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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog Tour: Illegal by Bettina Restrepo Blogger Interview + Giveaway!

I am very honored to have debut author Bettina Restrepo on our blog today, and be one of the stops for Illegal's blog tour! This is a one of a kind blog tour post for me because instead of me interviewing Bettina, I was the one interviewed. I wanted to read Illegal because I can relate to the book in a lot of ways, and you'll find out in this interview more or less the reason why I do.

Don't worry, the questions and my answers are all related to Illegal's theme! Join me in welcoming Bettina here at Amaterasu Reads!


Bettina: Kai approached me with her unique story and why she wanted to read and review Illegal. Her story is like so many, and very similar to Nora’s. I was deeply touched and I thought by interviewing her, people could see, no matter where they come from, that Illegal can relate to them.


Bettina: Illegal deals with immigration from a Mexican to USA perspective. Does Japan have similar issues with people who want to immigrate?

Kai: Japan has really strict laws when it comes to people who want to immigrate. Unlike in other countries, you can't become a Japanese citizen even if you want to. You need to have all the papers just to travel and work there.

In the Philippines, where I’m from, many people think the only way to give their families a more decent life is to work overseas. Japan is one of the countries most people want to work for. It's a first world country, so naturally people from a third world country would want to try their luck there.

Bettina: How do some Japanese view Philippine immigrants?

Kai: It's hard to live as TNT, a slang term in my language. It means "Tago ng Tago.” It's what we call people/workers who are living undocumented in another country, which is similar to illegal. "Tago" in our language means "hide,” so TNT refers to people who always hide from the authorities. I saw Japanese policemen approach Filipinas to ask for their IDs, proof that they are living there legally.

Bettina: You stated that your parents have worked abroad since you were a child. Could you talk about some of the emotions that you felt then and now about having your parents far away?

Kai: Growing up, it was hard. I would wake up at night crying for my mother. My dad consoled me, but soon, he too left for overseas work. I felt so alone. I have an older brother, a sister and a twin brother and even though we were better off then, I wouldn't trade a single day of being with my family for the money we're getting.

Bettina: How did you feel when you went to Japan to work by yourself?

Kai: I understood that I wasn’t the only one feeling lonely. I came to understand their reasons why they have to work out of the country. My mom used to tell me, “You have to be tough to be able to live and work overseas.” She was right, and I was home within a year.

Bettina: Why did you become a book blogger and what role do books play in your life.

Kai: I've been reading books since I was ten from my mother’s romance collection. We would go to book sales every weekend, and I would bring books to school to share with my classmates. I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what I read to many people, and book blogging is a really effective way to do it. Books are my life. I can hardly imagine how I'll be spending all those years if I wasn't reading.

Bettina: Kai, thank you so much for sharing your reaction to Illegal!

Thank you, Bettina!

Illegal Book trailer:



Win 1 of 5 SIGNED copies of ILLEGAL!

To enter the contest, all you need to do is to answer this question: Would you break the law to find your family across a foreign border?

If you ask me? I would. My family means the world to me, and crossing a border is nothing if it means I can be with them again.

Please include your city, state or country in your answers. THIS IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! Contest runs until March 1st! The winner will be announced on April 1st! Make sure to check Bettina's Facebook and Twitter to know if you've won. The winner must contact Bettina with their mailing address.

I cannot wait to read everyone's answers!


  1. Thanks you Kai! Your answers on the interview were very touching!

    For your readers, we are offering a 50 page excerpt at

  2. That's a hard question to answer, but yes, I would do is family, no matter what border is between you.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    iswimforoceans at gmail dot com

  3. Such a beautiful interview. Because of this, Kai, I felt like I've got to know you "a little more personal" *hugs*

    To answer your question: DEFINITELY. My family means the world for me. They're the main reason why I want to live and they inspire me in so many ways :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  4. Great interview! As many of my friends are immigrants from all over the world, immigration is always a topic I love to read about. I think I would certainly break laws and do everything to get back to my family, family always comes first, no matter what!

    marjoleinbookblog at gmail dot com (Holland)

  5. I would ... at least for some family members *lol*.

    danaan at gmx dot at

  6. Kai and Bettina, what a personal way to talk about ILLEGAL! Thank you, Kai, for sharing your story.

  7. Kai - what a lovely interview! It makes me so sad to think of you separated from your parents. Are they still working abroad? Sending you hugs for all those lonely times and the hope that they are in the past.

    Though I don't need to be entered in the contest - my answer is Yes. I would always find my family - especially if it was my child.

