War hysteria: Japanese Internment during WW II

On my research for my next novel, Myself in Blue (soon to be released), I had the great opportunity to learn more about many historical and medical subjects. One of the most compelling and interesting ones was the history  of Japanese descendants living in the United States before, during and after WWII.

Their position was difficult after Pearl Harbor; the general public didn’t believe their loyalty to America, and the government decided not to risk and send many to War Relocation Camps. Without trials, without investigations. They were just removed.

Sixty-two percent of the internees were American citizens. There weren’t camps for German or Italian descendants.

Not only there was little to no evidence of Japanese disloyalty, but also thousands of patriotic brave Japanese descendants were essential in the US Army then. Serving in all branches of the United States Armed Forces, those men fought, translated and interpreted for the US. Their efforts were extremely important to the end of the war.

It took them a long time, but after much pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Ronald Reagan in 1980 signed into law the Civil Liberties Act, finally officially apologizing on behalf of the U.S. government.
$20,000 to each individual camp survivor was paid as reparation, in a total of over $1.6 billion to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.

As the legislation later admitted, the actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.

There are three very interesting documentaries on YouTube about those topics I wanted to share with you. Let’s learn more about this shameful subject, hoping nothing similar will ever happen again.

Some details about the controversial Japanese War Camps in the US during WWII can be seen on:

To learn about the pivotal participation of Japanese-Americans in the US Army in WWII, watch:

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Round Two Entrants Announced!

So I decided to enter Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest this year with My Sore Hush-a-Bye. (which, by the way, is only U$ 0,99 until this Friday, March 21!!)

I had amazing help from great and generous writers on this thread, and ended up with this pitch (boy, how maddening it is to write a pitch!):

Ever since her mother left Camille in Uncle Bob’s care with a short note, she has been kept locked inside. In this throwback world, Uncle Bob’s her only companion, breaking her the way he wants: old music, old movies, and the weird games he likes to play. Convinced by his claims of love and protection, she learned to love and accept this sheltered life, letting him become her whole world. 
 
Now a teenager, her desires to leave the house and be free are long gone, but Uncle Bob seems tired of her; she’s too old for everything, and he rarely plays with her anymore.  
 
Terrified, she’s sent to public school, facing brutal bullying and feelings of inadequacy. The only bit of hope is a thirteen-year-old girl who apparently enjoys her company and doesn’t look down on her clothes, her hair, her black skin; Ashley. Despite her fears, Camille starts a friendship. Then Ashley goes missing, and the guilt of perhaps knowing what happened is unbearable.  
 
Albeit replaced and not loved anymore, she’s still loyal to Uncle Bob, staying silent until he hits her for the first time. After eight years of seclusion, she’ll have to rethink everything and maybe find help. Finally allowing herself to think about her mother again, somehow she will have to find the strength to do the right thing.  
 
Is it possible to wake up after so long, understand what really happened to her, to Ashley, to her mother? Is it possible to overcome so much? 
 
MY SORE HUSH-A-BYE touches some dark and heart-wrenching themes, wishing they only existed in fiction. Unfortunately, many kids are suffering like Camille, and the novel tries to give a voice to those helpless children.

I liked it so much I actually changed my blurb at Amazon by a shorter, less revealing version of the pitch. And how surprised was I this morning, downloading the PDF with the top entries from my category – General Fiction, and finding my name in the ‘R’ section? Well, this much:

 

surprise

 

That’s it! My Sore Hush-a-Bye made it!From 10.000 pitches, only 2.000 made it through, and mine was one of them. I guess I can be pretty proud of myself, and immensely grateful to the help I found on the Pitch thread. I’d never made it without the advice I got there. Thank you so much. And congratulations to all who passed too. To those who didn’t, keep writing, please. There’s so much talent on you all, and your stories need to be told.

Now it’s time to drink all the tea I can find to calm down and wait for April 14, when the Top 500 (Semi-Finalists) will be announced.

See all Round Two Entrants

P.S. – On a side note, I’m never posting anymore because I’m writing like crazy (well, when the bursitis allow it :D) and Myself in Blue’s first draft is finished and in revision right now! Soon I’ll post more about it here.