Friday, July 13, 2012

Interview With Sisters in Crime/Hawaii's Dawn Casey

My guest today is Dawn Casey, the Immediate Past President of Sisters in Crime/Hawaii. Dawn, thank you for appearing in the spotlight today for a SinC/Hawaii interview. How long have you been a member of Sisters in Crime, and as President, what types of programs did you arrange for the Hawaii Chapter and its members?

DAWN: Thank you Gail, for offering me the chance for this interview. I have been a member of SinC for about 4 years. I tried to arrange speakers who would be of interest to both writers and readers, not necessarily on the subject of mysteries, although we did have those. We do have members who write other genres; hopefully all our members found the speakers interesting.

GAIL: You are employed with the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu. In March, you coordinated a special program for the writers's groups on O'ahu and moderated the talks for each group. What experience or education led you to a position as a librarian?

DAWN: I had worked in libraries for about seven years before I returned to school to obtain my masters in library studies. This degree is necessary to become a librarian.

GAIL: Changing trends in the publishing industry has led to an explosion of independent and self-published authors, in print and electronic format. How has this evolution affected the library system?

DAWN: The change in the publishing industry has changed the library scene. For instance in the Serials Section, where I work, we have many electronic databases. These are available to all libraries in the Hawaii State Library System. Some of the databases have full-text articles, and because of this availability, the trend is not to have so many hard copy periodicals. Of course, the downsized budget also influenced the number of periodicals available.

Self-published authors may find it difficult to get their books into libraries because librarians like to order from wholesalers or distribution companies. Ordering this way means many titles may go on one order and this saves paperwork. It is therefore essential for self-publishers to get their books to a distributor. This is particularly true for print-on-demand.

GAIL: As the author of a children’s book, The Hawaiian Christmas Tree, what was your experience with writing and publishing your first book?

DAWN: It was an awesome experience because I knew nothing about writing or publishing. After I finished the story, The Hawaiian Christmas Tree, I submitted it to Island Heritage, and they offered me a contract to place my story in a collection of Christmas stories for children. I felt my story should stand alone so I refused, but I would have made more money if I had accepted their offer. I decided to self-publish, but then had to find the necessary people to fill the roles of editor, artist, book designer, plus a company to print it. This was before print-on-demand. I found a teacher who checked in as editor. I went on a search for an illustrator and came across a print by Susan Brooks in a shop. I actually went to this shop to look at another artist’s work, but it was too much use of caricature. I felt Hawaiians were already depicted too much in this way.

When I saw Susan Brooks print of a beautiful proud Hawaiian woman, I knew I had found the artist for my book. I asked Susan to please create a child’s face similar to the young women in the print. This she did and I loved it so much I put it on the cover of the book. She made about twelve illustrations for the book, and I was very pleased with her work.

Jim Rumsford put me on to Dick Lyday, a representative for a company in China for printing, and Dick gave me the name of my book designer, Bud Linschoten.  The whole process took quite a time, but I was pleased with the final results and the book has been a success.

GAIL: With the success of your first book, you continued writing, though your current Work in Progress involves a genre distinctly different from children’s literature. Can you share details of the story and your research process?

DAWN: The title for my latest novel is Journey to Mecca and it takes place, for the most part, in Arabia in the 1850’s. It is a fictionalized version of a true story: Richard Burton’s adventure, traveling to Medina and Mecca disguised as a Moslem. If discovered he would have been put to death.

This man had an adventurous life and at first I was going to write about his entire life, but I found it was too much, so I concentrated on his venture into Mecca. I read his biography, Rage to Live, then I read his own writings. He was a prolific writer and he spoke twenty-eight languages. I became fascinated with this man more than twenty years ago when I watched a program on PBS.

I write children's books under the name Dawn Adrienne. I rewrote the book THE HAWAIIAN CHRISTMAS TREE in the form of a play. I did this for use in classroom so teachers could produce their own little play.
Both the JOURNEY TO MECCA and THE HAWAIIAN CHRISTMAS TREE are historical novels.

GAIL: Journey to Mecca has a fascinating story line that I look forward to reading. Thank you for visiting today, Dawn, and for sharing information about your work, both as a librarian and as an author.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii meets most third Wednesdays of the month. Announcements of meeting can be found in the Honolulu Star Advertiser and at the SinC/Hawaii website:

We also have a new Facebook page where upcoming events announcements and discussions take place daily. Please visit us at:

and “Like” us at:

Also, please plan to attend a meeting soon at:
The Makiki Community Library on Ke’eaumoku Street in Honolulu


  1. Thanks Dawn for the insight on libraries and epublishing. Libraries to me feel like old friends, always glad to see you.
    Una Tiers

  2. Libraries have been my friends since childhood. I never understand when someone says they don't have a library card. Librarians Solve Mysteries Every Day


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