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Control Their Own Chosen Path

Liza Gino
Liza Gino Author Interview

Imelda’s Secret is a historical fiction novel based on true stories from women during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wrote Imelda’s Secret in the hopes to inspire and empower those who read about the Filipina “comfort women” and their continued struggle to find peace and justice decades after the end of World War II. After learning about the “comfort women,” I embarked on a mission to build awareness of their continued plight.

I did not want to write another war story. In this novel, I focused on the continued struggle by the “comfort women.” To survive, many of these women kept their torturous experience a secret that further exacerbated their situation because the alternative was nothing better. For the women who came forward were ridiculed, shunned, branded and sometimes killed. Those who endure with their secrets slowly devolve as their secrecy slowly destroys their lives and the lives of those around them.

If anything, the goal is to help empower individuals, especially women, to have courage and take their power to control their own chosen path.

I thought the historical accuracy of the novel was excellent. What type of research did you undertake to ensure things were accurate?

These were based on stories told to me by members of my family and friends of their own experiences. The first chapter was based on what my grandfather had to do to hide my mother and her siblings when the Japanese army stormed their next door neighbor’s house and how the river was filled with blood and headless bodies. I had a few eyewitness accounts on how male babies were thrown up in the air and sliced with a samurai sword. My very fair mestiza grandmother described how she had to cut her hair, wear men’s clothing, and roll in the mud to hide from the Japanese soldiers.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

I want to bring awareness to the “comfort women” and the struggle that still continues for them. I truly want my readers to be inspired and empowered to do more. Survival takes sheer will at times. Things may be insurmountable, but change begin with one step.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on another women’s interest book and I plan to have it available next year.

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Award winning book is based on real-life accounts, “Imelda’s Secret” delves into the story of two cousins who are grappling with the emotional scars of being forced to serve as ‘comfort women’ during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Forced into sexual slavery, ‘comfort women’ were stolen from their families and stripped of their dignity. The stories of these women have been swept under the rug for far too long.

“Imelda’s Secret” is a story of story of hope, redemption, and strength. It exposes the experiences of ‘comfort women’ in the hopes of sparking awareness and advocacy in all who read it.

Imelda’s Secret

Imelda's Secret by [Liza Gino, Miho Kim, Jeannie Celestial PhD LCSW, Judith Mirkinson]

Imelda’s Secret written by Liza Gino is a book based on true stories and events. It is a book that tells a story about two women, cousins Gloria and Imelda, both survivors of World War Two. Through the war, they were people known as, ‘comfort women’. Although they are now living in San Francisco, they both struggle with the trauma. Gloria is the one who steps forward and tells her story, but with some hard and painful consequences for her two sons. But Imelda was keeping it a secret to protect her family. What happens when they find the courage and the strength to gather all different women and stories about their suffering? Together this becomes a story of the survivors and women’s rights.

As we know, Liza Gino is not only an author. She is also an advocate and change agent, as we may recognize in her writing. The story written here is more than just a passionate testimony. It is a powerful testament that war is dangerous and deadly for everyone. It tells a different kind of story, one that is often hidden. Years ago – it was taboo for those survivors to take a stand. But, Imelda’s Secret is an illuminating book that speaks volumes to those that were blind to these situations and those seeking justice.

I enjoyed this book immensely, and the straightforward chronology helped keep me on track. But I felt that the dialogue was sometimes sensationalistic in a book that otherwise feels grounded. As we see in the book, it is hard to speak up, but raising your voice can help you and others. Imelda’s Secret is a candid story about ordinary but giant women whose secrets should be heard by the world. As a true believer in a passionate fight, and taboo uncovering, I highly recommend this book thought-provoking book by author Liza Gino.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08LB5XG64

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