BIG IN JAPAN
Buck Cooper is Texan, obese, and invisible to his colleagues. And to the voluptuous Allison Turner, the girl of his dreams, he is way below par. Buck's entire life is about fitting in, a feat he's been struggling to achieve but has never succeeded. Until serendipity lands him in Japan. Right in the middle of a sumo match.
As his life takes a new turn in a country where being big can mean fame and fortune, Buck must embark on the most dangerous, yet adventurous ride of his life—to find the ultimate meaning of love and acceptance. Even if it means risking his life and giving up everything he has.
Big in Japan, a novel by Jennifer Griffith, is set to release on July 21, 2012. It is a novel that takes the reader into the heart of sumo in Japan. Using humor in her narrative, Griffith seamlessly juxtaposes the human drama behind Japan's national sport with one man's pursuit of love and acceptance.
Format: Harcover, Paperback
Publication Date: July 28, 2012
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press, LLC
Big in Japan by Jennifer Griffith is a must read! I love Jennifer's books, they are always feel good stories and I knew I would like her newest addition. What I didn't expect was to fall in love with a 400 lb Texan who goes to Japan and decides to take up Sumo Wrestling. This book will take the reader into a world of Sumo Wrestling where only the big survive. This aspect of the book alone makes it unique and intriguing. But when you add a character like Buck Cooper to that, your heart grows a little bit bigger to hold this lovable blonde Sumo Wrestler!
–Mormon Mommy Writers
In "Big In Japan," Griffith weaves a delightfully entertaining tale of change, bravery and true love in the life of a lonely young man trying to overcome an austere and challenging environment.
—Mike Whitmer, Deseret News.
"Griffith gives us a different picture of Japan than most of us have previously seen. This is not the cherry blossoms and tea houses version, but the crowded shops, strange food, political maneuvering, and grunginess of that country's national sport. Murder, blackmail, and danger create an intense plot that will keep many readers on the edge of their chairs or burning the lights far into the night."
—Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine.
"Jennifer takes the reader to the streets of Japan: the smells, the sights, the food, the people and immerses you in the precarious world of Sumo, something most of us know very little about."
—Teri Harman, Book Matters
"Ms. Griffith gives Buck a hefty dose of action, peril, bigotry both at home and abroad, moral dilemmas and romantic quandaries. She gives him successes and failures big and small right up to the last page. Her in-depth exploration of the hidden world of sumo wrestling, its traditions, culture and scandals both intrigues and enlightens."
—Penny Freeman, Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind.
"While Big in Japan does touch on some of the modern criticisms and controversies in sumo wrestling, at its heart it's a love story with coming of age themes told with a humorous, light touch. It's Buck's story of leaving home in order to find his true self. Westerners will get a taste of some of the cultural differences and an idea of what it takes to be a sumo wrestler, but it's Buck's inner and outer transformation combined with his hilarious inner monologue that's the draw here. Griffith sometimes compares her books to cotton candy—something sweet, light, frothy, enjoyed, and gone, but I think this novel has more weight behind it, more like a makizushi meal than a simple sweet treat."
—Lehua Parker, author of One Boy, No Water.
"Big in Japan is big on laughs, landscapes, and love. The main character is enjoyable and relatable and makes you wish you could give him a big teddy bear hug. Whether or not obesity and sumo are in the reader's future, the main character's struggle with his self-image, self-loathing, and personal courage, will strike a familiar chord."
—Erin McBride, Associate Editor of Meridian Magazine
"Quick and highly entertaining. With both a great sense of humor and insight into those moments that make life so unpredictable, Jennifer writes with a style that is as rare as it is endearing. Sure to be a hit!"
—Chris Stewart, NYT bestselling author of The Miracle of Freedom.
"Jennifer Griffith's fun, fresh, new story spins a new twist on the rise from invisibility to super star. With an unlikely hero who becomes surprisingly likable, Big in Japan had me cheering right to the very end. Two thumbs up!"
—Donna Hatch,award-winning author of The Guise of a Gentleman.
"All of the action in this book continues to strongly build right up to the final match and the perfect, happy ending. The author collects up all loose ends, forming them into a perfect bow and making sure that the ending is satisfying to the reader on every level."
—Blogging on Books.
AUTHOR Q & A
1.) When did you start writing or aspire to be a writer?
I started writing pretty young, keeping a journal from the time I was about eight. It's nice to have something to look back to confirm timeframes of events, and to see my own growth. Not only that, but there's a solidity in having a record of my life. I'm thinking of the time I lost a journal, one from the year my first daughter was born. I looked and looked, and while I searched, panic rose in me: "How can I prove I was alive?"
In college I studied writing, but it was technical writing, and it wasn't until my final quarter of my senior year that I took a creative writing class. The professor was Dr. Tom Lyon, who inspired many students. Writing creatively gave me so much freedom! I saved the essays I wrote for that class. When I had my first child, I was at home all day, and my husband encouraged me to get writing. A pastime turned into a near-obsession.
2.) What inspired you to write Big In Japan?
