Misa Sugiura

I first featured Misa Sugiura in 2018, with her book It’s Not Like It’s a Secret. And when I heard that she was coming out with a Sapphic romance, LOVE & OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS, I contacted her for a follow-up interview:


When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.


In our last interview, you said you had a second novel with your editor at HarperTeen. Is that a book you can share more about yet?

My second book, THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT, came out in 2019. It’s about a Japanese American girl named CJ who keeps failing to live up to her venture capitalist mother’s incredibly high expectations, or her demands to develop a “vision” and a “mission statement” for her life; she prefers to hang out and learn the art of flower arranging using the magical “language of flowers” with her aunt, who runs their family-owned flower shop. When CJ’s mom announces that she intends to sell the shop to the white family who swindled CJ’s great-grandparents out of all their property during the Japanese American internment, their family issue unexpectedly expands into a community issue, and CJ finds something she cares about enough to fight for.

I am currently working on another, brand-new project that I can’t talk about yet—but there should be an announcement in early June, so keep an eye out!

Can’t wait to hear more! As I mentioned, I love that LOVE & OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS includes a Sapphic romance. How did you know that this was a story you needed to write?

I try to do something a little bit different with each book, so after THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT, which dug into issues like the echoes of racial injustice across history, I was in the mood for a really light, fun, tropey romantic comedy. But there while are countless tropey romantic comedies about straight couples, there were very few that centered queer couples—especially f/f couples. And Asian f/f couples? *looks around, shrugs* LGBTQ stories have been very important to me for all of my adult life, and I knew that if I wanted to write a rom-com, it had to be have queer Asian girls at the center.

And I’m so glad you did. You’ve now published both novels and short stories. What do you find most challenging about working on multiple projects, and what do you do to refill your creative well?

If I’m working on more than one project, I always worry that I’m spending too much time on one instead of the other, or that I’ll get so into one project that I won’t be able to get back into the other one. I don’t have a “day job” during the week, so if I’m not on a tight deadline, I treat my writing like a 9 to 5 day job and I don’t write on the weekends. That usually has me impatient to start again on Mondays.

When I’m feeling creatively burned out, I’ve found that taking a short break (not necessarily on the weekend) helps, as does consuming other media: Upmarket adult fiction gets me excited to work on my craft on a sentence and character development level; movies and television make me think about how I can write in a way that will make readers feel like they’re really in the story, as well as how to start and end scenes in the right places; podcasts that use storytelling formats or that feature quirky stories or people give me ideas for characters. (This American Life, Heavyweight, Invisibilia, Radiolab, and Mortified are among my favorites.) Sometimes I’ll see or hear something that sticks with with me for years, begging and waiting to be used in a story. For example, a scene in the musical Kinky Boots, which I saw five years ago, inspired one of the key relationships in Love & Other Natural Disasters.

Ooh, now I’m really intrigued! If you were stuck on an island with two books, what would they be and why?

My son says I should take a book entitled HOW TO SURVIVE ON A DESERT ISLAND and the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary (for kindling). As for pure reading material, this is so incredibly clichéd and also cheating, but I’d take the complete works of William Shakespeare and either the complete works of Annie Proulx or the complete works of Toni Morrison, neither of which exists yet, but we can just pretend. If I had to take a book already in existence, I think I might actually go with the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary because it’s such a lot of reading material!


Buy: Bookshop.org ~ BookPassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound


For Misa Sugiura’s other books, go to http://www.misasugiura.com/new-index



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