I think I hit the sweet spot between Beatles and Green Day fans by liking a lot of music from the ‘70s and ‘80s. With two teens in the house, I am no longer the boss of the music. By default there’s a lot of Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, and Lindsey Stirling thumping through the walls. When I’m home alone I like the quiet unless I’m cleaning house. Then it’s an embarrassingly loud cheesy-rock-out-sing-along-fest. It’s a good thing I live in the country.
2: How was your writing process different with this book than with your first?
The process was very similar. I knew the audience I was writing for and where the story started and ended. Every morning in the shower I’d think about what needed to happen in the story next. I’d get a glass of ice and pour the first Diet Coke of the day in it, read yesterday’s work, and start typing. About three chapters away from the ending, I wrote the ending and worked backward. From the time I start to really write—as opposed to thinking about writing—it takes me about a month to finish a Niuhi Shark Saga book.
3: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
In One Shark, No Swim I really enjoyed writing more about Char Siu. Her interactions with Jay and Zader highlight the differences between 12 year old boys and girls. She worried about make-up and high heels and fitting in seventh grade and the boys are still, Hey! Look at this awesome box! Let’s build a cardboard sled! She doesn’t want to be a girly-girl or just one of the guys and those are the only choices she sees right now.
4: Do you prefer salty or sweet snacks?
Salty! One of my go to snacks when I’m writing is mixed nuts. I love things like chips and French fries. The weird thing about salty foods is I can eat some and it’s enough. Sweet or sugary snacks simply create a desire for more and I end up in a feeding frenzy. It’s not pretty.
5: What authors do you look up to and why?
For sheer enjoyment of the way they write I like Diana Gabaldon, Kiana Davenport, Chris McKinney, Tyler Miranda, Amy Tan, Terry Prachett, Christopher Moore, and Stephen King. (Yes, I like Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, and JK Rowling. Remember I also said I like cheesy music from the ‘80s.) As writing professionals developing their brand I’ve learned a lot from people like Toby Neal, Lani Wendt Young, and Laurie Hanan.
6: Which author do you think you write like the most?
Although I read a lot of books, I can’t think of an author whose writing voice is like mine. Probably because I’m still finding that voice!
8: What’s your favorite movie?
I see almost every non-slasher movie that comes out and while there are several I really enjoyed, I don’t have a favorite or one that I’ll watch over and over. I’m a story junkie, be it books, tv, or movies, but not a big collector. Not video games, though. I had to draw the line somewhere.
9: If your book series was turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?
You’d think as a movie addict I’d have this info down, but I don’t. Probably some undiscovered kids on Kaui or Maui surfing or eating shave ice right now. I’d know them when I saw them, and they aren’t working in film or television today.
10: Describe book 2 in one sentence.
Zader suspects he’s Niuhi, a shark that can appear as human, and spends the whole book trying to decide if he should jump in the ocean and find out.
11: What kind of interaction do you hope to see from your fans?
I love to hear from kids who saw a little of themselves or felt an authentic Hawaiian lifestyle in the series. Adults from Hawaii tell me they wished they had a series like this when they were growing up. There’s a growing body of Pacific Literature that showcases Polynesian cultural narratives and I’d like to be part of that larger conversation.
12: Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I am secretly an introvert that can fake extrovert when I have to. It’s easier if I have a reason to talk with people or if I’m the host of an event. Otherwise I’d rather hide in a corner with a book. I can be an uber mingler at business functions and the wall flower at anything that’s strictly social.
13: If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m sure my answer would change hourly, but right now I think I’d like to kick back with a couple of Diet Cokes and talk with JK Rowling. I’d pick her brain about processes and world-building and ask her all kinds of questions about what she wished she’d known back when. I’d also ask what she’s working on now and if she’ll ever return to Harry Potter’s world. She lived in it for almost 20 years. I’m sure she has more stories to tell.