During college I took an 18-month break and did voluntary service as a missionary in Japan. The whole culture was so exotic, so vastly different from my life growing up on a farm in Idaho—and I loved it. The people were generous, warm, and serious about the things they cared about, one of which was sumo wrestling. One evening I was riding in a car with some Japanese people, and their radio was on, and they were listening to the play-by-play of a sumo match featuring the famous Takanohana. Even the teenage girls got into it.
Years later, I was hashing out writing ideas with my husband (who is my muse, always and forever), and told him about that day, and he said what a good idea it would be to tell a love story about an American guy who went to Japan and became a sumo wrestler. From there, it festered in my brain for several months until eventually it became Big in Japan.
3.) How long did it take you to write it?
I started writing Big in Japan at a writer's retreat in the Arizona mountains in the summer of 2009, and it took several months to complete the first draft. Figuring out the final knockout was the trickiest part. From there it went through seven or eight rewrites before I finally started the query process in September of 2011.
4.) Do you have any expectations of your book? What are they?
Sure. I'd love it if readers come away with a better appreciation and understanding of sumo wrestling—even a respect for it. We Americans sometimes joke about it, and I think in a way it's a case of "we ridicule that which we don't understand." I know before I took a deeper look at the sport, I was as ignorant as anyone, snickering at the big guys in diapers. However, studying it has turned me into a fan. It's truly an awesome spectacle. I hope, too, that the readers will love the setting and feel like they're there in Japan, can experience the wonder of the amazing culture and place it is.
Two, I would love it if readers can be swept away by the characters and the plot of the story, and that when they're finished reading they'll feel happy and satisfied, like they've just eaten a delicious slice of vanilla cream pie. I hope readers love Buck and his courage and his journey to becoming a better version of his good self, and that they find Chocho compelling and can root for her happiness as well.
5.) How would you describe success as a writer?
A successful writer. Well, it means a lot more than sales, although in order to be as successful in a wide-reaching manner that's definitely key. A successful writer is one who gives the reader's life added value, and by added value (which is a lame phrase, I'll admit) I mean a greater appreciation for something they'd never understood before, takes the reader somewhere new, and so forth. If just one little phrase a writer creates can lodge in a reader's brain and give him or her courage in the darkness, or strength or humor in down times, that's a success.
I remember an interaction after I wrote my first novel, which was a story of five girlfriends and how each met the love of her life. The main character was still waiting for hers, and the story goes from there. Anyway, one day a young woman I knew came to me after getting dumped by her boyfriend, and she told me she'd re-read my book and it helped her realize that she could wait for the guy who made her whole, and that she didn't just have to take the first guy who fell in love with her, or beg for the wrong guy to come back to her. Wow, I thought. That's success. It's worth the hours slaving over edits and rewrites and having a messy house for weeks on end.
What advice would you give young and aspiring writers in writing and publishing?
I think the phrase that's been going around my writers group lately is "words on the page." Put words on the page. Get them down there. Lots of them. Tinker with them until you've got them right, until they speak in your voice and say what you want them to say. Editing is where the work of writing comes in. The first draft is almost never good enough.
Also, read, obviously. I believe that reading books, good books, creates connections in the mind that help writers know how to put words together.
Another thing that has helped me grow a lot is to find a great "how to" book. Lately the one I have loved is Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. It's the best thing I've read on how to put together a novel.
JULY 27, 2012
Pre-launch signing at Preston Citizen. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
77 South State
Preston Idaho 83263
JULY 28, 2012
Book launch party at Weller Book Works. 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
665 E 600 S (Trolley Square)
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
AUGUST 18, 2012
Book signing at Bookworms
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
2650 W. Highway 70 in Thatcher, AZ
AUGUST 31, 2012
Book signing at Scottsdale Barnes & Noble
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Scottsdale Fiesta Shopping Center
10500 N. 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
SEPTEMBER 1, 2012
Book signing at Flagstaff Barnes & Noble
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
701 S. Milton Rd
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
NOVEMBER 2, 2012
Book signing at Layton Barnes & Noble
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Layton Market Center
1780 North Woodland Park Drive
Layton, UT 84041
NOVEMBER 3, 2012
Signing at King's English Bookshop 7:00p.m.
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
NOVEMBER 10, 2012
Signing at Latter-Day Cottage
10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
2820 E University Dr # 102
Mesa, AZ 85213-8505
NOVEMBER 14, 2012
Author Meet and Greet at the
Safford Library, Safford, AZ
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
DECEMBER 8, 2012
Signing at Latter-Day Cottage
In conjunction with LDS Living
2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
7012 East Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85710
JULY 28, 2012
"Don't Write What You Know."
AUGUST 3, 2012
Teri Harman's Book Matters.
AUGUST 8, 2012
Adrienne Monson's Blog.
AUGUST 17, 2012
Terron James's Blog.
AUGUST 24, 2012
Christopher Loke's Blog.
AUGUST 31, 2012
Lehua Parker's Blog.
September 7, 2012
Elsie Park's Blog.
September 14, 2012
Liesel Hill's Blog.
September 21, 2012
Amie Borst's Blog.
September 28, 2012
Penny Freeman's Blog.
To contact Jennifer Griffith or to schedule an interview or appearance, please get in touch with her publicist, Kirk Cunningham, at email@example.com.