Interview with Dee DeTarsio, author of Haole Wood
Tell us about Haole Wood
When San Diego weathercaster, Jaswinder Park, is mysteriously summoned to the island of Maui in Hawaii to help her grandmother (who was in jail for selling pakalolo), she ends up losing her job. This fair-haired, light-skinned foreigner, called ‘haole’ by the natives, drowns her sorrows in a local bar, doing shots with a charming land developer — who ends up dead. Jaswinder needs to find the killer and prove it’s not her grandmother. A blistering sunburn leads her to a surfing dermatologist, as well as a whole new career: designing protective resort clothing for sensitive skin. From launching her clothing line, Haole Wood, to keeping her grandmother out of trouble, Jaswinder tries to embrace the island way of life. Where’s a guardian angel when you need one? Aloha!
We know what aloha means, but what’s pakalolo and what’s haole? Are we going to need a new dictionary to read this book?
I hope the same goes for ‘haole’ which is a not very politically correct term that Hawaiians use to describe foreigners. (It also plays a part in the book plot itself, as Jaswinder starts her sun protection designer clothing line and wants to call it Hollywood, her Hawaiian co-workers misunderstand and thus, Haole Wood is born.)
You will not need a new dictionary to read this, I promise! There are a few Hawaiian phrases scattered for (hopefully) ambiance, that are always described with the English translation. (For example: Light streamed through fronds of a big palm tree as birds greeted each other. It sounded like they chirped, “kokua, kokua.” Help, help. I sure needed help.)
What genre is your book?
And what kind of readers will hopefully-ever-after appeal to?
How long did Haole Wood take to write?
The XY in my life complains that ‘women sure do think a lot.’ That’s right, we do, live and learn, hombres. For example: Women think it’s sexier for guys to fill up our cars with gas, than to play bongos on our ass. (See what I did there, I made it sing-songy so it can be remembered easier.)
We haven’t got a clue how to respond to that! Which of your other books should we read next?
What’s the most challenging part of being a writer?
Tell us a bit about yourself.
How can we stalk you on the internet?
Oh, I have another hopefully-ever-after coming down the pike this Spring: Life is a soap opera in All My Restless Life To Live, especially for Elle Miller, who writes for one. When her laptop crashes, she borrows her dead dad’s computer and faces mysterious communications. From dealing with her mom, who has decided to give internet dating a try, to trying to save her career at I’d Rather Be Loved with a storyline featuring a trip through Atlantis, to a trip to the Emmys, Elle also finds herself in the middle of a romance between a real doctor and a hunk who just plays one on TV.