- What makes your books different?
We’re not aware of anyone else writing humorous mysteries in the information technology field. “Humorous IT” may sound like an oxymoron, but anyone who has worked in technology must have a good sense of humor (or ready access to “chemical stress relief”). You can’t make up some of the wild things that happen, like the employee who wouldn’t take the online training because he had to click on a Satanic-like icon.
- Do you need to have some expertise in technology to understand or enjoy your books?
Not at all: we have older readers who have little understanding and even less use for technology, yet they love our books. (Of course, some of them are relatives – but not all!)
- What can you tell me about your heroine?
Emma Elizabeth Jones is a twenty-something IT consultant for Grant and Denholm Consulting (GD consultants) with a penchant for speaking without thinking. Born and bred in the Midwest and Northern California, she attended the University of Hawai’i where she fell in love with all things Hawaiian: the Hawaiian language, surfing, the food, and her boyfriend Keoni. She’s developed an unhealthy proclivity for tripping over dead bodies and becoming involved in uncovering murderers.
- What inspired your latest book, With Murder You Get Sushi?
The story is loosely based on the murder of a real estate developer in Arizona. We’ve moved the setting to Hawai’i and painted the scenes that the tourist sees, as well as incorporating everyday Hawai’i. Of course, we had to force ourselves to do first hand-market research like surfing, trying out various Mai Tais and listening to Hawaiian music, as strenuous as that is.
- Can you expand on that?
Tourists are aware of the beauty of Hawai’i, the diversity of the people, and the aloha spirit. What they don’t see are some of the underlying issues, like the push for native Hawaiian rights, the interconnectedness of those who live there, and the Hawaiian spirit that goes beyond aloha and includes a love and reverence for the land.
- What role does technology play in With Murder You Get Sushi?
Emma is assigned to a project in Hawai‘i to improve the ability of the military to analyze large volumes of data: Big Data. There are a number of issues with Big Data, which we touch upon. Additionally, we’ve brought back a character from our first book, Edvard, who is obsessed with the increasing ability of technology to enable tracking of our every move. To foil these capabilities, Edvard dons prosthetic ears, shields his cell phone and even sweeps recently completed dental work for surveillance devices. He does another character a good turn or two, too.
- How do your backgrounds influence your books?
We have worked in technology, lived in Hawai’i and San Francisco where the books are based, and share certain characteristics with our heroine, Emma. We’ve also both served in the U.S. Navy, which comes in handy, since our latest story places Emma at a military facility. It’s easy for us to incorporate YAMA (Yet Another Military Acronym) into our book.
- What traits and other tidbits do you share with your main character?
We like to surf! And like Emma, we love our family and all too often, like Emma, get into trouble by speaking before thinking. Oh, and Mary Ann speaks Hawaiian. We are her age, too. Give or take a few decades.
- Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?
Our favorite books are those that can combine a good story with humor, have a sense of place, and teach us something. Elizabeth Peters, Lindsey Davis, C.J. Box and Sujata Massey are favorites.
- What made you decide to self-publish?
Our goal is to provide a good story for a reader that creates a respite to the pressures and cares of the daily grind. We were discouraged from the long lead-time in traditional publishing. Through self-publishing, we are able to get our story out quickly and easily, even if we now know more about font sizes not to mention widows and orphans (the text kind) than we ever wanted to know.
- When you self publish, do you do it all yourself?
We format the interior of the book, but hire an artist, Sarah Perez, for the cover. She’s done all the covers for our books and we enjoy working with her.
- Do you have another project in the works?
We’re debating about the post-Sushi book, whether it will be another in the Miss-Information Technology Mystery series, or whether we will try something different. We’ve written a few short stories, and had some success, so we might try a few more of those.
- Where can readers find your books and short stories?
Amazon.com carries both the paperbacks and e-books. We recommend readers have their local libraries stock them so others in the community can enjoy the stories. We also have a short story that will be published in 2016 in Storm Warnings, which will be published by Wildside Press.