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japan • Relate Magazine

Chit Chatting with Skye Holland


Written by Jill Sheets

Singer and songwriter Skye Holland began her music at 10 years old in Tokyo, Japan, where she was born. I first discovered her when I saw the video for the song “Superhero.” By the way, did you know that she loves the series Prison Break? You will have to read on to find out why and learn about some other interesting topics.  


R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start in music.

S: I started taking vocal lessons when I was thirteen. I met Steve Kroeger in high school and we started working together. Ever since then, my music started getting more serious, and I also started songwriting.


R: Tell us about your single “We Could Be.”

S: We always do this thing where we write music and never finish it. “We Could Be” was one of those songs. We came back to it a year later and it became one of my favorites.


R: Tell us about your other music. What are your top five songs to sing on stage?

S: Not in order, but my favorite songs are “Dive,” “Hang On,” “Her,” “Coastline,” which I’m featured on, and “Paradise.”


R: How do you come up with the ideas for your music videos? What is the best part about filming them?

S: My videographer Tim and I sit down and brainstorm ideas together. Seeing it all come together at the end is the best part of filming a music video.


R: Where can people hear or get your music?

S: Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud, and Apple Music.


R: There are times when people are afraid to approach celebrities. What advice would you give them if they wanted to come up to you?

S: I would like to know the answer to that too.


R: What are some of your future goals?

S: To travel and work with other musicians and just keep releasing new music.


R: What are five things people may not know about you?

S: I speak fluent Japanese, I’m a certified eyelash technician, I love spicy food, I only have one cousin, and I’ve rewatched the series Prison Break six times. I have a crush on Michael Scofield.


R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

S: When I was in Japan, I was asked if my mother was my translator because we look nothing alike.


R: What advice would you give teenage girls these days?

S: Don’t care about what other people think and do what makes you happy.


R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page>

S: Instagram: @iamskyeholland

Twitter: @iamskyeholland

Snapchat: skyeholland

Facebook: facebook.com/iamskyeholland

Website: www.iamskyeholland.com

YouTube: youtube.com/skyeholland


R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

S: Thank you for all the love and support. Follow me on Spotify- iamskyeholland


Picture credit: Tim Langley


Chit Chatting with Jay Kristoff

Chit Chatting with Jay Kristoff

Written by:  Jill Sheets

StormdancerRecently I had the honor of interviewing author Jay Kristoff.  Continue to read on about him and about his book “Stormdancer.” Hope you enjoy.

R: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

J: My name is Jay Kristoff. I tell lies for a living. I am a mammal, but not a marsupial – they have pouches.

R: What is your writing process? Do you out-line or start to write?

J: Traditionally, I’ll just start writing. I’ll have an idea for a setting or a scene and just see where the words take me. Sometimes I’ll find myself in a dead end, but sometimes I’ll surprise myself and end up with a twist I never saw coming. I like that idea – if a writer can surprise themselves, they’ll probably surprise their readers too.

I’m working on book 3 of the Lotus War series at the moment, and I’ve had to be far more methodical about plotting so everything ends up in a neat little bow at the end. It’s been a very different way of working. I’d much rather be just running with the words into strange and hidden places. I think I’m something of an anarchist at heart.

R: Tell us about your book “Stormdancer.”

J: It’s a collision between teampunk and epic fantasy, set in a world inspired by the samurai age of Japan. The story is about a teenaged girl named Yukiko, who along with her father is commanded to capture the last griffin left alive. It’s a story about friendship and rebellion, standing up for what you believe and discovering who you are. It also has chainsaw katanas.

R: I read the “Stormdancer” is going or is a series. Can you tell us a little bit about the other books and how many do you plan on writing for the series?

J: The series is called “The Lotus War”, and it’s set to be a trilogy. Unless it sells a million copies, and then we’ll have companion books and spin off series and kid’s lunchboxes, and I’ll get to buy that time-travelling hovercar I’ve always wanted. But yeah, probably three books.

