What type of crime fiction do you write and why?
I write cozy mysteries because I enjoy both a good mystery and exploring human relationships. All of my books include food, animals, best friends, and romance. Additionally, all my books are located in gorgeous settings such as Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, the San Juan Islands, and Alaska.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
Honestly I’m not sure where I get the idea for each individual story. My series begin with a setting and a protagonist and I go from there. I just published the first book in a new series set in Hawaii. I love visiting the islands and wanted to do a series from that location and I had the idea to create a character that wants to be a cop. The problem is she is only five feet tall, plus she is impulsive and prone to take risks. She works as a lifeguard while she tries to convince the powers that be that she should be admitted to the police academy. Here is the opening if you are interested:
My name is Kailani Pope. Everyone who isn’t my father or my paternal grandmother calls me Lani. Probably the most important thing you need to know about me is that I want to be a cop. Correction: I need to be a cop. Not only is being a proud member of the Honolulu Police Department my destiny but it’s in my blood. My dad was a cop, my grandfather was a cop, my Uncle Steve is a cop, and my five brothers are all cops for various agencies within the state of Hawaii.
I know most little girls dream of being a princess, ballerina, or beauty queen when they grow up, but from the moment I was old enough to start picturing my future, I knew I wanted to be a cop. In the years since, I have never once wavered from my commitment to do this very thing. So why, you ask, am I not a cop?
You see, in spite of my unwavering determination, I have had a teeny, tiny problem making my dreams come true. That teeny, tiny problem, as it turns out, is a teeny, tiny me. While all five of my brothers top the six-foot mark on the height charts, I have to stand on my tippy toes to even approach the five-foot mark. Although the HPD doesn’t technically have a height requirement, they do have a lot more applicants than they have jobs, so it makes sense that the candidates who are most qualified, like my burly brothers, are more likely to be given the opportunity than those of us who are vertically impaired and don’t quite meet the ideal prototype for police work.
I understand that a teeny, tiny cop really doesn’t pose much of a threat to the oftentimes large-framed population of my home state, but I’ve met all the requirements set forth by the HPD and I know I could do the job better than anyone else if only the powers that be would let me try. So while I’m waiting for the growth spurt I’ve been praying for for the past fifteen years to finally kick in, or my name to come up on the never-ending list of qualified applicants, I work in guest services at the Dolphin Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu as a water safety officer. Calling me a WSO is a fancy way of saying I’m a lifeguard, activities director, and babysitter all wrapped up in one.
Tell us about your Detective / main character.
All my protagonists are petite firecrackers who take on the world with both eyes closed at time yet still seem to solve the crime before anyone else. See description above about Kailani Pope from the Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series.
What is more important in your books – the plot twists or the characters?
The characters. I do like to weave a good mystery but I really feel it is the relationship my readers have with the characters that keep them coming back for more. Many of my readers tell me that the characters in my series feel like friends they look forward to hanging out with.
Do you plot the entire novel and know who did it before you start, or can that change?
I never know who did it and I never plot. I simply sit down, format a document, ask myself what time of year it is and what might be going on, and then start typing. When I get to the end and discover who did it I go back and drop in clues so it makes sense. I believe in a good mystery killer should be a bit of a surprise but once you know who it is you should be able to say to yourself, “Of course, that makes perfect sense.”
How violent are your novels?
Other than the fact that someone has died, they are not violent at all. The readers never witnesses the victim’s death nor is it described in vivid detail.
Do you include humour?
Absolutely. All of my books are pretty much guaranteed to make you both laugh and cry.
The title of the story is Kitten Kaboodle. It is book #20 in my popular Zoe Donovan Series. I currently write 5 series and have plans for a sixth in the fall.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I live in Lake Tahoe so I like to be outdoors. In the summer I enjoy boating, the beach, hiking, and biking, and in the winter I enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I also like to curl up by the fire with a good book and a glass of wine.