Welcome, Lehua, and thank you for visiting for this interview. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing?
Lehua Parker: I read all the books in my school library and couldn’t afford to buy new ones. I was so very tired of snow that I wanted to escape mentally to the beach. I needed to pay my mortgage and writing is way easier than ditch digging. Penning quick reviews for the local newspaper is the perfect way to score free theater tickets. There were no books for middle grade/young adult readers that showed Hawaiian culture the way I knew it to be. “I’m working on a novel” is an awesome excuse for avoiding laundry and dishes.
All of these and more are true reasons of why I’m an author.
Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Why did you choose to participate in the anthology of short stories set in Hawaii, MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense?
Lehua Parker: When you’re exiled to the mainland, writing fiction set in Hawaii is a lonely venture. Critique groups scratch their heads at we stay go and bumbai. Publishers want to know when the coconut bras and cellophane skirts are going to come in. I was very excited to work with other writers who understand that calling someone Aunty doesn’t automatically mean she’s your mother’s sister. Since most of my published fiction set in Hawaii is for MG/YA audiences, it was particularly fun to write something more adult. There’s a mystery at the heart of the Niuhi Shark Saga, and readers of Tourists in the anthology get an insider’s view to some key characters. I also think anthologies are a wonderful way to meet new writers—and readers.
Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: In Tourists, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer?
Lehua Parker: The idea behind this story is an attempt to explore consequences for a person who disrespects or dismisses Hawaiian customs and beliefs. The woman in the story embodies every unkind, unthinking thing I’ve heard from tourists enjoying Hawaiian beaches. A couple of my favorites:
“He’s just trying to keep you safe. The ocean’s tricky at night.”
She scoffed. “You mean he wanted to keep this place to himself. Locals. Never want to share. Think everything belongs to them.”
“Sometimes,” he said, rounding to her side.
“Without tourists this island would fall apart in a week.”
Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Can you tell us a bit about your current project?
Lehua Parker: Wah! I have too many irons in the fire! In addition to editing novels for other authors, I’m working on a new children’s adventure series, The Roxy Sparkles Adventures, book three in the Niuhi Shark Saga, One Fight, No Fist, and several short stories for anthologies. I’m also speaking at writers’ conferences, schools, libraries, and wherever there’s free food. So, yes, the laundry is reaching Mt. Everest proportions, pizza delivery is on speed dial, and the kids are arranging their own rides to soccer practice. Just the way I like it.
Where can readers find your books?
One Boy, No Water and One Shark, No Swim, the first two books in the Niuhi Shark Saga are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Free short stories, articles on everything from raising a rodeo princess to living like fish out of water, and information about upcoming appearances and releases can be found on my website: www.LehuaParker.com .