I was born in Pasadena, California, where the Rose Parade is held every year. I have a younger brother who flies helicopters (remote-control ones), scuba dives, and has worked in special effects for movies, creating giant arms for "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." I haven't done anything half that interesting.
I have traveled to Ghana, West Africa, and lived a year in Tokyo, Japan. I graduated Stanford University with a major in international relations.
I wanted to be a writer ever since I was in fourth grade. I also wanted to be a librarian because I loved books so much. Unfortunately, I'm also pretty messy and disorganized, so I probably would have ended up filing the books in all the wrong places. So I became a writer instead.
My first full-time job was at a newspaper. My first story that I remember covering was about a dead body found in a swimming pool. It took me all day to write that story, which happened to be a couple of inches long when published that evening. I figured out then that reporting/writing was hard work, a lot harder than it seemed. But the more I wrote, the better I got. To make extra money, I also translated Japanese business stories into English. Once a week, I pulled an "all-nighter," which means that I didn't sleep for 24 hours. But somehow I managed.
I eventually transitioned from editing a newspaper to writing nonfiction, specifically local history about Japanese Americans and Southern California. I often write about the Japanese American community because of everything they went through in the 20th century, especially when they were forced to move away from their homes on the West Coast during World War II. A lot of the people I interviewed over the years have passed away, but I feel that their stories have stayed with me.
After completing a number of nonfiction books, I finally was able to get a contract to get my mystery novel published. From idea to publication, it took 15 years. I must have rewritten the beginning more than thirty times. Some things take time.
1001 Cranes is my first middle-grade book. I hope to write more books for young people. Writing books for young people is as hard if not harder than for adults. Actually I think people of all ages can read 1001 Cranes. I hope that you enjoy it.
If you want to read a more detailed biography, see my main website, www.naomihirahara.com.
To contact me, you can e-mail bachi (at) naomihirahara.com or write me at P.O. 60614, Pasadena, CA 91116. You can also find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596876626