Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, March 13, 2023
Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French

We're excited to launch the blog tour for Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French. This book is perfect for readers who enjoy page-turning love stories set in Japan. Read on to find out the author's inspiration behind this novel in a vibrant author interview, and enter to win a copy!
But first, here's a bit more about Ghost with Two Hearts:
Approaching 30, Adrian, a talented software engineer, takes stock of his wealth and accolades - and how unhappy he is. He doesn't make friends easily, dislikes social media, and was bloodied in a divorce. He finds no common purpose in a country defined by political vitriol, distrust, and inequality. Taking a leave of absence from his company, he travels to Japan with a samurai sword that his grandfather stole from a Japanese captain in World War Two. Adrian is determined to find its rightful heir. Doing the morally correct thing, he hopes, will make him feel better about his life.
Print length: 193 pages
Genre: Fiction, Cultural Heritage Fiction, Ghost Fiction
Published January 12, 2023
ISBN-13: 979-8370416842
Ghost with Two Hearts is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon. You can add it to your GoodReads reading list as well.
About the Author Michael R. French
Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family.
In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies and self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals. He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His passions include travel, collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family. He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying "no" too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.
French’s work, which includes several best-sellers, has been warmly reviewed in the New York Times and been honored with a number of literary prizes.
Find Michael online at:
--- Interview by Crystal Otto
WOW: I absolutely enjoyed reading Ghost with Two Hearts and as you read in my review, I felt kindred to your characters and enjoyed the dialogue, but my favorite part was the feeling of traveling to Japan without ever leaving the comfort of my recliner. Tell me more about what inspired you to write this wonderful story!
Michael: In 2013, my wife and I visited Japan for the first time. We chanced upon the Art Triennale on Naoshima Islands, a ferry ride from the mainland. The contemporary work of jury-selected Japanese artists was striking, innovative, and enigmatic. I had always thought of Japan as an exporter of exceptional cars and electronics. We soon discovered a universe of high-end fashion, creative cuisine, immaculate public gardens, festivals, a low crime rate, and a deep respect for authority. It all seemed like the antithesis of the West. I felt safe and engaged here. But we also learned how Japanese discipline and single mindedness camouflaged a history of deep, violent conflict and fierce wars. My eyes were opened and my mind followed.
On a second trip, we visited ancient Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, learning about faith, mythologies and superstitions. Religion and politics combined to reveal powerful emperors, class conflict, and international ambitions. We also found evidence of deep, romantic love. I began imagining a love story between a Shinto kami (a type of ghost) and an American coder visiting Japan to escape the turmoil of the West.
Our final visit, before the Pandemic, included a day at the extensive Peace Park in Hiroshima, where the U.S. had dropped an atomic bomb to help end the war in the Pacific. My father had been a medical doctor for the Marines, barely surviving hellish fighting on Okinawa and Saipan. I tried to reconcile how much the Americans and allies suffered compared to the 60,000 Hiroshima civilians who perished from the bomb. Was there some kind of moral equivalency here, or no connection whatsoever? Adding to my curiosity was my memory of my father returning from the war with a ceremonial sword taken from a dead Japanese officer. He never explained what that was all about. My own guess became the major subplot of the novel.
WOW: With how well I got to know the characters, I feel you wrote a bit of yourself into Ghost with Two Hearts. Can you share a bit more about where the characters came from and how you developed them? 
Michael: I was a curious and empathizing ten-year-old. I thought I could imagine what a teacher, friend, or even a stranger was feeling and thinking. My imagination put me in their head. I took the quirks of various people and put them in my fictional characters.
Adrian, my main character, is a compilation of typical software engineers I have known over time. Yet, like me, he’s deeply bothered by the discord generated in social media. Adrift after a divorce he never saw coming, Adrian takes a leave of absence in Japan and finds a spiritual and social world infinitely more fulfilling than anything in the States. By the end of the novel, reborn in many ways, he returns home to find an unusual salvation.
My other principal character is a Shinto ghost named Emiko. I have never known a beautiful, young Japanese woman condemned by the gods to eternal damnation. I chose not to give Emiko a weird personality. Making her as human as possible, quirks and all, makes her more believable. It’s also easy to empathize with anyone, living or dead, whose trust in others has been betrayed, and her punishment impossible to overcome. Emiko is easy to like and root for.
