Today McKenna is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Mystery of the Eight Islands, the latest novel in the Trouble in Paradise mystery series.
Welcome, McKenna. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hey, everybody, McKenna here. Thanks for inviting me to do this Q&A. I’m usually the one asking the questions, but I guess I’m not the one playing amateur sleuth for the day, eh, Ashcroft? Sorry, couldn’t resist myself. Anyway, Mystery of the Eight Islands is my eleventh Trouble in Paradise Mystery. A long time ago, he thought it would be fun to write a mystery set in Hawaii. He decided that since I’d been a skip tracer, I’d make a good amateur sleuth. I turned him down at first, but—like everything else in life—I got pulled in by a woman.
My writer had me traipsing around the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and O’ahu for a while. I haven’t done much traveling in the past few books. I’m guessing my writer’s travel budget ran out, but he won’t share those kinds of details with me. You know what cheapskates some of these writers can be.
Anyway, there seems to be plenty of crimes to solve on O’ahu. This latest one involves an attorney who fell down a flight of stairs and died. Coincidentally, the Eight Islands, a valuable antique necklace the man owned, disappeared the same day. The victim’s granddaughter wants help finding her grandfather’s killer—she claims he was murdered—but I think she’s got ulterior motives. Like getting back that quarter of a million dollar necklace.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
If you talk to my writer, he’ll tell you he’s in control. He gets out his little index cards and fancy software and plays master and commander of the novel. He even went so far as to make me eat poi one time. I took one bite, told him it tasted like wallpaper paste, and laid down the law. He gave in because he knows I’m the one doing the heavy lifting. I get a big assist from my friend Chance Logan. My writer keeps trying to hold Chance back and not let him get his PI license. We all know that’s going to happen sooner or later. These writer types, they can only hold off the inevitable for so long. They just don’t like to admit it.
How did you evolve as the main character?
My writer tells me he was on Kauai and was looking through the slats of the blinds when inspiration struck. I think that’s a bunch of hooey. Once he started writing (after playing with his silly index cards and all his other little writer toys) I showed him how to get the job done. After that, I had him and he couldn’t let anyone else be the main character.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
That depends on which part of the story we’re talking about. For the sleuthing part, I enjoy working with Chance. As far as my personal life goes, I much prefer sharing that part of the story with my wife, Benni. I’m pretty sure most of the folks who read your blog can figure out my reasoning.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Honolulu’s a great place. Warm days, gentle trade winds, and fabulous sunsets. What’s not to like? Right? Because Hawaii draws so many tourists, life can get a little crazy. The good news is that as long as you stay away from the tourist traps, we really don’t have to deal with them much. Most of them are here for the sandy beaches, warm waters, and palm trees. Personally, after being here for almost a decade, I’m starting to think of it as home.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Well, first of all, I got married a couple of books ago, so, ladies, I’m off the market. Second off, Mystery of the Eight Islands is a tricky case. We’re dealing with a century-old jewel theft, what seems like a bogus list of suspects, and a bunch of people with secrets. Then there’s the problems my writer caused—a big tenant issue and the possibility that Chance might lose his opportunity to become a PI. I’m telling you, people, my writer really needs to take a chill pill. He’s got this thing about complications. Anyway, I hope you check out Mystery of the Eight Islands. It’s a lot more fun than eating poi.
Thank you for answering my questions, McKenna, and good luck to you and your author, Terry Ambrose, with The Mystery of the Eight Islands, the latest book in the Trouble in Paradise mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Terry Ambrose: Once upon a time, in a life he’d rather forget, Terry Ambrose tracked down deadbeats for a living. He also hired big guys with tow trucks to steal cars—but only when negotiations failed. Those years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as—always keep your car in the garage.
Terry has written eighteen books, several of which have been award finalists. In 2014, his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. His series include the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries, the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries, and the License to Lie thriller series.