This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mitsuo Fuchida from Wounded Tiger by T Martin Bennett

Blessings on you this Martin Luther Kind, Jr. Day!

Today I’d like to share with you a very special book from the lesser-known genre of the Nonfiction Novel.  Different from historical fiction which uses time periods and historical events as a starting point to place fictional characters in, the nonfiction novel depicts real historical people and events keeping as close to what actually happened as possible.  Conversations may be fictitious or reconstructed, but a sincere effort for historical accuracy is made while keeping the story in a novel format.

I don’t think I’d ever read a book that falls under this genre before, and I really enjoyed it.  I love history, but have always found it difficult to read nonfiction history books because they so often try to present the information in a non-biased manner, sharing the facts with as little emotion as possible.  Not so with the nonfiction novel!  Including several people’s emotions and thoughts made the events so much more relevant and memorable than if I were reading a textbook or even a biography about them.

But enough of my extolling this genre I’ve now been exposed to… on to the story!
I was excited when I first heard about this book during its kickstarter campaign, I knew it was going to be good, and I'm happy it exceeded my expectations!  I did find it difficult to read at times, especially knowing that the events really happened, the people really lived, some went through horrible things, and some died.

Taking place during WWII, Wounded Tiger weaves a tale of lives lived on both sides of the war between America and Japan.  It took me a long time to finish, just because I had to stop at certain points and let myself emotionally recover.  There are a lot of violent events, but Martin did an eloquent job of retelling them without gory details.  I let my imagination run away with me at times, and I think it was the idea, the knowledge that these atrocities happened to real people that affected me the most.

The story bounces back and forth between several people as the war progresses chronologically.  Their stories are separate, but in the end it’s revealed how they’ve all made a powerful impact on one another and the lives of their enemies.  It’s often said that God works in mysterious ways, and with the story being told through this format, I really felt like I had a God’s eye view.  I could see how he orchestrated the lives of these special people, leading some in faith to share His love at a critical time in our history, and bringing others to faith through their testimony.

The main character, and featured on the cover, is Mitsuo Fuchida.  He was a fighter pilot, naval captain and the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  His path to faith in Christ is the heart of Wounded Tiger.

Another, Jake (Sergeant Jacob DeShazer), was a “Doolittle Raider”-one of the men who lead a daring attack bombing facilities in Japan early on in the war.  His story is also one of coming to faith, and his testimony is nothing short of amazing. 

The last I’d like to mention (although there are many others) is Peggy Covell, a woman who grew up in Japan with her missionary parents.  Her story is one of keeping the faith, and loving one’s enemies even though she had every reason to hate them.

I feel like it’s taking me a lot of words to try and describe this wonderful book.  It’s a story that needed to be told, and even if it’s not in your usual genre, I highly recommend it.  The first half was a bit difficult for me to get through since I’m not usually into war stories, but by the second half I was completely hooked, and the ending truly touched my heart.  Wounded Tiger lingers with me, it’s unforgettable.

After reading the story, I did an online search on Capt. Fuchida and I didn't have to look far to find evidence that he lived out the rest of his days proclaiming Christ's love.

Of the resources I found, here are a few of my favorites:

The Pocket Testament League’s virtual Museum entry featuring one of Capt. Fuchida’s tracts: https://www.ptl.org/museum/museumpix/decade1940s/fuchida.html

Video of Capt. Fuchida on TV in 1965: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMe3r7bM9js
(Although Merv Griffin states at the beginning that Capt. Fuchida doesn’t speak any English, Capt. 
 Fuchida proceeds to answer in English, not speaking a single word in Japanese!)

I also found an article ( http://thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/tora-tora-tora-the-testimony-of-mitsuo-fuchida) on a comic book featuring Capt. Fuchida which I looked up, and then purchased (I just couldn’t resist).  It’s a short version of Fuchida’s testimony and since this is a blog with art, I thought it would be neat to share a few image scans from it with you. 

I know that the author, Martin, did extensive research to write Wounded Tiger, and he hopes to have it made into a film one day.  His blog is also full of wonderful information and photos.

Visit: http://fuchidafilm.blogspot.com/ & http://www.woundedtigerbook.com/

 Thanks for stopping by the blog!

- Monica

Monday, January 12, 2015

Amelia from Truth Be Told by Carol Cox

Happy New Year Readers!  I hope your year is off to a good start, but if it’s not, know that tomorrow is a new day!  Any day can be a fresh start.  

In my last post I updated you on some of the things that have kept me away from this blog, but rest assured I haven’t given up on it.  One of my goals this year is to post more consistently & frequently, I can’t promise that I will, but I’m hopeful, today is my fresh start!  I’ve read a lot of great books recently that I’m very excited to share with you!

So, let’s start with a great pick from last summer- Carol Cox’s Truth Be Told!

I love stories that have a bit of mystery, and Carol did a good job of balancing quiet moments with portions of intrigue and drama in this historical novel set in 1893.  Truth Be Told is a fitting title, taking us on a journey of truth, lies, and heartache as Amelia Wagner takes over the local newspaper, and strives to carry on her beloved father’s business of sharing the truth at all costs
Upon his death, Amelia starts looking into her father’s unfinished business, which includes investigating the Great Western company, the fastest growing and most tenacious business in the area.  When she refuses their offers to purchase the paper, and to print a retraction on her father’s last article that portrayed the company in a questionable light, things start to get complicated.  With the help of Benjamin Stone, a new employee of the company, she continues her father’s quest for the truth. 

As the story continues, Amelia pursues the truth without fail, and takes more and more extreme risks.  I love that she’s a headstrong character, and that being so strong willed is both an asset and liability to her.  Ben rescues her from several bad decisions, but at the same time, it’s her determination that leads her to the truth that must be told.

If you like historical romance with a bit of intrigue, put this one on your list!  I really enjoyed it, and for me it was a more emotional read than I expected.  Perhaps because I’ve also been dealing with the loss of my father, I could truly empathize with Amelia’s desperate need to keep the paper going and maintain her father’s good name.

While reading, I learned a bit about print making during the time period; I love it when historical fiction helps me learn something new.  Amelia used a Peerless Platen Press, similar to what I’ve depicted in my art.  To make this piece, I combined clip-art of an original etching from the time period with my character sketch. Clip-art source: Steampunk Sourcebook (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Carol Cox’s webite: http://authorcarolcox.com/

For more on the Peerless Platen Press :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O1MhXkgKPY