Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Face: An Interview with Author Greg Field

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: This week we welcome editor and author Greg Field to our “Friday - 13 Authors” interview. Greg, thank you for sharing with readers your short story, The Face, included within the anthology MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, and for taking time to visit with us today. 

Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing? 

GREG FIELD: At an early age I enjoyed telling stories. I even drew comic books with my own made up characters. The heroes were not necessarily endowed with super powers, but more likely to be a kid my own age. The villains were teachers, police officers, or other grown-ups who used their authority for evil or to bully others. Firemen were heroes — they ran to the fire when everyone else ran away. 

One evening when I was young I saw a park structure on fire. Sparks and burning cinders swirled into the night sky. I called the fire department and soon the fire trucks rolled up. Men in heavy yellow coats pulled thick canvas hoses to the fire. Overspray from the nozzles chilled the air. I stood with onlookers — adults who insisted I stay back because I was a child. I wanted to tell them I was the one who called the fire department. One adult suggested it was kids who’d set the fire. And so onto my list of heroes went those who were unjustly accused. These same characters and themes appear in my stories: kids who take on the roles of adults, persons who must prove their innocence or overcome bullies who gang up on the weak.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Writers, by default, are independent contractors who sit alone at their computer/typewriter/journal, composing prose, poetry, lyrics, haiku, or limericks, for hours on end. 

Why did you choose to collaborate with 13 other authors to participate in a short story anthology? 

GREG FIELD: I often share the early drafts of my writing with Laurie Hanan, another author in the anthology. She suggested I write a story and submit it to Sisters In Crime. I’d just finished a novel, Red Dirt, and wanted to hang out some more with the same characters. This often happens. After living with my characters for a few months I’ll see them in little vignettes, like hanging out in Chinatown or eating ice cream cones. I had an idea that wasn’t enough to carry a novel, but was perfect for a short story.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Each short story in the anthology offers a glimpse into the personality of the writer. 

In your short story, The Face, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer? 

GREG FIELD: The scene where detective Kai leads Ka’ena into the soup kitchen — it’s menacing, bleak, hostile, but it is also part of his past, so in a way it is familiar to him. Kai even meets someone he knew from when he was a kid — and yet they’d never known each other’s name. Kai revealed all of this to Ka’ena, not in words but in an active way. At the time Ka’ena is terrified but later she thanks him for it. 

This scene in particular resonates for me. Many times we struggle to tell another person about ourselves, our past — often words just don’t capture the experience or evoke the emotions. With their descent into that miserable place, Kai told Ka’ena what his life had been like at her age.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Every writer has a WIP (Work-In-Progress). 

Can you tell us a bit about your current project? 

GREG FIELD: I’m putting the final touches on Red Dirt, a novel that brings Detective Kai and teenage Ka’ena together. It should be available soon. At the same time I am outlining their next adventure – With Eyes Like Those. Detective Kai is accused of killing a motorcycle cop’s brother while rescuing a kidnapped girl. Meanwhile a friend of Ka’ena has gone missing, lured by the promise of easy money as a fashion model. Ka’ena decides to go undercover, and Kai must get her back before she is smuggled off the island.

Following is an Excerpt from Greg Field’s short story, The Face:

“Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”

“It was the medical examiner. She’ll be here soon.”

“Dr. Emerald-Eyes,” and she adopted a quick succession of Bollywood poses. The uniform cops suppressed a grin.

“Knock it off.”

Ka’ena shrugged. “I think I’ll walk down the street and make sure it’s the same guy.”

“Just stay here. I don’t want you confronting him.”

“I won’t confront him. I’ll just look in the window—like I’m window shopping.”

When the ME arrived he could turn custody of the site over to her. “Wait five minutes and we’ll go down there together.”

“Five minutes will turn into ten.” She minced Bollywood with the hands of Kali, dipping at the knees as if wearing a tight sari. “And how are you, my Beloved Inspector Detective?” She dropped her eyes seductively, then shot them up at him.

“Cut her some slack.”

“I’ll just take a look.”


Ka’ena was already striding down the block. She crossed Hotel Street without waiting for the light, even though she had to know four cops plus Kai were watching her. The uniform cops seemed to get a chuckle out of it, like Kai had a sparkly puppy that totally disregarded his commands. Kai reached into his HPD bag and found his binoculars. He trained them on her. She was halfway between Hotel and King Street when she stopped and looked into a storefront. She leaned forward with her hands cupped above her eyes, the heels of her hands to the glass. She stood up straight, looked his way, blew him a kiss, and stepped into the store.
The anthology of short stories set in Hawaii, MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, includes Greg Field's short story, THE FACE, and is available in trade book and e-Book format at

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