Interview with Evy Journey, author of The Shade Under the Mango Tree
17 Nov 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, The Shade Under the Mango Tree?
The Shade Under the Mango Tree is a multicultural/transcultural story told partly through journal entries. From birth, Luna, the multiracial Asian-Hawaiian-Caucasian protagonist—no longer unusual in the story’s West Coast setting—is exposed to different cultures. The mango tree and its fruit is symbolic of that heritage. A year after college, she chooses to travel to an ancient culture with a deadly history where she confronts a harsh reality she never imagined.
The love that blossoms between Luna and Lucien, the young architect who inspires her to travel, starts with the journal she has lost. But, as one reviewer says, the novel is far more complex than the usual storybook romance. It’s more about forging one’s unique path through the choices they make.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which is also an epistolary novel.
Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
It’s not enough to be open to possibilities, your life may be fuller if you actively seek them out.
If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?
Doing art, lately mostly digital art. But I occasionally go back to oils (or acrylics) and pastels. Art-making is so absorbing, though, and gets me engaged for hours once I get into it.
What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?
Literally, it’s traveling. The world is big, varied, and full of wonder. It teaches you or shows you so many things you would never know or experience if you stayed home or traveled only within the borders of your country. You expand your own world when you travel (not just sight-see) and get to know more about how other people in other lands live.
What scene in The Shade Under the Mango Tree was your favorite to write?
I love reunions so it has to be that scene in the second to the last chapter when, all alone in a foreign land and beaten by her experience—though she isn’t aware of it yet—Luna hears a knock on the door. She’s packing to return home and doesn’t believe anyone could have anything more to ask of her. But the insistent knocking compels her to peek through her window. She sees someone she never expected to see in that faraway place. Please read the book to find out what happens.
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