Where do you get your writing ideas is a general question asked of many authors. As the Pages Turns asked Ron Hutchison, author of Voices of the Locusts this exact question of how he came up with idea for his novel, his inspiration and whom he would like to thank for getting him to where he is today.
I attended high school in Japan for two years—my father was stationed at an Air Force base in a remote part of the main island of Honshu. My father would often take me duck hunting, a service offered by a local fisherman who would ferry us about in search of ducks in the Sea of Japan. After each hunt my father would loan his shotgun to the Japanese fisherman, allowing the man to hunt ducks himself. The Japanese man was poor, and the shotgun provided food for the fisherman’s family. The man was more than pleased by my father’s generosity, but by loaning the weapon to the fisherman, my father put his career as an Army officer at great risk; my father’s kindness was in violation of Occupation Law, which prohibited Japanese citizens from owning or using firearms. (Occupation Law was enacted following World War II.)
The loaning of the shotgun was the seed of the idea for my novel, and much of the story is based on my personal experience. I have carried this story in my head for more than 30 years, and began piecing it together in my mind about 5 years ago.
I have my father to thank for providing me the experience; he also gave me background material for some of the military weaponry referenced in the story.
About Ron Hutchison
Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. Voices of the Locusts is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his Voices of the Locusts is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri.
About Voices of the Locusts
Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II.
Voices of the Locusts Book Excerpt
A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.