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Yamaguchi embarks on book tour with 'Poppy'

Olympic champ sits down with icenetwork.com for a Q&A on day of second book's release

Kristi Yamaguchi holds up a copy of her book, <i>It's a Big World, Little Pig!</i>.
Kristi Yamaguchi holds up a copy of her book, It's a Big World, Little Pig!. (icenetwork.com)

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By icenetwork.com
(03/07/2012) - Kristi Yamaguchi's second children's book, It's a Big World, Little Pig!, was released in stores Tuesday, March 6. Following a book signing -- one of many she had scheduled in the coming days and weeks -- at a Barnes & Noble in New York City, icenetwork.com sat down with the Olympic gold medalist, wife of a Stanley Cup winner (Bret Hedican, member of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes) and mother of two.

Icenetwork.com: What are the emotions like for you on the day of the book's release?

Yamaguchi: It's nerve-racking. You just hope to get the word out, that people know about it, that people take a look and like the story. You're putting yourself out there, and you're going to get feedback, both good and negative. It's good to take it all to heart and learn from it. When you're so personally attached and invested in it, it's like, 'Whoooa!'

Icenetwork.com: What's the scope of your book tour?

Yamaguchi: It's pretty intense. There are seven cities, starting here in New York, then to Boston, D.C., Chicago, then I go home for a couple days, then to LA, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. And I'm doing several stops in the San Francisco Bay Area, my hometown area.

Icenetwork.com: When you wrote the first book, did you think there would be a second?

Yamaguchi: I just wanted to take it one step at a time. It was a brand new process for me. I was just excited to get one out there.

Icenetwork.com: When did you decide a second one was in order?

Yamaguchi: I was hopeful before the first one was done that there'd be a second one. Sourcebooks, my publisher, brought it up first. They asked, 'Do you have any ideas for a second?' I said, 'Really? Yeah, of course I do!' I was excited to know they were interested.

icenetwork.com: Where did the idea for this book come from?

Yamaguchi: It came from personal experiences. I remember what an impression my first international experience left on me -- the excitement, anxiety, the friends I made, some of them lifelong. It was another great message for kids, something I had experience in, so why not write about that?

Icenetwork.com: You have two young children. Do you bounce ideas off them to see how they're received?

Yamaguchi: They're my first test audience. I get feedback from them. They give me outfit and design ideas, some storyline stuff. They're excited about the whole thing. They like being a part of the process. Emma, my younger daughter, is in the book as Poppy's best friend. My older daughter (Keara) helped name Poppy the Pig. They really feel like they're part of it, which is what the intent always was.

Icenetwork.com: How did your daughter come up with the name Poppy?

Yamaguchi: I had a list of "P" names. It was between Paulina, Piper and Poppy. I asked her, 'Which one do you like? Poppy the Pig? Piper the Pig?' She picked Poppy. I said, 'All right, I'm turning it in,' and they went with it.

Icenetwork.com: Why a pig?

Yamaguchi: I love pigs. There are a lot of books with little girls in them. I thought, 'Let's do an animal.' It's a little more imaginative. It has a fun feeling to it. Growing up, some of my favorite characters were pigs: Miss Piggy, Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. I was born in the Year of the Pig. It's always been a good-luck symbol for me.

Read more from this interview in an upcoming "5 Favorite Things with..." feature.