I’m excited to present Tyler Colin’s wonderful book, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? along with an Author interview today on my blog. Jina at Authornspirations and Tyler Colins at A Writer’s Grab-Bag thank you for allowing me to participate in your fabulous Book Blog Tour.
Book: Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie
Author: Tyler Colins
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication date: August 13th, 2016
The aspiring detectives of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency take on their first official paying assignment: discover the secret of an elderly millionaire’s young wife.
It seems straightforward enough—until the wife is found dead in the sapphire Hawaiian oceanside. As Jill (JJ), Rey and Linda strive to uncover the killer amid a cast of curious, unconventional characters, they stumble across several secrets and fall over a few bodies.
Piecing together the puzzle detours the trio—to the domains of drug pushers, informants, and gangs. Serious game players, they play for keeps. Does the trio possess enough shrewdness and savvy to beat the odds and win the game?
“That would be an understatement.”
The three of us peered down at the slim, twisted, bloodied body of a previously pretty woman. A once painstakingly maintained and expensively sculpted face was now a mass of broken skin and bones. Long chipped salmon-pink nails on the right hand appeared to be gripping a jagged rock while those on the left were twined in tendrils of seaweed. Perfect, plump lips that many women would give their eye teeth for were retracted in a macabre smile while formerly merry eyes, the color of the ocean, stared unseeingly upward. A grim gruesome death mask had replaced a vibrant visage.
The gentle breeze that had been blowing all day was quickly evolving into offshore winds and cracking surf while the September sky was growing dark with giant cumulonimbus clouds. Thunder and lightning weren’t far off.
It had started out like any Hawaiian Wednesday morning: sun-drenched and dazzling. A vivid rainbow had curved over Ala Moana Beach Park as The Bus transported people to work and school, and tourists to Pearl Harbor and the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. As they did every day, trolleys and shuttles traveled to various hotel pick-up points and Hilo Hattie’s while cabs and cars were navigated to planned destinations.
Who’d have expected our first official paying private investigation case to take such a drastic detour—to the brutal murder of the young wife of our wealthy philanthropist-client? We were at the “Peering Place”, a rocky cove situated near the Halona Blowhole that was as beautiful as it was dangerous. The small sandy beach within the cove was well known as the beach in the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity. At the moment, though, it didn’t exude the romance it had when Burt and Deborah had graced the sands.
We’d only had to demonstrate she was a cheating spouse who possessed a secret that could prove of value to her husband and help dissolve a four-year marriage. All that had been required: surveying the woman, taking photos as necessary, and delivering nightly reports. Easy-peasy. Not.
What we’d unearthed in the preceding days extended to the sordid world of drugs and gambling, two ugly and dangerous addictions that could drag you under and far like the Molaka’i Express, which was the crossing of the Kaiwi Channel from volcano-formed Molaka’i, Hawaii’s fifth largest island, and possessed exceptionally strong currents. If the vice didn’t batter you, the enabler—the human component—was there to ensure you remained dependent, paid up and/or stayed high, and never screwed him or her.
“Man, she must have really pissed someone off.”
“Big time.” I peered across the darkening Pacific and reflected on that which had brought us to Hawaii: a desire to open our own P.I. agency. But the body sprawled across rough wave-soaked rocks begged one crucial question: what did a meteorologist, actress, and scriptwriting assistant know about detecting? So what if they’d played amateur sleuths several months ago during a murder-filled week at an eerie Connecticut mansion? That didn’t grant them the expertise or street smarts to manage a bona-fide case.
. . . But maybe the more imperative question at the moment was: how were they going to explain a simple undercover-case gone terribly wrong?
1. Hula is, according to Google (a noun): A dance performed by Hawaiian women, characterized by six basic steps, undulating hips, and gestures symbolizing or imitating natural phenomena or historical or mythological subjects.
2. Hilo Hattie, according to Wikipedia was: “Hilo Hattie (born Clarissa Haili, October 28, 1901 – December 12, 1979) was a Hawaiian singer, hula dancer, actress and comedian of Native Hawaiian ancestry.”
More Book Trivia
1. Sam, a homeless fellow in Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?, was inspired by one of several the author met during her trip to Hawaii.
2. Xavier, the teenager with drug issues, was also inspired by that first trip. Anti-drug posters at that time were quite graphic, if not horrific, and certainly thought-provoking.
3. The author set Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie in Hawaii because it’s a place she’s always wanted to live in; and because – in real life – the requirements to open a pi agency in Hawaii is less strict there than in the states.
Q1. What drew you to cozy mysteries?
A. I’ve been reading them for many years but I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries (which I’ve recently started reading again). Cozies have always been appealing because of quaint locations and settings, intriguing characters with often fun careers (cooks, bakers, archeologists), and non-graphic murder scenes. While I also enjoy “hard-boiled” mysteries, there’s something to be said for stories that truly allow you to escape everyday life/news.
Q2. Do you write in any other genres?
A. I dabble with women’s fiction—a chapter from Odd Woman Out can be found weekly on Wattpad. It’s nearing completion, though, and I’m thinking the next “installment” book might be short stories about lessons learned.
