About Voices of the Locusts
Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II.
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Q: What is a typical writing day for you? Tell us about a day in the life of you the writer, what’s your writing day like. Do you balance family and writing, or writing and a job outside the house, or writing, a job and family? What was it like for you to write this book along with your busy life?
A: I typically write four or five hours a day, six days a week. I am retired, which means simply that I can devote more time to writing than if I held a fulltime job. I admire writers who can hold down a 40-hour-week job and still find time to write…and share their time with a family. That’s a tall order. I’ve often said that if I had to write a novel on a manual typewriter—I worked in newsrooms years ago when manual typewriters were standard fare—that I probably wouldn’t write. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but PCs have certainly made writing easier. Also, I find myself conducting research for every novel I write. The wealth of knowledge found on the Internet makes life so much easier for writers like me who research their stories. I can’t imagine spending hours a day in a library conducting research. It’s a brave new world of technology, and I love it.
What are three novels you have recently?
Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This novel was written in the first-person, present tense, and I found that refreshing. Ms. Oliver has a wonderful ability to capture a character’s emotion in both dialogue and action.
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. Full Dark is four separate stories via novellas. What can I say about King that hasn’t already been said? He is my favorite author because of his attention to detail in narrative, action, and dialogue. He paints wonderful pictures.
Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. This is what I would call unconventional literature. It moves from first-person present to third-person present on a couple of occasions, but that doesn’t spoil the magic. Jones has been around the block a time or two, and it’s reflected in his storytelling.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: Last year my dystopian novel Latitude 38 was published by Stay Thirsty Media. Having said that, I feel more comfortable writing middle-grade and young adult stories. I plan to stay with that genre.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: I should have exercised more self discipline. Because I had experienced successful newspaper and public relations careers, I believed early on that I would also succeed at writing fiction. I was in for a big surprise. Fiction is incredibly competitive.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: It took some time to find the genre with which I was most comfortable. Finding the genre has been a big step forward.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: Film director.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I’m happy with the way things turned out.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I hope to write at least one middle-grade or YA novel each year for the next decade.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Find a genre with which you are comfortable. Create some interesting characters, write smart narrative, keep the tension high throughout your story, and give it hell. A good story will always find a home.
Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. Voices of the Locusts is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his Voices of the Locusts is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri.
Find Ron at his website