Hi! Thanks for having me back here again so soon! Last time I was here I talked about my first book with Breathless Press; 'Ailani: The Last Warrior, Book 1. This time I'm here to talk about the second book in this M/M, fantasy/paranormal series, Palehua. In this story, my character, Lio, who is the reincarnation of a great and ancient warrior, it coming to terms with the fact that the Hawaiian gods send him back in time to right old wrongs. He's juggling his day job as a steeple jack with his supernatural world, and his new love for Kord Ashley. Their love is getting stronger even as things around them are getting weirder and weirder.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I like this question! I don't know how often this happens to other authors but spooky things happen to me sometimes when I am working on a story. I happened to be in Honolulu with my family over Christmas when the idea for Palehua came to me. I wanted his family background explored more and decided his great grandfather went to Hawaii as a sugar slave, as so many Japanese men did.
Just as I was doing a little research into the subject (even though I have read extensively on it), an actual sugar slave contract popped up on eBay. It was super expensive and I didn't buy it, BUT it had a lot of information and sent me off on a journey of research and discovery that really changed the direction of the story.
3. Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
Now that I have stopped sacrificing five virgins before I start writing a new book, no. I hope you know I'm kidding LOL! I don't have any rituals. I have friends who do. One of them burns a green candle and has a certain color flower on her desk…I just need my laptop and a cup of coffee.
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
That would be Mary Higgins Clark. I am so amazed by her. She lost her husband very young and raised five children alone on her salary writing horror/mystery stories. I am also impressed that she wrote a Fab laundry detergent ad that ran during an episode of I Love Lucy - my favorite all-time TV show.
Mary Higgins Clark has been a huge influence on my work. About twenty years ago, I was very obsessed with her books ad she launched a magazine called Mary Higgins Clark's Mystery Magazine. It didn't last very long and I have no idea why. I have each and every copy! Anyway they advertized a writing class she was teaching in New York and I scraped the money together to go there. I slept on the floor of a friend of a friend's apartment, a miserable experience I still have nightmares about, BUT the class changed my life. Mary Higgins Clark was incredibly generous with her advice. I didn't get to actually talk to her…too many people there, but I have always followed all of her tips.
I can still remember every word she said, including that she found most of her leads for books in newspaper articles. I've always done that, too! She said she approaches each story with three thoughts: "Suppose, what if, and, why?"
It works. I recommend it. Her memoirs, Kitchen Privileges made me cry and it is one of my most treasured books. It's filled with writing tips and anecdotes. I recommend it to anyone who writes. I would love to actually meet and talk to her. I am still a huge fan.
I would ask her about her time as one of the first Pan Am flight attendants. She had an experience delivering an orphaned girl to adoptive parents that was the first of its kind. I would ask her about that. I would ask her about all the radio scripts she wrote and about current crimes…and who does she think killed the Black Dahlia? That's a case I am still fascinated with.
She said the most valuable thing I ever heard: "If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for life, love what you do."
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
Not much! They are embarrassed and ashamed. Some of my friends are too and I'm told never to mention my books in front of family at social events. I recently reconnected with an old friend who used to work as a call girl. She's apparently forgotten that I know about her past and have no judgments, but she went to great lengths to tell me that she couldn't befriend me on Facebook because of my work. Whatever!
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I love so many things. I am learning Braille transcribing right now. A very difficult but rewarding language to learn. I love reading, hiking with my dog, and anything to do with Hawaii.
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
So many things! Please check out my website for upcoming releases and more.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
Thanks so much for having me here once again! Palehua: The Last Warrior Book 2, now
available for pre-order here: http://tinyurl.com/o7dsmp3
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Lio Paikai, reincarnated warrior of the lost Hawaiian kingdom, finds trouble in paradise. The old island gods demand Pālehua from his family: blood sacrifice.
Lio Paikai is adjusting to both his new, extremely passionate relationship with his lover, Kord Ashley, and his status as 'Ailani, the reincarnated, loyal warrior who fought for the last king of the Hawaiian islands Oahu and Maui. Having severed his ties with his mother, Kalani, Lio grows closer to his father and his new family, but Kalani won't leave them alone.
Violating a restraining order of protection, she is arrested. Hours later, when Lio accompanies his stepmother to a birthing class, a strange woman falls from the sky landing on the hood of his SUV. Old wounds, old curses, and the demand for retribution threaten to destroy his entire family. Lio must uncover the identity of the fallen woman and soon learns her heartbreaking connection to his mother and the damage it has caused Kalani her entire life. Lio must right an ancient wrong and appease the old island gods that demand an immediate Pālehua: blood sacrifice.
One hour and five minutes later, we walked out of the house. Marcella kept assuring me I'd done very well as she held my arm. My back, neck, and shoulders ached. I'd had to act out giving birth to a baby-doll while Marcella pretended to be my birthing partner.
I felt sorry for my dad. The way she'd screamed at me gave me every indication that she would be a real Nazi in the delivery room.
I was in total panic. I'd had to pretend to give birth to the fake baby so that I empathized with Marcella's process, but found the experience so traumatic I didn't think I'd ever get over it. I kept trying to imagine her vagina opening to a huge, cavernous space as my father massaged the baby's emerging head with olive oil.
Had he done this for me and Louie? What about Marcella? Wouldn't the pain be horrendous?
"You did great, sweetie," she said. "You're a champion."
"No, I'm not. I'm a wuss. I couldn't handle the belly."
"You were fabulous."
"Who was better, me or Kord?"
"Oh, sweetie. Don't do this to yourself."
She flashed me a guilty look. "Well, he sang show tunes as he delivered." She frowned suddenly. "I should have realized then that he was gay."
As we got to the SUV, she peered inside. "Sweetie, do we have any apples in there?"
No, we didn't, but a quick stop over at Foodland would fix that.
As I let her into the passenger side, I stared across the road at a newish house right on the corner. I had no idea why it held my interest, but I caught a sudden glimpse of ghostly children running across the street to it.
I blinked, and nostalgia filled my soul. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The streets were all gone, and I stared at miles and miles of sugar crops. I was standing on the site of an old plantation.
I saw a flash of a different building right on this corner. It was the kind of old Hawaiian-style building that marked a different era. Painted white and with a red roof, it had a lanai in front. I swear I smelled ice cream and chocolate. I heard laughter.
Across the top I saw in faded lettering the name Goo.
And just like that, the image faded.
When I got into the driver's side, Marcella said, "What are you seeing, sweetie?"
Shaking my head, I threw off the sudden emotion I felt. "I know it sounds weird, but I got a glimpse of what used to be there."
"What did you see?"
I hesitated. "A huge sugar plantation. And right where the house is, I saw a shop. A lot of kids went to it. I think it was a kind of soda fountain."
She reached her hand over to mine. "It was. It was the old Plantation Store, but people called it Charlie Goo's Store after the owner. It closed about twenty years ago."
I nodded. A strange, unsettled feeling came over me.
"You think maybe the spirits are getting you ready for a new case?" she asked.
"I'm thinking, maybe."
We weren't wrong.
Twenty seconds later, something fell on the hood of the car, making us both scream. It wasn't a coconut. It wasn't a bowling bowl. It wasn't a vagina or even an empathy belly. What fell on my hood and scared the heck out of both of us was a woman. At least, I thought she was.
And she'd fallen out of the clear blue sky.
A.J. Llewellyn is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.'s days are spent writing, reading, and dreaming up new worlds. AJ has definitely stopped Google searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.
A.J. wants you to read them all.
You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.'s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.