Romance, Redemption, and Psychedelic Rock in 1989.
Sunday Morning is nineteen and recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She finds it fair: a deathly cancer to pay for her sins.
The fourth of five daughters, Sunday could never overcome the jealousy she felt for her sisters, especially the youngest and her Rett Syndrome with all the attention she required. She knows her resentment and rebellion as a wayward teen brought tragedy to her family, but never learned exactly the extent. Self-exiled in Brazil living a hard life of penitence for five years, she finally feels it’s possible to come back and try to mend things.
Scott Goodwin writes bestseller biographies and always dreamed of writing about his idol, Grandma’s Eye’s vocalist, Iris Morning. The singer and her husband, Douglas Oshiro, have been reclusive since 1984, when their famous psychedelic rock band announced a surprising halt. Scott is thrilled when Iris finally agrees to let him write the book and even more so when she explains why. She hopes the bio will help finding her daughter Sunday and rebuild her shattered family.
It is Sunday, however, who finds Scott. Still too mortified to face her family, she offers her story to Scott in exchange for inside information about them. Scott has no idea how intensely the deal will change their lives when he agrees.
Through her own family’s history, from the first Oshiros and Mornings, WWII impact on her ancestors and the struggle to form the band despite Iris’ abusive stepfather—the chain of events that led to the band’s success, the birth of a new generation, and the night that changed everything—Scott will try to show Sunday that nobody is perfect, and perhaps everything happens for a reason.
Sunday and Scott may not have much time, with her diagnosis and the fact that she doesn’t feel worthy of redemption, but he will not give up easily. Scott has become Sunday’s only link to the past, and perhaps her only chance to have a future.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love History, especially World War II, and the position Japanese descendants were in the US during and after that war. I found out that there’s nothing much written about that, and I felt like everyone should know about that period.
Also, Sunday Morning and Scott Goodwin just started telling me their stories, so I had to write about them.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
At first I came up with the name Sunday Morning, thinking it would be amazing to have someone actually named like that. She had to be the daughter of hippies with that name, and so the other daughters’ names appeared, along with their stories. Scott wouldn’t be such a major character, but once I started writing he demanded more and more attention.
I hear a whispered “Hi” in my right ear. It’s coming right from the passenger seat of my car.
Next thing I hear is a shriek, apparently coming from some scared little girl. Since there’s none to be seen, I shamefully recognize that I was the one who produced the sound. I cover my mouth with my hands to prevent any more embarrassing noises and to hold my heart, which is trying to escape from my chest through it.
“Who the hell are you? How did you get into my car?”
Okay, I must really be a spectacle now, screaming and yelling questions in a tiny voice, but she scared the hell out of me. I mean, who would expect to find a girl inside their car? Or anyone inside their car, for that matter.
She doesn’t answer me right away, apparently weighing what to say, or maybe how to approach me. It gives me time to really look at her, and I realize she’s not really a girl, but a very skinny young woman. Her hair is cut short like a boy’s, but in a very feminine style. She’s pretty, but clearly has seen better days; she is unhealthily thin and so filthy.
A notch calmer, my senses start to return, and I notice that she smells a little too. So here’s the situation: there’s a scruffy, smelly stranger inside my Corvette. A beautiful one, but still, a stranger, who is making my poor car stink. I’ll have to wash the seats. Well, maybe that’s not the point to focus on now—I still don’t know who she is or what she intends to do with me, but I can’t help but think about my beautiful leather seats getting tarnished.
“You scare easily,” she states in a voice so hoarse that it’s almost a whisper. She clears her throat and tries again, a bit stronger this time. “And scream like a girl.”
“Thanks. Next time I find a hobo inside my car I’ll try to be cool.”
She seems a little hurt by my calling her a hobo, and I regret saying it. It was uncalled for, I guess.
“I’m no hobo.” She looks at herself, capturing the state of her dirty clothes, the black under her nails, as if for the first time. “Well, I guess you can say that.”
Her voice is still low, but steadier. It’s as if she has not used it in a while and is relearning how to tone it. She looks at me and continues, “But you still scream like a girl.”
I look at her. I mean…I really look at her now. I take my time studying her face, her features. The oblique blue eyes—something you don’t see too often—the small nose, the full lips, the heart-shaped face. Her hair is somewhere beyond chocolate-brown, but still not black. I’ve seen this face before, but not exactly this face. I’ve seen her, or what she looked like in another time. What she looked like five years ago, in the last picture they had of her. I know my voice will acquire that unflattering high-pitch again but I don’t really care this time.
“You are… you’re Sunday Morning!”
Renata F. Barcelos lives in Brazil with her teenager daughter, Maria, constantly complaining about the heat and dreaming of moving somewhere snowy.
She has a Law Degree, but promises never to use it. She prefers to study and teach languages and to write. Facing a three-hour daily commute, Renata uses this time to listen to audiobook after audiobook, plot, and write. Sometimes she hurts herself walking and writing at the same time–forgetting to look where she’s going.
Her characters usually don’t respect her wishes, taking the stories to places she never imagined they could go; she loves it when that happens.
Renata is always working on a new novel, and so far has published the books Mean, My Sore Hush-a-By, Merge, and the Myself in Blue series.
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