Publication Date: July 9, 2014
Genre: Young Adult fiction, Contemporary Romance
Genre: Young Adult fiction, Contemporary Romance
“Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her.”
Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.
When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art.
After a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything.
Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.
1. How did the idea of writing Scar of the Bamboo Leaf come about?
I wanted to write about a local girl with a physical flaw that turns to art for solace. I wanted her to meet a misunderstood boy who she helps through traditional art. There’s a school for troubled American teens in Samoa, and that is how this boy ends up there. I grew up in Samoa. Next door to my childhood home is a local art center, which served as inspiration for much of the setting of this book. There’s actually a cluster of bamboo that borders the property and BAM--I had my location.
2. How did you decide on the title of this book?
The title was the absolute first thing that came to me--before anything else. So little by little, I had to put the pieces together to make a connection with the characters and plot. The title is a metaphor, which becomes clear as you read the story.
3. Where do you find the most inspiration for what you write?
From people around me. From music. From traveling. And reading.
4. In your opinion what is the most challenging aspect of writing a novel?
Honestly, finding the time. Between motherhood, work, chores, and errands, it’s a balancing act, and when you throw in writing to that mix, it can get a little insane. I love to write, but sometimes I don’t like the person I become when I do.
5. What scene or part of the book did you have the most fun writing and why?
The bantering scenes between Kiva and Ry. It was a good reprieve from all of the heavy stuff they had to deal with.
6. How would you describe the main character, Kiva, in three words only?
Intuitive, strong, passionate.
7. If you could only read books by one author for the rest of your life, what author would you choose?
Oooh, this is a tough one. There are simply way too many authors I admire, but I love Laini Taylor’s words. Her world-building is phenomenal, her characters loveable and humorous, her sentences like poetry strung together.
8. Now I know from your Author Bio that you like to travel, so if you could go anywhere in the world that you have not been before on vacation, where would you go and what activities would you try there?
I love this question! Albeit a dangerous one LOL. Right now, I have the strongest desire to visit Portland, Maine, where my dad is from. My grandmother lives there, and I miss her. A lot. Plus, the scent of pine trees and Atlantic seawater smells like home to me. But since you asked about a place I haven’t been to before, I’ll say Bali. For the massages. And food.
9. What is the one thing you would hope your readers would get out of reading your book?
That the story of Kiva and Ry touches their hearts. That despite the foreign setting, readers will be able to connect to the universal messages of faith and hope.
10. Thank you so much for doing this interview and sharing your insight with us. My final question is: Are there any current projects you are working on that you would like to share with us?
Thank you for hosting me! I do have a story in mind, but I’m in the plotting phase at the moment. No title yet, but there’s a woman who owns a flower shop and she’s sarcastic and snarky with a soft heart. It’ll be a light, romantic read--a break from the seriousness of Scar of the Bamboo Leaf.
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About the Author:
Sieni A.M. is a coffee addict, Instagram enthusiast, world traveler, and avid reader turned writer. She graduated as an English and History high school teacher from the University of Canterbury and is currently living in Israel with her husband and two daughters. “Scar of the Bamboo Leaf” is her second novel.