The next two books are also about Yukiko and her further adventures with Buruu (that’s the griffin – I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you they become friends). The country is in a state of chaos after the events of book 1, and that chaos ultimately leads to a conflict to decide the future of the nation. Yukiko and Buruu find themselves right in the middle of it. Eeeeeeeeeeee.

R: How did you come up with the ideas for this series?

J: Well, it really started with a dream. Which is a really lame answer, I know. But I had a dream about a little boy trying to teach a griffin to fly. The griffin’s wings were broken, and it couldn’t get off the ground. But that image stuck in my head – the idea of a griffin who couldn’t fly. It all really fell out from that one image.

So, keep a dream diary! Your brainmeats work in mysterious ways while you’re asleep.

R: What kind of research went in to writing these books?

J: I’m never entirely sure how to answer questions like that, so I usually insert some smart-assery like “Drank lots of saké”or something similar. I’ve been living with Japanese literature and cinema in one form or another since I was a kid. I read books on feudal Japan so thick you could beat a burglar to death with them. But the truth is, you can read as much on a subject as you like – you’re never going to be possessed of the same knowledge-base as someone who was born in the country from which it originates. With that in mind, I recruited four friends who live in Japan (two Japanese-born, two ex-pats) and I used them as my sounding boards and vetting police – I knew I’d be making changes to the traditional ideas of Japanese mythology, society, even language, and wanted to have them okayed at the source.

R: If they were to make your books into movies, who would your dream cast be?

J: Ah, fun question. I think Yukiko would have to be someone new. But here’s who I imagined when I was writing the characters. Interestingly enough, most of the Tiger clan members are Chinese actors, and the Foxes are Japanese. And they’re all probably too old now. But anyway…

Masaru – Ken Watanabe
Kasumi – Michelle Yeoh
Akihito – Tony Leung (he’d have to hit the ‘roids to bulk up though)
Michi – Chiaki Kuriyama or maybe Devon Aoki
Aisha – Zhang Ziyi
Yoritomo – Chang Chen
Hideo – George Takei ( I love George)
Daichi – Chow Yun Fat
Kaori – Maggie Cheung

R: Where can people get your books?

J: My website www.jaykristoff.com

has a page called “Buy the Book” which has a whole bunch of links. But, here are a couple of quick ones:

Barnes & Noble

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

J: My beard is the source of my strength
Despite rumor to the contrary, I do wear pants most of the time.
My countenance graces a stamp in Uzbekistan
Ain’t no party like my nanna’s tea party. Hey. Hoooo.
I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

R: What are your future goals?

J: Maybe become the dictator of some modest nation. Somewhere with decent weather and nice beaches.

Maybe just quit my day job.

R: What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and by who?

J: The best advice I think I’ve ever received was to never finish a writing session by finishing the scene you’re working on. Even if you’re on a roll and the words are flowing like mana from heaven. Don’t finish that scene. This way, when you start writing again the next day, you’ll be excited about it, and you’ll know where you’re going and what you’re doing, and won’t be stuck sitting at the cursor flashing at you in that evil, taunting kind of way that cursors sometimes do.

Thing is, I can’t remember who gave me that advice…

R: What advice do you have for teen writers that have sent out their books/stories etc, but got back a rejection letter from a publisher or agent and they now feel like giving up on writing?

J: Rejection is a part of the industry. Rejection and writing go together like clouds and sky. Try to understand that the rejection isn’t personal – that it’s your work, not you being rejected. Take heart in the fact that the best writers on the planet have had their manuscripts rejected – that the person who wrote your favourite book in the entire world was probably rejected dozens if not hundreds of times before they got published. Work at your craft and study the industry. Follow your dream and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

J: “What color is Tuesday?”

I think I answered “purple”. Sounded right at the time.

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their address? Do you have an official website?

J: Indeed!

My Twitter
My Facebook
My website

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your readers?

J: Thank you. Thanks for reading “STORMDANCER”, for tweeting and blogging and making art and all the awesome stuff you do. You rule.

R: Jay, thank you for the interview. It was an honor and I hope that you have a great day.

J: Thanks, it was great to be here!