I asked Naomi to say a few words about writing the story:
I've always been curious about beauty pageants, especially ethnic specific ones (Miss Navajo Nation, Miss Chinatown, etc.). We have one in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo that has existed for more than 70 years. Rather than having female characters in their teens during the actual time of the pageant, I thought it would be interesting to jump forward ten years later. I set "The Chirashi Covenant" six years after the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and during the postwar housing boom of Los Angeles. The hope and excitement of being beauty queens have faded and reality has set in. Most of the 1941 contestants have started to rebuild their lives and recalibrate their dreams, but one refuses to abide by the status quo, which eventually leads to the destruction of her family.
Truthfully, I'm very humbled and even a bit embarrassed to be included in a collection with the likes of Chandler, Cain, Macdonald [Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics]. But when I think about my characters and what they faced and survived, I am truly honored. Thanks to Busted Flush Press, editor Megan Abbott, and A Hell of a Woman for "The Chirashi Covenant" to see the light of day. (Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics only feature short stories that have been published before.)