Constance Hays Matsumoto and Kent Matsumoto

Wilmington, DE

Authors of Of White Ashes

Booking Info

Leslie Barrett

512-501-4399 x707

BOOK COVER

BOOK DETAILS

Pub Date: May 1, 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Apprentice House Press
Page Count: 378
ISBN/Format/Price:

  • 978-1-62720-419-4 Hardcover $36.99
  • 978-1-62720-420-0 Paperback  $21.99
  • 978-1-62720-421-7 Ebook $9.99

ABOUT THE BOOK

The bombing of Pearl Harbor propels America into WWII and two Japanese Americans into chaos. Separated by the Pacific, each embarks on a tumultuous path to survive childhood and live the American dream. Ruby Ishimaru loses her liberty and is uprooted from her Hawaii home to Japanese American incarceration camps on the mainland. Koji Matsuo strains under the menacing clouds of the Japanese war machine and Hiroshima atomic bombing while concealing a dangerous secret—one that threatens his family’s safety.

When destiny brings Ruby and Koji together in California, their chemistry is magnetic, but wounds of trauma run deep and threaten their love as another casualty of war.

Inspired by the true stories of the authors’ family, Of White Ashes crosses oceans and cultures, illuminating the remarkable lives of ordinary people who endure seemingly unbearable hardship with dignity and patience. Their experiences compel us to reflect on the resilience of humanity and the risk of history repeating itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Constance Hays Matsumoto

Constance earned her B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University and M.S. in Business from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Authors Guild, Eastern Shore Writers’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Association, and served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Writers’ Association as Communications Chair and as President of the Baltimore Chapter. She is a former corporate and interior design devotee who later embraced the art and rigor of creative writing. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “What’s past is prologue,” Constance writes stories about poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. A native Marylander, Constance empty-nests in Greenville, Delaware with her husband Kent and their adorable Westie. 

Kent Matsumoto

Kent, a third-generation Japanese American, was born in Virginia and spent his formative years living in Japan where he attended the American School. He earned his degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Michigan Law School, and has worked in law firms and private and public companies. He currently serves on the boards of a publicly traded community bank and the non-profit Head Start Washington County (Maryland). He has authored articles for professional publications and spoken before numerous professional organizations.

The authors will donate a percentage of royalties to the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages organization. www.jampilgrimages.com

TALKING POINTS

  • Constance and Kent can discuss the extensive research required to write this book in order to present it with integrity for historical accuracy and respect to their family
  • Based on our history and current racial tensions, Constance and Kent can discuss their thoughts on whether incarceration based solely on race could happen again and the consequences they think the world will witness in a future nuclear bombing
  • How important was the American Dream to the characters in Of White Ashes?
  • If this novel were made into a docuseries, who would the authors choose as the cast?
  • Of White Ashes is based on the true stories of Kent’s mother and father. How difficult is it to write about the trials experienced by one’s own family?

TIMELY TIE-INS

MARCH

  • 77th anniversary of when the last of the Japanese internment camps, the high-security camp at Tule Lake, California, was closed (1946)
  • March into Literacy Month
  • National Write Your Story Day- March 14 
  • World Storytelling Day - March 20 

 

APRIL

  • D.E.A.R. Month (drop everything and read)
  • National Library Week - April 23-29
  • Independent Bookstore Day- April 25 
  • Tell a Story Day - April 27
  • Cherry Blossom Day- April 29 

 

MAY

  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

 

LONG LEAD

  • Hiroshima Day - August 6 (1945)
  • Nagasaki Memorial Day - August 9 (1945)
  • Civil Liberties Act of 1988 signed into law - August 10 
  • Pearl Harbor Day - December 7 (1941)

ADVANCE PRAISE 

Of White Ashes reminds me a bit of the tokonoma, the special place in every Japanese home that displays something beautiful which inspires contemplation. This well-told story of a Japanese-American couple whose love survives a whirlwind of tragic global events leaves the reader with a new awareness of history and a deeper appreciation of the human heart.”
—Lois Lowry, award-winning author of Number the Stars and The Giver 

“Ruby and Koji’s stories are deeply rooted in the trauma of wartime and show the unique forces that affected Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The redemptive power of love allows Ruby to confront her bitter legacy and come through her pain of betrayal and injustice, finding a healing through openness and forgiveness. Lessons for all of us.”  
—Claudia Katayanagi, director of A Bitter Legacy: The Untold Stories of American Concentration Camps

“A stunningly beautiful story. What the Matsumotos give readers is a deep look at an important and troubling period in America’s struggle to understand itself. That it springs from their own family history only underscores its importance. From the internment camps to Hiroshima to the Korean War, Ruby and Koji persevered. Their story is the story of all of us.”
—Christian Kiefer, author of Phantoms

“Sentimental and heartfelt, 
Of White Ashes is a profound exploration of love, loyalty, and duty in the face of unimaginable circumstances. An unfortunately timely debut that forces the reader to question everything they assume about how their one life should be lived." 
—Bradford Pearson, author of The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America

“Of White Ashes
illuminates the real lives of those burdened by the weight of war, hate, and one of the darkest days humankind has ever known. Most importantly, it declares that the greatest power of life is to transcend mere survival. A rich and necessary novel.”
—Zach Powers, Artistic Director of the Writer’s Center and author of First Cosmic Velocity

