Friday, November 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Tokyo Dare (+Win some CHOCOLATES!)

Title: Tokyo Dare 
Author: Anne Van
Series: The Sushi Chronicles
Pages: 226
Publisher: Books We Love
Date Published: July 8th 2013
Format: eBook
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours 

Sixteen-year-old artist, Erin Van Horn, doesn’t know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll. But on a dare from her best friend, Tori Mukigawa, she wins a spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in the land of the rising sun, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with a host family from hell. Otosan, the father, stops speaking to her after she “murders” his favorite bonsai tree. The mother, Okasan, believes Erin’s evil because she’s left-handed and their son is an Elvis impersonator who is convinced Erin’s the spitting image of Priscilla if only she’d dye her blonde hair black, and become his child bride.
But Erin has a bigger problem than her crazy host family when she faces the ultimate dare from Tori—a to-do list.Racked with guilt for winning the spot that should have gone to her best friend, Erin is determined to complete the list. All she has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, (sure, there’s one on every street corner), apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, (no problem, they’ll be listed in the Tokyo Yellow Pages) and visit Tori’s long lost relatives to find out what’s hidden in the family closet. So what if the only words she knows in Japanese are, “Excuse me eat pretty idiot.” How hard could it be?

~~~Location Location Location~~~
 How does the setting make or break a story?

Setting can play a major role in a story. In my book, Tokyo Dare, the setting is so important it’s almost another character. The whole premise of the story is based on the lead character, Erin, being thrown into the foreign world of Tokyo. She is a fish out of water in a place where she must live, and a place she can’t even begin to understand. Without my story being set in Tokyo, Erin would just be heading off to a new school, not a totally different way of life.

Erin’s discovery of Tokyo, and Japan itself, plays a major role in her character development. At first she’s overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of such a big city. She’s from Boise, Idaho, and totally unprepared to handle living in a city of almost nine million people –not to mention the complicated transit system and the labyrinth of streets that make up Tokyo. With her lack of knowledge of the Japanese language, getting lost is a daily event. But as she becomes more experienced with the language and at getting around, she gains the confidence to explore the city more. This leads to some funny episodes in the book like when she misses the last train home.

Having a book based in a foreign country immediately impacts the story. There is so much for the character to see and learn it can’t help but play a major roll in how the story evolves. One of the things I tried to do when writing Tokyo Dare, was to describe the beauty and the unique aspects of Tokyo that make it such a special place. In many of the reviews, people say the book makes them want to hop on a plane and explore Tokyo for themselves. This is exactly the reaction I’d hoped for. I want the reader to fall in love with Japan the same way I did.
~~~Try an Excerpt!~~~
“What is wrong with me? I’m itching everywhere and I have small bumps all over my stomach. My throat is dry, my muscles ache and I think I have a fever. There’s more but I’m too tired to go on.”

Aki showed no sign of concern. “Can I see your stomach?”

I slowly pulled up my pajama top.

Aki’s eyes grew wide. “Oh.”

Hmm…that didn’t sound good. She ran past me and called for Mamasan. Next, she went to Hiroshi’s room and woke him. Within a minute they had a family meeting. I nervously fidgeted with my hands as their whispering took on a more urgent tone.

Aki stood some distance from me. “You have Kotsu. Hiroshi had it a few weeks before you came to live with us. Papasan and I have never had it so we must go.”

What great news. I had something so horrible Aki and Papasan had to leave the house.

Aki pointed towards my stomach. “Don’t scratch your bumps. They can get worse and you can get bad scars. Whatever you do, don’t touch your face.”

My knees were shaking. “How…long will I be sick?”

“You’ll run a high fever for the next few days. Don’t worry, only babies die from it…but I’m not sure about Americans.”

~~~Meet Anne!~~~
Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in a national magazine and an award winning travel story about her time living in Tokyo, Japan. She has also published short fiction. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including one that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t. Website:

Live like Erin and get a chance to try some of her favorite chocolates! Enter via the Rafflecopter and you could be sitting pretty and chowing down on some Japanese chocolate in just a few easy clicks! You COULD also comment below to Anne and let her know what you think of Tokyo Dare too!


  1. Thank you for having me as a guest!

  2. This book has an interesting story line. I look forward to reading it. Sounds like I'll be learning along with Erin as I read the book :)
    Thanks for sharing.

    lorih824 at yahoo dot com