Laurie and I met in person for the first time at a local craft fair in Hawaii. She invited me to share a table where we displayed our respective novels. We even found time to discuss writing tips and exchange marketing strategies, along with some good laughs. With my obsession for e-books, print copies often end up on a shelf unread, but, a mystery . . . set in Hawaii . . . on the island of O’ahu? I couldn’t wait to start reading Almost Paradise.
by author Laurie Hanan
LAURIE HANAN: Louise Golden moved to O’ahu after the tragic death of her boyfriend. She’s doing her best to live a low-profile existence, finding peace in the day to day sameness of her job as a mail carrier. One of her elderly customers vanishes, and Louise becomes concerned about the woman, who has no family or friends. The police seem to be doing little to find the missing woman, so Louise starts her own search. She stops for lunch and meets a stunt man who invites her to a movie set. There, she inadvertently overhears a bit-part actor brag about killing someone. Things begin to heat up when he becomes fixated on Louise. She finds herself caught up in a web of bizarre circumstances that include car tails, stolen artifacts, a glitzy celebrity party, exotic dancing, drugs, and, of course, murder.
Most of my research was done online. I looked up Hawai’ian history and legends to check my facts, and Hawai’ian words and place names to be sure I had all the diacritical marks in place. I looked at maps and Google satellite images, and drove through the neighborhoods mentioned in my book. I interviewed a police officer about police procedure, and asked a county coroner about identifying manner of death. (She invited me to visit the morgue, but I declined.) The most enjoyable part of my research was an afternoon spent interviewing a handsome Israeli stuntman about what happens on a movie set.
LAURIE HANAN: Louise is a mainlander, an outsider, viewed with suspicion by the locals. Her blond hair makes her even more conspicuous. But when she dons her postal uniform, she’s like a superhero, transformed into that great American icon, The Mail Carrier. In the uniform she’s accepted as part of the neighborhood’s scenery—all but invisible.
Louise’s strength is her caring and compassion for the people she encounters each day. Her big heart will not allow her to look the other way when she feels someone needs her help. This is also what ends up getting her in trouble.
FAST FIVE: The Mystery/Suspense genre is the focus of Fast Five interviews, but what unique twist makes your novel stand out?
LAURIE HANAN: My protagonist is not a police officer, private eye, bounty hunter, or secret agent. Her job is not to solve cases or take down deranged criminals. Louise is a very ordinary person, and not particularly heroic. She has carefully constructed her life so it offers little in the way of challenges. As a mail carrier, her goal each day is to deliver all the letters and packages and return to the station at a reasonable hour. Nothing more, nothing less. However, life has other ideas for Louise.
FAST FIVE: A heroine is sometimes described as an ordinary person performing an extraordinary act not of her choosing. Even though your protagonist isn't particularly heroic, how does Louise Golden's profession draw her into suspenseful situations, (murder, for instance?)
LAURIE HANAN: Louise’s job as a mail carrier requires her to be out in the community. For the most part, she’s unnoticed as she goes about her work. This gives her a unique opportunity to observe things other people might not. Though, for some elderly folks, a visit from the mail carrier is the highlight of their day. Louise is drawn into their lives, interacting with them on a personal level.
FAST FIVE: Is this book part of a series, and are you working on a sequel?
LAURIE HANAN: Almost Paradise is the first in the Louise Golden mystery series. The second Louise Golden mystery, How Far Is Heaven? will be released early this year. I am currently working on the third book in the series, entitled Stairway To Heaven.
FAST FIVE: Distracting or not, the house by the sea is an intriguing choice for a writer's retreat. Thank you for the vivid description, Laurie, and again, thank you for visiting today.
|Laurie Hanan and Gail Baugniet |
displaying their novels at the Craft Fair
ALMOST PARADISE on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Paradise-Laurie-Hanan/dp/0983286132
THE INDEPENDENT AUTHOR NETWORK: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/laurie-hanan.html