Q3. What does the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series entail?
A. The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series is about three (still somewhat novice) private eyes living on Oahu. JJ, her cousin Rey, and Rey’s BFF Linda become embroiled in challenging if not crazy cases but, ultimately, they always catch their culprit without too many
Q4. Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
A. I’m very fond of melodramatic, part-time actress Reynalda Fonne-Werde. Rey is feisty and lippy, and believes anything is doable. She’ll confront a villain with teeth and claws bared, and has no qualms about doing a little B&E if it will net answers. Despite an army-tank approach and in-your-face attitude, she has a big heart.
Q5. Is there a specific inspiration for your series?
A. Nancy Drew, as mentioned. I read (devoured) her mysteries in my youth and wanted to be I now have that opportunity—by writing the TTIA series and following the antics, er, pursuits of my three aspiring sleuths.
Q6. What made you decide to e-publish your work?
A. I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. Publishing the traditional way—or finding an agent—is very difficult, so I opted for e-publishing. No regrets. I’ve met an amazing group of like-minded writers/bloggers in my e-publishing travels.
Q7. If you could have a dinner party and invite three authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
A. My favorite authors would be invited: Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Shakespeare!
Q8. Is there anything of note you’re currently reading?
A. With a full-time job, taking care of Mom, and trying to maintain a blog (never mind writing books), it’s extremely difficult to pick up a book. But I have managed to buy a few of the original Nancy Drew mysteries I used to read (was feeling nostalgic) and manage to read a chapter every day or so.
Q9. What about personal interests?
A. Writing, blogging, writing, blogging. <LOL> I also have a fascination for / love of Hawaii, am interested in spirituality, and am trying to develop as a [better] individual.
Q10. If you weren’t a writer/ blogger, what would you be?
A. At this stage of my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I were a few years younger, however, I believe I’d like to have done food styling or catering, or something in the culinary world. It’s another creative realm; instead of words, you use food.
Q11. Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or might you start a new series?
A. I’ve just started working on “HA-HA-HA-HA”, the fifth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series. There are plans for a sixth. I’m quite fond of the Triple Threat trio, so I’m/we’re not ready to move on yet . . . but I’m tempted to write one of the books with Rey as the narrator.
Q12. What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
A. It’s fun (and challenging) making characters and situations come alive. I love being with the characters as they learn and grow; in essence, they influence how I learn and grow.
Q13. Do you have a set writing routine?
A. I write as often as a full-time job and Mom-care allow. A dream come true would be to write and blog for several hours a day. It’s all good, though; things still get done (it just takes a wee bit longer).
Q14. How did publishing your first e-book change your process of writing?
A. It didn’t really change my process, but it did offer me enough confidence to continue. Seeing an actual cover—a product—provided self-assurance. But after the second and third e-books were published, I realized I had to get out there and start marketing and promoting myself. That in itself, however, is a full-time job. So I’m not even close to where I want to be re my blog and e-books, but everything in its own sweet time. J
Q15. What’s your favorite novel and/or character of all time?
A. I still love To Kill a Mockingbird and Something Wicked This Way Comes. They’re books I read in school, fell in love with, and pick up again every few years. The characters and settings seemed so real back then, vibrant and tangible, as they still do today. When you can create such realism, you know you’re a stellar writer.
Q16. Are there any common traps for budding writers?
A. Trying to be “perfect” the first time out. Not doing due diligence when seeking services such as formatting or cover design, editing or promotion, or marketing. Not doing any form of self-promotion or marketing. Not using social media to its/your full advantage. . . . Do as I say, not as I do. <LOL>
Q17. Any advice for aspiring writers?
A. Believe in yourself. Always strive to better yourself and your product. If you’re serious about becoming a published writer, be it traditional or e-book, learn all that you can about the various components involved. Completing a book/e-book for publication is merely the first step.
Q18. What’s your favorite food?
A. Cheese. Fromage. Käse. Queso. Formaggio. Ser. 치즈.
Q19. You live in Canada currently, but have been known to say (declare, promise, affirm) that one day you’ll reside in Hawaii. Is this still true?
A. The first time I set foot on Hawaiian soil, I knew I had to live there. Yes, there’s that teeny-weeny [annoying] issue about Canadians not being able to live there permanently without a green card, but I’m maintaining faith/hope.
Q20. What do you like to do when you have free time?
A. Free time? What’s that? <LOL>
Q21. If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would that be?
A. One thing I’ve always desired: a great voice. While I love writing, it would be awesome to sing/perform (without sounding like I’m choking on a handful of jellybeans).
Q22. What projects are you currently working on?
A. The fifth in the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency series, titled “HA-HA-HA-HA”. I’m finishing Odd Woman Out, which can be found in weekly installments on Wattpad.
About The Author
Tyler Colins is a fiction writer and blogger, and a sometimes editor and proofreader (books, manuals, and film/television scripts). She’s also been known to create business plans, synopses and outlines, and film promotion documents.
Fact-checking and researching, orHer fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries. Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and “affirmative” non-fiction.
She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.
Connect With Tyler
Twitter: Tyler Colins@UsBound3
Book Available At