  8. Hi I'm from Cocoa, Florida, USA and yes, I would do whatever it takes to find my family across any border or restriction. I realize some of these places, such as Russia, Iran or China, for example, could be really hard to get into. But there are many ways of seeking help: diplomatically, through peaceful means and if all else fails, then hire some mercenaries to get them out... so if I had to enter a country that US citizens are not allowed to go to, I would first try the diplomatic way and if that doesn't work, hire mercenaries ("extractors") and I'd join them since I am proficient with weapons and martial arts. That may be illegal, but hey, family comes first! Thanks for having the contest!

  9. not an entry, as I am a fellow 2k11'er, but, wow, what a beautiful interview! I love that Bett interviewed you! :)

  10. A thought-provoking and touching interview - kudos to the two of you! As another fellow 2k11 member, I had seen the trailer when it first came out; seeing it again after having the opportunity to read the book, I was even more deeply affected.

  11. Dude - what an amazing answer. I was just commenting on this in another blog. What if it was Iran? I mean, the US/Mexico border is so dangerous right now - but diplomatic processes must be the first way, but I'm with you... if that doesn't work, get outta my way.

    Waves at Marjolein and Birgit in Europe!

  12. Great interview. A great way to humanize a group of people who have been do unfairly scapegoated in our society. That kind of hatred really only works until you see the humanity in each individual. So this book could really make a difference.

    Absolutely I would. I would steal food if my family was starving (though I would first try to find legal assistance) and I would cross a border illegally to be with family. Sometimes it's the laws that are wrong, not the people who break them. Laws that cause starvation and separate families do not deserve our obedience.

  13. Catherine - so well stated. Thank you!

  14. I'm with you, I would do anything for my family so I would definitely break the law to be with them again.
    I'm from Logan, UT in the US

  15. Such a moving and thought-provoking interview. I live in Texas where Mexican immigration is a much-discussed issue. But it's sobering to realize that this kind of thing (families being separated, financial desperation, etc.) goes on all around our world.

    Thanks for sharing, Kai. And thanks, Bettina for writing a great book!


  16. This is a poignant and very moving interview. Thank you for sharing it with us, Kai.

    Even if I have a break the law, I would try to cross the border to find my family.

  17. I would most definitely cross the borders for my family. I’m originally from Germany, and being able to cross borders means the world to me.
    Kansas USA

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  18. As Kai's story shows, people do not risk their lives and freedom by entering a country illegally so that they can take away jobs and hurt the natives of the country they're entering. They takes those risks because they need to find employment, food, shelter, safety, and other basic human necessities. I would totally risk my life and freedom to enter a country illegally if it would help me or my family to survive. Thanks for sharing your story, Kai!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  19. I would most likely do anything to get back with my family - illegal or not.

    Thanks for the chance! This seems like such an important book.

    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

  20. I would definitely cross the border! Family means much more to me than the law.
    MN, USA.

    Great giveaway.

  21. Of course! I wouldn't even hesitate.
    I'd die for my family - seriously. Family first.
    I'd do anything for them. No matter how dangerous and reckless.

    I'm from the Philippines, like you! :D

    Thank you!

  22. awww, thanks everybody. I have you enetered (waves at Precious in the Phillippines... keep up your studies!)

  23. Of course I would! My family is everything to me!
    Thanks! :)

  24. Depends on the situation. If it is urgent I will. But if isn't or there's another way,I would not.

    Thank you~
    I'm from Malaysia.

  25. Kai, I enjoyed reading your Q&A!

    I'm from Kentucky and yes, I would cross the illegally to be with my family.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    d.septer at

  26. Family is everything, I would have to do it.

  27. My answer will be the same till this Blog Tour End, "I would do that !"

    And Kai, thank you for sharing your story !

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  28. i definitely would. Friends may leave me, but i know that my family is always there. they accept me for who i am and they love me unconditionally. for that, i would do anything for them, even if it means breaking the law :)



  29. Camille - what a beautiful entry! I love it.

    This entry closes out this blogs entries into the book giveaway. I will announce the winners via my Facebook page on April 1!

    Kai - that you for hosting an awesome event!

  30. This is a great giveaway! Thank you.

    Nothing would stop me from trying to find my family. I know they will always be there for me, where friends might not, as I am for them. I know I would not survive if I didn't have them by my side everyday.

    Kent, England



I love getting comments from my readers and fellow bookworms, and I try my best to respond to all of them. Feel free to give me a piece of your thoughts. Also, this is an award-free blog. I simply don't have the time to highlight them anymore, but thank you for thinking of my blog!

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