Tuesday, February 1, 2011

History, Her Story, Their Story

February is the month for lovers! Later this month we'll celebrate Valentine's Day. Since I write historical romance, I thought I'd dig into some history - my family history. Not everybody has material for a blockbuster hit in their background, but the inspiration can come from the circumstances that bring people together. So I though I’d take a look at some of the couples in the Kiyono clan.

My dad's parents were immigrants to the United States. They both came from Japan, but they came at different times, and ended up working for the same furniture manufacturer as artists. It wasn't love at first sight. Actually, my grandmother was married to another artist. But then her husband died, and my grandfather was there to console his fellow countrywoman. There were problems - grandpa was descended from a shogun, a noble Japanese family. Grandma came from a poor farming family in the rural northern part of the country. But somehow they overcame the social stigma and made a life for themselves in their new country. With a few tweaks, I could probably work this into a story.

My dad grew up here, but during World War II he experienced a lot of prejudice from his fellow countrymen. He went to Korea and fought for his country, and then stopped in Japan to learn more about the nation of his parents. He met a young secretary in his office building. Her family wasn't wild about her marrying an American, even though he looked Japanese (her dad had fought in the second world war and REALLY didn't like the idea). But they did. And here I am.

My in-laws met during the depression. He was older and a successful businessman, she was a department store clerk barely out of her teens. He liked the way she looked and brought her things. Sounds like a Diana Palmer type of story. I would need to find a conflict or two to add to the mix to add interest.

It's difficult to think of our parents and grandparents in a romantic setting, but there must have been some fire, or we wouldn't be here. With some literary license, their stories can turn into some interesting plots and storylines. As writers, we look for inspiration everywhere. This month, I think I'll start by looking at my own family tree.

Patty Kiyono


Stephanie Michels, author said...

Gosh, Patty, you ought to think about working that Shogun warrior and Farm girl relationship into a book. I think it could definitely work! :)

Bronwyn Green said...

I agree - I think you've got the makings of a great book!