Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I’m wicked happy bringing you a conversation I had recently with Ms Spann – the author of my beloved Cosy Historical Mysteries: the Hiro Hattori Novels, set in 16th Century Japan! For booklovers who have an appreciation of Japanese culture and tradition, this is a special treat to your readerly wanderings, as Ms Spann has a tenacious focus on maintaining authentic historical layers of insight & intrigue within her wickedly crafted mysteries!
The pleasure for me has been following her series since the second novel released whilst back-reading the debut! I have had the joy of following alongside Hiro & Father Mateo as they journey towards seeking out justice & truth in an age where secrecy ruled more in favour of conspiracies than honest revelations of what happened. The two are a duo of sleuths, each utilising their own personal approach to rooting out the truth from those who would seek to obliterate it from being discovered, striking a beautiful balance inside a friendship built on a foundation of trust & honour.
I love how through each new volume, the setting expands outward to encompass more of Japan and Japanese culture! This is visually an impressive series but it’s how through compassion and trans-culture awareness Spann stitches together a series that is more than a ‘Historical Mystery’ it’s a guiding map towards opening our own awareness of a culture we might not have had the pleasure of studying or knowing in such an inter-personal way as we do now!
As you will see in our conversation, Ms Spann has the joy of visiting Japan on yearly adventures wherein she curates research with a physical presence of seeing the cross-section of Ancient & Modern Japan. I am hoping you are as moved by her recollections and photographs of this beautiful country as I was myself! Whilst enthralled to find out a few ‘hintings’ of joy about what is coming to our bookish hearts *July 2017!*
Brew yourself a cuppa & enjoy the convo!
Why I love reading the Hiro Hattori Novels:
Ms Spann keeps you keenly invested in being aware of not only the current plot thickening before your eyes, but the concurrent story-lines which came prior to the one your reading! You have to keep observant and the wicked challenge is piecing all the lovely clues together which add into the depth of where the series is grounded. I love finding an author whose symmetry for carrying a series forward is never overshadowed by an installment but rather brightened by how all the stories within the series broaden the appeal of how far reaching the series has become! It’s a special treat, as you get to dig deeper into the background of where the Hiro Hattori novels are set and how everything is fused together properly through the characters who populate the series directly. -quoted from my review of The Ninja’s Daughter
Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.
As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.
On my connection to Susan Spann:
I started visiting the chats hosted by @LitChat in the latter months of 2013, as it was around the time of the conference at The Betsy in which I started to cross paths with regular chatters, amongst whom were Natalia Sylvester (début novelist of “Chasing the Sun”) and Susan Spann. I am unsure which month I first started to notice Ms. Spann as a friendly presence who always reminded me of myself — someone who provided cheerful commentary, engaging questions for each visiting guest author, and a wicked knowledge base on a variety of topics. Generally speaking, I always click-over to read a person’s Twitter profile, but whilst engaged in those #LitChat(s) I felt like it was this magical rendezvous for the bookish and those who are attuned to bookish culture.
In this way, it wasn’t until I learnt of Blade of the Samurai was going on a blog tour that I decided to discover a bit more about her! In so doing, I learnt who she was ‘behind the curtain’ so to speak! I always considered her one of my ‘friends in the twitterverse’ but I never disclosed this to her until I was on the (Blade of the Samurai) blog tour in September 2014! Such serendipity as the tour brought us a bit closer and I am grateful that Twitter is a social-positive method of reaching past our distances in geography to connect to people who share a passion for the written word. We have continued to remain in touch although we do not get to ‘meet-up’ on Twitter as often as we once did due to our schedules in recent years.
I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Spann through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst attending #LitChat or in private convos. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.