BOOK DETAILS

Pub Date: May 1, 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Apprentice House Press
Page Count: 378
ISBN/Format/Price:

  • 978-1-62720-419-4 Hardcover $36.99
  • 978-1-62720-420-0 Paperback  $21.99
  • 978-1-62720-421-7 Ebook $9.99

ABOUT THE BOOK

The bombing of Pearl Harbor propels America into WWII and two Japanese Americans into chaos. Separated by the Pacific, each embarks on a tumultuous path to survive childhood and live the American dream. Ruby Ishimaru loses her liberty and is uprooted from her Hawaii home to Japanese American incarceration camps on the mainland. Koji Matsuo strains under the menacing clouds of the Japanese war machine and Hiroshima atomic bombing while concealing a dangerous secret—one that threatens his family’s safety.


When destiny brings Ruby and Koji together in California, their chemistry is magnetic, but wounds of trauma run deep and threaten their love as another casualty of war.


Inspired by the true stories of the authors’ family, Of White Ashes crosses oceans and cultures, illuminating the remarkable lives of ordinary people who endure seemingly unbearable hardship with dignity and patience. Their experiences compel us to reflect on the resilience of humanity and the risk of history repeating itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Constance Hays Matsumoto

Constance earned her B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University and M.S. in Business from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Authors Guild, Eastern Shore Writers’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Association, and served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Writers’ Association as Communications Chair and as President of the Baltimore Chapter. She is a former corporate and interior design devotee who later embraced the art and rigor of creative writing. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “What’s past is prologue,” Constance writes stories about poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. A native Marylander, Constance empty-nests in Greenville, Delaware with her husband Kent and their adorable Westie. 


Kent Matsumoto

Kent, a third-generation Japanese American, was born in Virginia and spent his formative years living in Japan where he attended the American School. He earned his degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Michigan Law School, and has worked in law firms and private and public companies. He currently serves on the boards of a publicly traded community bank and the non-profit Head Start Washington County (Maryland). He has authored articles for professional publications and spoken before numerous professional organizations.


The authors will donate a percentage of royalties to The Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages organization. 
www.jampilgrimages.com

TALKING POINTS

  • Constance and Kent can discuss the extensive research required to write this book in order to present it with integrity for historical accuracy and respect to their family
  • Based on our history and current racial tensions, Constance and Kent can discuss their thoughts on whether incarceration based solely on race could happen again and the consequences they think the world will witness in a future nuclear bombing
  • How important was the American Dream to the characters in Of White Ashes?
  • If this novel were made into a docuseries, who would the authors choose as the cast?
  • Of White Ashes is based on the true stories of Kent’s mother and father. How difficult is it to write about the trials experienced by one’s own family?

TIMELY TIE-INS

MARCH

  • 77th anniversary of when the last of the Japanese internment camps, the high-security camp at Tule Lake, California, was closed (1946)
  • March into Literacy Month
  • National Write Your Story Day- March 14 
  • World Storytelling Day - March 20 

 

APRIL

  • D.E.A.R. Month (drop everything and read)
  • National Library Week - April 23-29
  • Independent Bookstore Day- April 25 
  • Tell a Story Day - April 27
  • Cherry Blossom Day- April 29 

 

MAY

  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

 

LONG LEAD

  • Hiroshima Day - August 6 (1945)
  • Nagasaki Memorial Day - August 9 (1945)
  • Civil Liberties Act of 1988 signed into law - August 10 
  • Pearl Harbor Day - December 7 (1941)

ADVANCE PRAISE

Of White Ashes reminds me a bit of the tokonoma, the special place in every Japanese home that displays something beautiful which inspires contemplation. This well-told story of a Japanese-American couple whose love survives a whirlwind of tragic global events leaves the reader with a new awareness of history and a deeper appreciation of the human heart.”
—Lois Lowry, award-winning author of Number the Stars and The Giver 

“Ruby and Koji’s stories are deeply rooted in the trauma of wartime and show the unique forces that affected Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The redemptive power of love allows Ruby to confront her bitter legacy and come through her pain of betrayal and injustice, finding a healing through openness and forgiveness. Lessons for all of us.”  
—Claudia Katayanagi, director of A Bitter Legacy: The Untold Stories of American Concentration Camps

“A stunningly beautiful story. What the Matsumotos give readers is a deep look at an important and troubling period in America’s struggle to understand itself. That it springs from their own family history only underscores its importance. From the internment camps to Hiroshima to the Korean War, Ruby and Koji persevered. Their story is the story of all of us.”
—Christian Kiefer, author of Phantoms

“Sentimental and heartfelt, Of White Ashes is a profound exploration of love, loyalty, and duty in the face of unimaginable circumstances. An unfortunately timely debut that forces the reader to question everything they assume about how their one life should be lived." 
—Bradford Pearson, author of The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America

“Of White Ashes
 illuminates the real lives of those burdened by the weight of war, hate, and one of the darkest days humankind has ever known. Most importantly, it declares that the greatest power of life is to transcend mere survival. A rich and necessary novel.”
—Zach Powers, Artistic Director of the Writer’s Center and author of First Cosmic Velocity