Author: Suzanne Kamata
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS meets STONER AND SPAZ
Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother's muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity. When Aiko's mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She'd much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.
Gadget Girl began as a novella published in Cicada. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in Cicada over the past ten years.
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Ten Interesting Things About Gadget Girl
by Suzanne Kamata
- In the first draft, the main character’s name was Misaki, but I changed it to Aiko so that it would mean “Indigo Child.”
- I started writing this story five years ago.
- Some gadgets that appear in the story are a crème brulee torch, a Swiss Army knife and an egg beater.
- Gadget Girl’s adventures are inspired by miraculous happenings on the Japanese island of Shikoku. For example, a bell appeared on the back of a sea turtle.
- To research this book, I used the Lourdes web cam, but I didn’t witness any miracles.
- I revised the story at least ten times!
- This story was originally published as a novella in Cicada. In that version, Whitney was about to have a major operation.
- The novella won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Fiction.
- While writing this book, I was inspired to take a trip to Paris with my daughter. (Most people will think it’s the other way around.)
- My original title for the book was The Art of Being Invisible.
Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), and editor of three anthologies - The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009). Her short fiction and essays have appeared widely. She is the Fiction Co-editor of literarymama.com.
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