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Ana Johns Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Woman in the White Kimono (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ana Johns is a bestselling author who has made her name with her critically acclaimed debut novel “The Woman in the White Kimono.” She is a native of Metro Detroit though she has been living in Indianapolis for several years now. For her college, she studied broadcast journalism and had a career in the creative arts as a business owner and creative director for more than two decades before she decided to become an author. Her novel which is inspired by real stories and historical events was a BBC Radio2 Book Club Pick, Mail Instant and Globe bestseller. The novel has been translated into more than twenty languages and been published in the UK, Canada, and the US. When Johns is not writing, you can find her on a stand-up paddleboard or working her garden along the Lake Michigan coast. She also does practice Shorei Goju Ryu Karate when she has the time, mostly because she was diagnosed with MS in 2008 and the martial arts were recommended as therapy. She has a black belt in the art form which she fell in love with.

Ana Johns’ family traces its roots to Slovak immigrants that came from the Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. Her great grandfather migrated to the US in 1907 and five years later he sent for his wife and their two children. The family settled in the Detroit suburb of Delray that at that time was believed to have the largest population of Hungarians outside of Hungary. John and his wife Anna passed down their names to their children and this became a family tradition that ha held to this day with most in the family taking the names. During her childhood, Ana always loved reading and was into the likes of “The Witch and the Wardrobe,” “The Velveteen Rabbit,” the “Rats of NIMH” and “The Lion.” As an adult, she has been inspired by a wide range of authors though she cites the narrative structure of Gillian Flynn, the work of screenwriter Dan Fogelman, and the author Khaled Hosseini.

According to Johns, much of the story in The Woman in the White Kimono is inspired by the story of her father who served in the US Navy in Japan and fell in love with a beautiful Japanese girl. Her father’s military records, his cancer, his ship, and his life came in handy as she would ask herself what would have happened had they decided to marry without the blessing of her parents or what if she had been pregnant? In her quest to get answers she went to the libraries and archives from the 1950s and also read a lot online and on Japanese forums. Some of the most important sources were birth registry laws for the military, Japan and the United States most of which she found online. The cultural aspects of the novel such as the funeral, wedding, and tea ceremonies were found on forums and other online resources. However, she also found people that had the first-hand experience in either being Japanese American or people that had been resident in Japan for several years. She started penning her manuscript in 2012 and although she nearly quit so many times, the novel was too important and it called her back. Ana asserts that the fact that there were more than 10,000 babies born during and after the Second World War and the Occupation made it a weighty matter that had to be written about. She also talked to mixed-race Japanese American children and in this way got to understand how seventeen-year-olds from 1957 thought. This is what inspired her lead character Naoko among others.

“The Woman in the White Kimono” is a novel set in 1957, where Naoko Nakamura a seventeen-year-old has a problem on her hands. Her father has arranged for her to get married to his business associate, which he believes would secure the family’s status. It is a family that places a lot of value on traditional Japanese community conventions and hence arranged marriages are not anything out of the ordinary. The problem is that the young woman has fallen for a gaijin, an American sailor whose relationship would cause the family and herself much shame. Soon they learn that she is pregnant with the foreigner’s child and she is disgraced, cast out of her family and community in an action that would reverberate through the decades. The novel then moves to the modern day where Tori Kovac discovers a letter while caring for her convalescent father. It is a shocking letter that questions everything she believed about her father herself and her family. She sets out to find the truth and her quest takes her to a remote village in Japan where she may have to confront the demons from her father’s past to find redemption. Ana Johns writes an inspiring true story with breathtaking prose that follows a woman torn between her heart and culture and another on a quest to find the real meaning of home.

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