Interview & Giveaway: Repentance by Andrew Lam

Today on the blog I have an interview with Andrew Lam, author of Repentance. Andrew is currently on blog tour with HF Virtual Book Tours and we are giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to enter the giveaway!

I will be posting my review of Repentance later today. Stay tuned!

Here is the interview, hope you enjoy it!

Hello Andrew and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Repentance!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

In my day job I’m a retina surgeon who treats patients going blind from conditions like retinal detachment and macular degeneration, but my other passion is American history. I write historical fiction to draw attention to aspects of our history that are not necessarily well known, but deserve to be. Repentance is my third book and is based on the dramatic true story of Japanese Americans who fought heroically in Europe during WWII, even though many had families incarcerated in internment camps at home.

What inspired you to write Repentance?

I discovered the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans that fought so heroically in Italy and France that it became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

What research did you undertake when writing Repentance?

I have spent my life studying military history and earned a degree in history from Yale before going to medical school. For this book I conducted research using books and memoirs related to the 442nd and also consulted with helpful veterans.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Repentance?

Repentance is a riveting, suspenseful family drama that is closely entwined with the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It’s the story of a Japanese American war hero with a terrible secret about a mistake he made in the war, and how this adversely affects his family for decades to come. It’s ultimately a tale of sacrifice, honor, forgiveness, and…repentance. It will appeal to readers who like character-driven historical fiction, and anyone interested in WWII history.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The climatic battle scene and emotional revelations that reveal the novel’s biggest secrets at the end of the book.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The same scene.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

During my surgical training. In the midst of that intense period of my life, I still wanted to find a way to share my love of history and the expertise I’d gained from my college studies with others. I also liked being able to be creative and use my imagination at a time when most of my waking hours were spent in the operating room or studying medicine.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

When I’m not in my clinic or operating, I seem to spend almost all my time driving my kids (there are four) to their various activities and sporting events. My “daily writing routine” is to write while “watching” them swim, do gymnastics, and play tennis. The swim meets are the most productive, because they are interminably long, as any parent of a swimmer knows very well!

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

My writing is completely dependent on finding new ideas that grab and fascinate me. For example, I wrote my first historical novel, Two Sons of China, because I became passionate about WWII in China. For Repentance, I was enthralled by the story of the 442nd. When I’m passionate about an idea my writing seems almost effortless and doesn’t feel like work. The problem is, such ideas are not always easy to come by, and I know if I don’t have intense interest in a topic then my writing won’t be very good. So the challenge is the constant search for the next great idea. Which leads to your next question…

Who are your writing inspirations?

I usually derive ideas and inspiration from reading history books. Films, travel and meeting new people with interesting backgrounds also help spark new ideas.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I read a lot of historical fiction as a child. Probably Rifles for Waite, by Harold Keith, and Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt (Newberry Award winner and honor books, respectively), were among my first.

What is the last historical novel you read?

We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter. Excellent book based on one Polish family’s true story of survival during WWII.

What are three things people may not know about you?

My goal is to visit all 400+ National Park sites in the U.S. I’m about halfway there.
My favorite historical novel is The Winds of War, by Herman Wouk.
I love anything written by Ken Follett (Eye of the Needle, Jackdaws, Pillars of the Earth).

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love historical fiction because it’s a way to convey history in an entertaining and engaging way. It also enables us to make history come alive by showing how historical events affect individuals and families. It allows readers to see themselves, and sometimes consider the decisions they might have made, in another time and place.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

World War II.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Read history books, travel, try to keep up with my kids.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

Nothing I’m ready to share about yet, but my immediate goal is to make sure I’ve remembered my wife’s list of times and places to pick up the kids so no one gets forgotten. I’m sure plenty of parents reading this know exactly what I mean!

Thank you for hosting me!

Thank you, Andrew!

Repentance by Andrew Lam

Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Tiny Fox Press
Paperback & eBook; 308 Pages

France, October 1944. A Japanese American war hero has a secret.

A secret so awful he'd rather die than tell anyone--one so entwined with the brave act that made him a hero that he's determined never to speak of the war. Ever.

Decades later his son, Daniel Tokunaga, a world-famous cardiac surgeon, is perplexed when the U.S. government comes calling, wanting to know about his father's service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII. Something terrible happened while his father was fighting the Germans in France, and the Department of Defense won't stop its investigation until it's determined exactly who did what.

Wanting answers of his own, Daniel upends his life to find out what his father did on a small, obscure hilltop half a world away. As his quest for the truth unravels his family's catastrophic past, the only thing for certain is that nothing--his life, career, and family--can ever be the same again.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Repentance

“Suspenseful, touching, and beautifully written.” -Margaret George, New York Times best-selling author of Elizabeth I and Helen of Troy

“A gorgeous, emotional book. A story of honor and sacrifice. An important, and timely, American story.” -Karin Tanabe, author of The Diplomat’s Daughter and The Gilded Years

“An intimate, revealing story of family secrets, love and honor during a turbulent time in Japanese American history.” -Gail Tsukiyama, award-winning author of The Samurai’s Garden and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

“Gripping, engrossing, and poignant. Repentance reveals the nature of combat and its affect on men long after the guns fall silent.” -Susumu Ito, 442nd RCT veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star and Congressional Gold Medal

About the Author

Andrew Lam, M.D., is the award-winning author of Repentance, Two Sons of China, and Saving Sight. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Born in Philadelphia and raised in central Illinois, he graduated summa cum laude in history from Yale University, where he studied military history and U.S.-East Asian relations. He then attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by specialty training to become a retinal surgeon. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and resides in western Massachusetts with his wife and four children.

His newest book is Repentance, a historical novel and riveting family drama entwined with the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a group of Japanese American soldiers who fought valiantly in Europe during WWII while many of their families were incarcerated in camps like Manzanar at home. The 442nd became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

Learn more at Andrew Lam's website. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, May 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 2
Review at Bookish Sarah

Friday, May 3
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 6
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 7
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, May 10
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, May 13
Feature at RW Bookclub

Tuesday, May 14
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Comet Readings
Review at Jorie Loves a Story


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a paperback copy of Repentance by Andrew Lam! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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