WOW: I wholeheartedly agree about Emiko being easy to like. You did a great job with the characters and I appreciate your writing style. Would you feel comfortable talking about journaling? Does it play any part in your writing process or in your life in general?
Michael: An ideal writing day for me is six to eleven a.m. The world is a quieter place in the morning. Sometimes I’ll make time later that day, though it’s hard to find solitude. Habit is critical to me. On even the most crazy days, I still write a sentence or two because I have a fear that slacking is habit-forming. I credit my routine for getting through five decades of writing and publishing, including some rough patches. Completing a novel always makes me feel grateful. I have a wonderfully supportive wife and two adult children.
I don’t really journal. I keep most of my important ideas in my head. I do scribble on the back of an envelope or napkin, often creating secondary characters and subplots this way. I also get plot ideas after a good night’s sleep. Years ago, before I wrote a young adult best-seller, Pursuit, the climactic scene came from a vivid, unforgettable dream. However, I’ve also had early morning or late-night epiphanies that turn out to be embarrassingly useless.
WOW: Napkins and envelopes make me think you can write anywhere, especially keeping most of your thoughts in your head, but do you have a special space? Do you write everywhere, anywhere in particular, and what comforts are absolutely necessary to inspire you?
Michael: I have large wood desk for writing but sometimes a sofa is a comfortable place, too. I also like sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop, with headphones on. Music sometimes inspires me, but what is absolutely necessary is writing in a stress-free environment, living in my imagination, and liking the characters I create, even the unsympathetic ones. I feel closer to some characters than others; they kind of become friends. When I’m copyediting or proofing a manuscript, I don’t mind a few distractions—even watching television. An editing mindset is very different from the one churning with emotion. Editing is all about objectivity. I try to pretend I'm reading someone else’s book for the first time. If I don’t like what I’m reading, I go back to the drawing board.
I can write fifteen hundred words on a good day, but that isn’t often. Finishing a solid draft usually takes a year. In college, I read a lot of novelists that are not well known today. Keeping up with current writers—and there are spectacular ones—takes time that I don’t always have. Writing has to be a solitary pursuit for me. Other than hiring a copy editor or a proofreader, I’ve never had a writing team. I need to retreat from the world to be at my best.
WOW:You really make all of this look easy Michael. It seems you have a new book every time I turn around. Is there a hard part for you, or what do you consider to be the hardest part of the writing process? 
Michael: Writing a story is a fragile enterprise from beginning to end. When someone asks “what are you working on?” I change the subject to the Dodgers or the price of gas. For me, isolation is survival. Everything starts off fine with your first chapter or two, but then doubts creep in. Making significant changes mid-book can be especially chaotic because you have to go back and rewrite parts of the beginning, which you previously thought were just great. Finally, the right ending is critical to shaping a reader’s final opinion of your novel. I never rush that part.
WOW: Fragile is such an interesting word to use. Thank you for that insight. Who has been most influential in your writing goals and dreams? How do you thank them?
Michael: My mother got me interested in biographies and history when I was in junior high. First, she would read a chapter out loud, and then I read one to her. It wasn’t just about learning vocabulary, grammar and syntax, or realizing what makes a particular story fascinating. I also came to love words. I had a bad stutter, so hearing them coming slowly off my lips, understanding their cadence and, much later, why the author chose that particular word over another, was empowering. In college, I was influenced by novels that opened my mind to new worlds, and to so many colorful writers. I had a teacher named Malcom Cowley who lived in Paris in the Twenties and was friends with Hemingway, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald, and Joyce. His anecdotes made them come alive for me. I wished I had thanked my mother more, and certainly teachers like Malcolm Cowley, but they couldn’t have missed seeing the wonder in my eyes.
WOW: Michael, your insight is always appreciated. As you know, I’ve read many of your books and they are all so different, so I’m a bit timid to ask, but what’s next for you? You’re always coming up with something unexpected for your readers. Give us a sneak peak?
Michael: I have lots of story ideas and take my time winnowing through them. In my twenties and thirties, I struggled to find things to write about. I culled them from the world at large because I didn’t find myself to be a terribly interesting subject. In my forties and fifties, I began taking stock of who I was and who I was becoming, which turned me inward. My own conflicts, aspirations, and resolutions put me on a wonderfully serendipity path. My last five novels are nothing like my earlier works. None of the five fall into a specific genre. In the end, I hope readers find Ghost With Two Hearts super entertaining, and new ways of looking at their world.
Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French Blog Tour

