Jana McBurney-Lin and Hi-Dong Chai, authors of Blossoms and Bayonets, on tour May 2014

Posted By on March 4, 2014

Blossoms and BayonetsAbout Blossoms and Bayonets

• Paperback: 316 pages
• Publisher: Redwood Publishing (May 12, 2013)

Hi-Dong Chai and Jana McBurney-Lin, the award-winning author of My Half of the Sky, turn their hands to a remarkable story of a family and country torn apart by outside forces.

The time is 1942, the place is Japanese-occupied Seoul, Korea. Since occupation, the Japanese have eradicated the Korean language, names, even the country’s flower. Emperor-worship has become mandatory. Now the occupiers seek Korean boys as volunteers for their army.

Fifteen-year old He-Seung is full of fire and ready to confront these invaders…if only he could convince Father. But Father, one of the first Christian ministers in the city, is more concerned with saving his flock. When Father is arrested for his Christian faith, He-Seung must swallow his hatred of the enemy and volunteer for the army. Even harder, he must leave his mother and baby brother He-Dong to fend for themselves.

Blossoms and Bayonets is based on the true story of co-author Hi-Dong Chai, and is filled with the tense atmosphere of the 40’s. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to WWII in the Pacific.

Praise for Blossoms and Bayonets

Impossible to put down—or to forget—authors’ grippingly suspenseful and deeply affecting historical novel limns the lives of a Korean family under Japanese rule with astonishing grace and power. –Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of Pictures of You.

Riveting internal dialogue and narration interspersed with quotes from those running the war efforts on various fronts combine to compel the reader forward. I say compel rather than propel, because I had to read. I had to know how this family and those around them would fare in the end.—Keri Rojas, bookseller at Cornerstone Cottage, Hampton, IA.

It’s a harrowing tale, and one definitely worth reading. Clifford Garstang, former Korean resident, author of What the Zhang Boys Know

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Jana McBurney-LinAbout Jana McBurney-Lin

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent over half my adult life in Asia (Japan/Singapore). While I had gone to Japan to learn the language and become an indispensable business woman, I discovered I was more interested in sharing stories about this new culture. I wrote and edited fictional stories as well as non-fiction articles for magazines/journals/newspapers in seven countries.  I also met my husband, a native of southern China. During one of our trips home to his village I ran up against another compelling story, this time one that deserved more space than an article would offer.

Chairman Mao said, “Women hold up half the sky.”  My Half of the Sky (KOMENAR, 2006) is the story of a contemporary young woman who is trying to be modern–to hold up her half of the sky–but the traditions of her village keep pulling her back. While the narrative takes place in China and Singapore, the theme is one which resonates with audiences everywhere. How do we reconcile traditions with the modern momentum of our society?

My Half of the Sky was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award for Popular Fiction, receiving Notable Mention in Eric Hoffer’s Best New Fiction Awards and Honorable Mention for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the year. The title was chosen as a Forbes Book Club Pick and an ABA BookSense Pick of the Month.

While signing books at a writers’ conference, a Korean engineer approached me saying, “Your book reminds me of old Korea. Will you help me tell my story?” Hi-Dong Chai grew up in Seoul during WWII, as the son of one of the first Christian ministers in the country. This was a double-edged sword. Their family was always under persecution, but at the same time they had faith in the new day.

Blossoms and Bayonets (Redwood Publishing, 2013) is based on the true story of co-author Hi-Dong Chai, and is filled with the tense atmosphere of the 40’s. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to WWII in the Pacific. It currently is pending an award from the National Historical Society. Said former Korean resident and author, Clifford Garstang, “It’s a harrowing tale and one definitely worth reading.”

I live with my husband and our four children in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California.

Jana’s Tour Stops

Monday, May 12th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, May 14th: Priscilla and Her Books

Thursday, May 22nd: Open Book Society

Tuesday, May 27th: The many thoughts of a reader

Thursday, May 29th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, June 4th: WildmooBooks

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