As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I am a proud member of #TeamOrange, a group of writers who banded together to create the anthology Orange Karen: A Tribute to a Warrior, with all proceeds going to help fellow writer Karen DeLabar and her family pay for medical expenses associated with her bout with Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Our next guest for the #TeamOrange edition of The Questions is Jeff Tsuruoka. I first met Jeff in an online writer’s group. I’m proud to say I edited just a teensy bit of his story for the anthology, and he used my suggestions in the rest of the work. He is a fine writer and a fine human being.
The #TeamOrange Questions
a. How/why are you a member of #TeamOrange?
I became acquainted with Karen DeLabar through an old friend of mine, and fellow aspiring writer, Jennifer Gracen. Jen was plugged into an energetic group of writers on various social media sites. She was kind enough to hold the door open for me.
I was just getting to know Karen when she fell ill.
The writing community, most of whom had become friends, closed ranks in support of her and her family.
b. What is the title of your story? Describe it in 25 words or less.
My Orange Karen Anthology contribution is called “Walkin’ Blues”. It’s a story of perseverance and redemption in the face of war and death.
(dSavannah note: And it is a fabulous story.)
c. Karen has been called a warrior because of her fighting spirit and will to live. Who else inspires you because they fight for good?
I don’t know who they are but I think the people who run the Make a Wish Foundation are pretty amazing. Other heroes of mine include Fred Rogers (One of my biggest heroes. For real.) and Simon Wiesenthal.
(dSavannah note: Fred was of course the beloved host of the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Simon was a Jewish-Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter.)
e. If you had enough money to name a building after Karen, what kind of building would it be?
It would be a school for the arts.
g. What was your first reaction when you held the book in your hands (either the ebook or paperback)?
A cheesy grin followed by thirty seconds of maniacal laughter followed by a long, stunned stare.
(dSavannah note: I’m pretty sure the maniacal laughter is a normal occurrence with Jeff.)
The (Regular) Questions
2. If your phone lets you have custom ringtones, what song do you use for your:
6. What do you want on your tombstone?
Pepperoni and sausage.
(dSavannah note: Of note is the fact that Jeff is the first person to answer this question humorously!)
5. What skill(s) do you wish you’d learned as a kid?
I wish I’d learned to play the drums. Karate would’ve been good too.
8. Your favorite book growing up? Your favorite book now?
13. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl. Always have been, always will be.
(dSavannah note: Yup, me too.)
28. Lara Croft or Wonder Woman? Why?
Trick question! The answer is… both, of course.
(dSavannah note: And of note is the fact that Jeff is the first person to choose both!)
31. What aspect of your art gets you passionate, gets you excited? What gets you pumped?
Those moments when I sit down to work and it just rolls, when the words are coming faster than I can write them down. That first round of edits after finishing a first draft is exciting too.
Thirty-six years later he still writes monster stories, though the monsters that populate his current work have a little more on the ball – at least in terms of conversation skills and the ability to drive cars – than Godzilla and his pals did.
He wrote on and off all through grade school, high school, and college, and seemed well on his way to a successful career as a fry cook, when he fell in love, graduated from college, and got married all in a three-year span.
The muse abandoned him for the better part of the next decade, but when she finally turned up to pick up her stuff, a reconciliation of sorts took place and she moved back into her old room, this time to stay.
Jeff has been writing ever since, spending several years scribbling away for his own pleasure.
His wonderful wife does not mind sharing him with the muse, an allowance for which he will be forever grateful.
To that end he writes every single day while dreaming of the day he can say goodbye to his soul-crushing job and make a living with his keyboard.
Learn more about the authors and Karen’s story:
Buy the Book:
The anthology is available in paperback for $14.95 and in ebook for $3.99.
- CreateSpace – paperback (purchasing this version gives Karen and her family the most money)
- Amazon – paperback
- Amazon – kindle
Other ways to help:
- Donate via Paypal to the Orange Karen fund (if for some reason this link doesn’t work, go to the anthology website and click the ‘Make a Donation’ button on the right side of the page)
- Write a review on Amazon or Goodreads
- Purchase Orange Karen Swag on Zazzle (items designed by Troy Aaron Ratliff)