Bexley author yens to write

PUBLISHED: 11:56 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:56 23 May 2013

Mandy Armstrong with pictures of her Aunt and book

Mandy Armstrong with pictures of her Aunt and book


Mandy Armstrong’s aunt came to stay from America two years ago for a family party.

But while unpacking Christina St Claire’s suitcase, Mandy discovered a 10-yen coin. Her aunt did not know where it had come from. The find inspired the two ladies to pen a novel, Ten Yen True, which has recently been published, with some proceeds going to helping victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

“She had no idea how the coin got there,” said mother-of-one Mandy, who lives in North Cray Road, Bexley. “Needless to say, our overactive imaginations soon kicked into gear and we thought we could make a book out of this.”

After the celebrations for the birthday of Mandy’s father were over, 63-year-old Christina returned to her home in Ashford, Kentucky, but it was not as hard as they thought it would be to write a joint novel on opposite sides of the world.

The 38-year-old said: “We wrote it together via email and Skype, writing alternate chapters and coming up with two main characters each.

“We inspired and motivated one another, more so than if I was writing it on my own. I didn’t want to be the one to let the side down and neither did Christina, so we both produced our chapters on time.”

Ten Yen True intertwines the lives of four people, all of whom need one another to bring about healing and are being helped by a Japanese Buddhist monk, who gives them all a 10-yen coin.

It is set against the backdrop of the devastating tsunami which killed about 16,000 people when it struck Japan in March 2011.

Ten per cent of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to a tsunami relief fund and at the end of this month the pair are due to find out how much money they have made since the book was published in February.

Mandy said: “Our publishers, Rogue Phoenix Press, took an age to get back to us after we sent them the finished book, but thankfully they took us on. Hopefully they’ll publish the sequel which is in the pipeline.”

The whirlwind journey took Mandy to Kentucky last month for a mini book tour and signing, and she says the reviews on the tour and on retail website Amazon have generally been positive.

She gave up her career in the banking industry in 2004 and now combines her writing with looking after her five-year-old daughter Mia, along with husband David.

“The only other novel I’ve written has been self-published, so this is very different. My aunt has had books published before and I’m sure that helped in finding a publisher.

“David has been a big help and my biggest supporter. He’s the one who realised the object in Christina’s suitcase was a 10-yen coin and he encouraged me to go on the book tour in Kentucky.

“I’m looking forward to working with my aunt again. We’re a great team.”

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