After a long delay called 2020, Ninja Squirrel and the Clan of Shadows launches as an e-book this year. Woo hoo! Details will be upcoming as we get closer to the publication date.
A few wonderful readers who received an advanced copy of Clan of Shadows asked where I found my inspiration for the story. I wanted to say everywhere. The gray squirrels at my bird feeder. The other gray squirrels I ran into in college with a genetic mutation that made their fur black. We used to call them ninja squirrels.
Other inspiration came from movies like Disney's Robin Hood and DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda, where the animals move and speak like people. Books like Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians and Felix Salten's Bambi also gave me a love for stories centered on animals.
In High School, I discovered feudal Japan and became enchanted with it, and used it as the book's setting. The story exists in a world before electricity, when ancient forests filled with spirits stood, during a time when legends were more tangible than they are today.
Tomo, a rat descended from a long line of noble samurai warriors, is the main character of Clan of Shadows. The Japan of Tomo's world is tearing apart from fighting animal clans. Bear Clan doesn't get along with Fox Clan. Fox Clan is battling Rat Clan. And then there is the deadly Clan of Shadows.
Will peace ever happen?
Tomo hopes so, and he may have found an answer to the war between animals when Tomo rescues an orphaned baby squirrel destined to become a ninja.
I am one of those writers who doodles while she writes. Above is what came out while I was thinking about who the hero of this story should be.