Good for you, Debby. Congratulations on the new book. My fourth novel came out in July--The Second Savior. Took a detour and wrote a nonfiction book about how to detect lying. My agent is shopping it now.
Here's a Hawaiian novel idea. Maybe not right for you, but something that Hawaiians, including my brother, should think about. Economically, island economies are always at risk. With rising fuel costs, tourism could slow to a trickle. How would such a backdrop play out for any story?
I can relate--I like to get to the Mainland. You know how it is! Hope my books bring back memories, though I have to hope you've never been in a situation like some of the ones they cover:-)
The scuba has been great male bonding stuff for us bros, with night dives, diving wrecks and stuff. Glad that you're into it. After the Sydney Olympics my wife and I went to Heron Island near the Great Barrier reef and I got in five dives. The reef is still incredibly diverse -- or was seven years ago -- and the white tipped reef sharks had enough to keep them from getting too hungry. Went face to face with a five hundred pound grouper. Bottom times were representative but would be longer with double eighties or rapid rebreathers. So far I haven't gone there. I need to tell you what I learned from one of the women on the dive. She did the drift dive inverted (upside down) at neutral bouyancy, so as to see all the coral without the possibility of smashing into it. I picked it up right away. Once you get used to looking down instead of ahead or down, it kind of grows on you. And here's something: Hawaiian novels it would be far from unnatural to work in scuba, as Peter Benchley did both in Jaws and The Deep. Note on Benchley. He extracted a whole paragraph -- you can find it if you like -- verbatim from my friend Tom Allen's Shark Almanac and used it in Jaws for describing the great white. Having been educated by Jesuits, Tom is very philosophical, offering that "Plaigerism is the most sincere form a flattery." I'm not sure my reaction would have been as tempered.
Good for you for doing the marathon! Wow! Have you done a lot of marathons? Where do you live since you surf? I'm going to check out your page, of course. You'll have to tell me what you think of The Green Room. I surf a bit--just small waves on the south shore--so I talked to some big wave surfers to get the flavor of the north shore monsters.
Hope you enjoy! My third book in the series, Fire Prayer, just came out. It takes place on Molokai.
a hui hou,
Hi Deborah -- I was thrilled to see you write island mysteries. I had been looking for crime/thriller fiction set in Hawaii before we went for a visit last December (went to run the Honolulu marathon, awesome experience at the time of the 65th anniversary of the Pearl Harbour attack. )
And I love that GREEN ROOM has a surfing theme -- am off to pick it up. I dabble in the sport myself, as so many do, and come from a family of big wave enthusiasts.
Yes, I'd love to figure out a mystery where I need to go back to WWII. Right now, I've got my protagonist on Maui, where the Yakuza have used real estate investments to launder money.
I enjoy scuba diving, too, but probably don't do the kind of dives it sounds like you and your brother do. No excavating unexploded munitions... We (husband and 2 sons) occasionally take a vacation to the Big Island for a few days and check out the reef, lava tubes, manta rays. It's incredibly beautiful, isn't it?
a hui hou,
Yeah, Debby. I've been scuba diving with my brother off Oahu. North shore, Wainai (sp?) and even codiscovered an unexploded WWII munitions in the Pearl Harbor channel. We marked it and the SEALs went down and detonated it. It may not be the only unexploded munitions lurking down there. Ships returning from battles or patrols in the Pacific during WW II were required to enter Pearl with no unused shells, only brass. The thought came from the experience at Pearl on Dec, 2, 1941, when much of the Japaness 'success' came from follow-on explosions of live the US Navy's own ammunition in the ships' magazine's, esp. the Arizona. Those explosions spread fire from ship to ship and across the water, onto Ford Island. They figured they would 'arm' only departing ships. My brother is an retired Marine. If you ask him, that makes him a painter if the Corp needs a painter and a banjo player if they need one of those. It's a kind of a career where they do what they have to do. The neat thing about our exchange is that I can give you 'glimpses' back into the place where you now live. Since stories always roll back through characters into previous generations that the characters have met growing up, some of this may indeed by grist for the mill. Or it your novel becomes a move, grist for DeMille.
That's a great story, too. You could write a biography of your father. I'm fascinated with tales of that era. Now I'm curious about your brother--is he a painter by trade? Or a sailor?
Because I could paint a house if I had to, but a battleship? I don't think so.
Have you visited your brother yet?
I was about ten, I guess. I wouldn't have been at all if my father hadn't married my mother when he did. This is the 'other' Pearl Harbor story. When my dad graduated from the Naval Academy early in '41 -- graduations at both Annapolis and West Point were early those years in anticipation of imminent war, his first posting was -- you guessed it, Pearl Harbor. Now in those days, midshipmen were forbidden to marry until two years after graduation. When a questionaire was circulated to him and asked, simply, are you married, as an honorable man he could not tell a lie. So they mustered him out of the service just before Dec. 7, 1941. So he missed the Japanese attack. Now when, as they soon discovered, they were short qualified officers, they mustered him back in. And he caught the other great battle of WW II, the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. In quasi celebration of my father's incredible luck, my brother Al, in Mililani Town, volunteers to paint the remaining battleships on battleship row, most lately the USS Utah.
True Hawaii story. My father served at Pearl Harbor in the mid 50s. Then navy families could ride old ships on interisland trips. True, true! Once we were belowdecks on an LST, a ship that is literally a mothership for the tanks inside. It opens it bow like jaws and lets out a metal plank and down they go onto the beach. The class name of LST is landing ship tank, but the crew who rode them called them 'large slow targets' for subs, etc. Anyway, we were riding this old monster, it exhibiting every possible motion, pitch, roll and yaw, when the engines quit. In the Molokai channel. Within drifting range of the dreaded leper colony. Never did you see so many engineering officers of rank stripped down to their T shirts and working on a practical solution. Yes, we finally did recover, but not before one navy wife had donned a life vest and threatened to 'take my chances with the sharks.'
I love to parcel out ideas that I'll never get to write but feel may be right for anothe writer. Here the needs of being a Hawaiian and mystery writer fit. My brother lives in Mililani town and I've always felt that every island in the chain has the 'feel' of presenting the opportunity to structure a largish closed room mystery, in that your criminal or culprit can only go as far as the water (or airport) to escape. Approaching it that way, I'm wondering how much fun it would be to take, say, Lanai, and have a kidnapping or vanishing where is appears physically impossible, by the size of the 'crime site' and the closeness of the society, for someone to just go missing -- unless, of course, most the people would very much like them to go missing. Grist for the mill.
I hope this might work for you. Please, feel free. I think that the requirements of the story would limit its author to a person who is intimate with the locale. Not me.
It was wonderful to meet you! Thanks so much for the great review--I'm glad you enjoyed FIRE PRAYER. I've got my fingers crossed that the hurricane stays out to sea, yikes. Let's stay in touch!