--- Blog Tour Dates
March 13th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us at the WOW blog to celebrate the launch of author Michael R. French’s Ghost with Two Hearts. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
March 14th @ A Storybook World
Hear from Michael R. French about "What Drives an Author" as he delights readers at A Storybook World. Find out more about his latest novel, Ghost with Two Hearts and learn more about this talented author!
March 15th @ Madeline Sharples
"Helping or Hurting" is today's essay title at Madeline's blog as readers of Choices hear from Michael R. French about his latest novel, Ghost with Two Hearts.
March 17th @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Michael R. French's latest work Ghost with Two Hearts. Find out how this novel measures up today!
March 18th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
Crystal Otto reviews Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R, French. Crystal has read many of French's books - find out how his latest novel measures up!
March 19th @ Fiona Ingram
Is there a "Place for Older Authors"? Find out by stopping at Fiona Ingram's blog and reading the essay by Michael R. French today! This is a great chance to learn more about this successful author and his latest novel, Ghost with Two Hearts!
March 23rd @ Book Santa Fe with Carmen Otto
Hear from a teenager as she reviews Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French. How many stars will she give? Will this be the novel she refers to her friends? Find out today!
March 30th @ The Mommies Reviews
Texas girl, Glenda offers her review of Michael R. French's latest novel, Ghost with Two Hearts! Stop by Glenda's blog to learn more today!
April 14th @ Pages and Paws
Michael R. French shares his essay "The Tail or the Dog" for readers at Pages and Paws. Stop by to find out more about Michael and his latest novel, Ghost with Two Hearts.
April 20th @ Knotty Needle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her thoughts after reading the latest novel by Michael R. French. Find out what Judy has to say about Ghost with Two Hearts today!
April 21st @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles reviews Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French. Read what she shares with readers at her World of My Imagination blog.
April 28th @ Wildwood Reads
Megan offers her review of Michael R. French's Ghost with Two Hearts for readers at Wild Wood Reads; don't miss her valuable insight of Michael's latest novel!
May 2nd @ Jill Sheets
Jill sheets interviews Michael R. French. Find out more about this talented author and his latest novel Ghost with Two Hearts by stopping by Jill's blog today!
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****
Enter to win a copy of Ghost with Two Hearts by Michael R. French! Fill out the Rafflecopter form by March 26th at 11:59 CT for a chance to win. We will choose a winner randomly the next day and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Heather Swanson said...

a must read on my birthday wish list

kywave said...

Sounds like an interesting story will ensue with one wanting to return a war relic

Cindy P said...

This book has high rating on Goodreads. I am excited for the opportunity to read Ghost with Two Hearts.

JeannieD said...

What is it that you read?
How do you come up with titles?

Michael R. French said...

When titles come to me on the spur, they initially seem captivating, even perfect, but a day or two later something about them seems lacking. Part of that is my author insecurity. Am I doing my best? Has the title already been taken? But the title "Ghost With Two Hearts" was so simple and logical, once I read the book after finishing it a month earlier. The four words coupled together have a zen ring, I think, but more importantly, this is a love story about a dead person's divided heart.

Wanda B said...

I love the tile of your book. It makes the books sound so intriguing.

Linda Fast said...

Micheal, your trip with your wife to Japan sounds magical, congrats on your book.

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