Virtual Book tour: Clarissa Goenawan, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

“Like Japanese brush painting, the author’s simple, clear prose captures Miwako’s vulnerability and complexity…An eerie and elegant puzzle.” Kirkus Review 

What is your novel about?

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida (Soho Press) is a story of how a young woman’s unexplained suicide shapes and transforms the lives of those she left behind. It’s a literary mystery with elements of magical realism set in Japan.

What were your book launch plans pre-Covid?

We planned to have some bookstore events and overseas book tours, which unfortunately have to be canceled.

Where were you when you heard your book tour/ launch was canceled?

I was actually in Indonesia (my home country) for the Chinese New Year when the condition turned progressively bad, and my Singapore-based distributor told me the events would have to be canceled or postponed.

Are you and your publisher doing anything special/ different to promote your novel?

Thankfully, the reading community has been very supportive of us, writers whose book launches have been impacted by the current pandemic. Many book reviewers and writers offered to help get the word out (such as yourself—thank you very much!)

Can you tell us bit about the path to writing and selling your book?

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is my second novel. My debut novel, Rainbirds, was out in 2018. I first wrote Rainbirds in November 2013. It was a NaNoWriMo novel. I spent about one and a half months writing the first draft, and one and a half years editing it. Querying and finding a publisher took more than a year. The publishing process was around two years. In total, it took me about five years from the first draft to publication.

I wrote my new novel in November 2015. Yes, another NaNoWriMo novel. I spent a few months writing the first draft, and a few years editing it. Finding a publisher took a shorter time since I decided to stay with the same house. The publishing process added another two years.

It still took me five years from the first draft to publication.

It doesn’t get any easier, or faster.

On a lighter note, do you have any quirky writing rituals?

I can’t write hungry, so I usually eat before I write. Or at least, get a glass of juice. I love fresh juice in the morning. (Okay, that’s probably not quirky enough… Guess I’m quite low maintenance? Haha.)

What was the hardest cut you made from your book, your favorite Dead Darling?

I’m so used to cutting and rewriting, they’ve stopped hurting a long time ago!

Where can we buy your novel?

Thank you for asking!


Barnes & Noble



Penguin Random House

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