying I should write them down. It wasn’t until I had been working for a several years that I realized I needed to finally sit down and put them to paper. 

Do you have any other projects coming up that you are excited about?
I’m working on a fantasy about a girl who inherits a vase after her grandmother dies and discovers a genie inside. I love the possibilities of having a genie come into your life. I’m plotting the story out at the moment. It’s going to be a fun book to write.    

Who is(are) your favorite author(s)?
One of my favorites is Jane Austin. I just love the snark of some of her female leads like Elisabeth in Pride and Prejudice. She was so ahead of her time. For current authors I enjoy reading, John Green, Susan Collins, and for a light read Stephanie Perkins.


  1. Glad to participate. I've updated the post with the correct Rafflecopter too. :D

  2. How interesting that you attended university in Japan. Do all of your writings (and art) have a Japanese influence?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Great question Cahterine! I'm currently writing a fantasy so no not all my books are based in Japan. But next up I'll be working on book two of the Sushi Chronicles. Should be out in August.

      My art has a very Japanese sense of color and composition for sure. I really felt at home as an artist when I lived in Japan.

      Thanks again for the great question!


  3. I love all things Japanese, and this book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview Emily. Japan is a wonderful place!

  4. Thank you for having me as a guest! Great being here!

  5. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!
    Sounds like a great read!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com