Please welcome back the lovely Meg Amor. Today Meg's sharing with us some background on her latest release Hawaiian Lei and how it spun off into a runaway series.
LOL… Thanks HK and thanks for having me here today. :) It’s wonderful. I love the questions you’ve asked as always. You always ask really good ones. :)
Yes, it does incorporate so many of my favourite things. It’s home. I’m a New Zealander born and bred, but Hawai’i is my soul’s home. It’s hard to take the islander out of most of us from the South Pacific. :)
I was stuck in my writing and also quite ground down from a death last year, but I needed to be writing again. Michele ‘Mikey’ Rakes, my writing partner and fellow Muse and Loose Id author suggested I write something set in my American home state. “You know you talk about Hawai’i a lot. Why don’t you write a story there? It really seems to be calling to you at the moment.”
I’ve been in love with the Hawaiian Islands since I was nine years old. A chance to write about my beloved Hawai’i and the Big Island really grabbed me. I’ve always wanted to set a book there and showcase the gorgeous background of this island in particular. It literally sings to my soul. It’s the longest love affair of my life, I think. LOL.
So the idea caught fire and I surprised myself with how easily this book came to me. I think it was just waiting for the green light. The Muses were hovering in the wings or for my lot—floating in the tropical Bahamaian waters, just waiting for me to say, “Okay, I’m ready to take dictation now.”
Did you know right away this ‘idea’ would be a series?
No, I didn’t. I thought I had a one off. Then someone on FB was annoying me and I thought, “What a bolshie wee shit.” Around that time, I put up a piccie of another Hawaiian I think is beautiful—musician Dayvid Thomas ~ a Hawaiian/Samoan. Writer Lily Lamb (A. L. Lamb) said he was so gorgeous, he needed a story. I agreed.
As often happens in a writer’s brain, the neural pathways converge at funny places and I merged the two things together. Mikey suggested the name The Hawaiians for the series and I was off and running. Hawaiian Lei was born.
Outline the Hawaiian Series for us. How many books can we look forward to? And can you give us an approximate release schedule?
There are six books in the series so far. No, they’re not all written yet. LOL. Just percolating away, gathering momentum. I like to tell deeply emotional, heartfelt stories of love and redemption. Ultimately the healing of hearts and souls.
The Hawaiians is a m/m gay romance set on the Big Island of Hawai'i and occasionally in New Zealand. It combines island energy with some of the mysticism that Hawai’i is soaked in. It’s hard to go there and not feel the allure and magic of it.
In Hawaiian Lei my two main characters are
Beau Toyama, a shy, gentle,
biplane pilot and flight instructor. He’s a gorgeous looking “mixed plate” local. “Mixed plate” is the name of local lunch dishes. They come “with meat, two scoop rice, one scoop something else,” like mac salad or coleslaw. Beau is Hawaiian, Japanese and Tahitian. There are some pure Hawaiians left, but nearly everyone is mixed plate. It’s not a derogatory term, just an island term everyone uses.
He meets and falls in love with New Zealander Matt Quintal. Matt’s an accomplished painter but he’s lost. He comes to the Big Island to find himself. He’s been running away from himself and his island heritage. It’s time for him to follow his souls prompting.
Mattie is olive skinned with a dusting of freckles. His blue eyes are a throwback to his Norfolk Island heritage, from the Bounty mutineers and his Cornish ancestor and namesake, Matthew Quintal. He’s also New Zealand Maori from two tribes, the tough warrior Ngati Raukawa and Tukorehe in the North Island.
Their souls connect when Matt is out paddling one day and hears the sound of the radial engines overhead. Little does he know, his soul is being guided to Beau Toyama by his mom Tehani who’s passed over and wants to see her son with his soul mate.
The next story Hawaiian Orchid features the two main characters Kulani
Mahikoa and Rob Masterson.
Kulani is “The Orchid,” a young, insecure, pro-surfer who comes from a rough background on the island. But he’s also a healer and has a heart as deep as the ocean he’s part of.
He meets the lone and lonely New Zealand widower, Rob Masterson, a wounded psychologist who’s trying to come to terms with his husband’s death. When he drops anchor in Kona Harbor and meets the young, bolshie Kulani, sparks fly.
Two wounded men have to learn to trust and heal with each other.
Kulani’s has more layers than Rob ever bargained for. And Rob has his New Zealand heritage and past life to cut ties with.
They travel between New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands healing their hearts together.
These two couples are the background for the series. Kulani’s also a “dad” to the “lost boys.” Young gay men who are now homeless, abandoned, and abused because they’re gay.
Hawaiian Fragrance ~ Danny Lucerno is “mixed plate,” part Portuguese from a wealthy, Big Island family. He’s a fourth generation Big Islander
coming from the powerful and influential Lucerno family. His folks own several businesses, including a large plumeria farm and substantial ranch land. They’re horse people up in wet lush Waimea where the mighty Parker Ranch is.
Not that the scent of his moneyed background supports him much.
When he came out to his family at seventeen, they disowned him. Kulani found him living on the beach.
Now he’s got a bad boy attitude, smokes cigarettes and is the most hurt and angry of the boys. He was raised on a horse, but he’s also an expert waterman like Kulani. Another departure from his families graces.
He and Zane often go head to head with their masculine and feminine energy colliding.
Hawaiian Ginger ~ Zane Andrews, is partially deaf, and a dancer. He
comes from an extremely religious family who didn’t react well when they found him cuddled up with his boyfriend, Kaleho MacAdams one day. They weren’t doing anything, but the ultimatum was given. Give up each other or else. They took the or else and ran away from home together, rather than be apart.
They stole some things from Kulani and he takes them under his wing. Zane has an uncanny knack for knowing what people need. He’s tuned in on another level. Despite his hearing impairment, he’s a superbly graceful dancer. He’s feminine with an auburn tinge in his long hair. Ginger is his story.
Hawaiian Cherry ~ The Hawaiian/Japanese twins Haru and Kisho come
down from old coffee farmers in South Kona. Some of the family haven’t done as well as others. Their mother is a drug addict, the ICE on the island, capturing another willing slave to it. When she gets a new boyfriend, he sees the twins at fourteen as fresh meat. The twins are another statistic in the crimes and cruelness against young GLBT kids.
Hawaiian Mac ~ Kaleho MacAdams is the last character in the series as it
stands at the moment. He’s a mixed plate Hawaiian with a touch of Chinese and Haole as well. His family is poor and his fathers a shocking bigot.
“My son’s not gay, he’s been corrupted by that fairy faggot retard…”
You know that ugly story. But Kaleho and Zane have been best friends, since they were little keiki and nothing will keep them apart
All these beautiful men have deep, soulful stories to tell. And they’ve graciously let me do the honors.
If I can ever finish Orchid because it’s like the Energizer bunny—it just keeps going and going… LOL. I’m hoping to have this submitted soon and published within the next 4 to 5 months. The others will follow on that schedule if not sooner, depending on my writing schedule.
I know you’re a bit of a romance genre hopper like myself, from m/f to m/m/f, what made you decide to write an m/m romance series? (I have a feeling; the characters chose your path) :)
LOL. You’re so right. I really have almost no control over my characters. They all do their own thing. I just trot around at speed behind them, frantically taking dictation and typing as far as my wee fat finger will allow. LOL. I do love to read m/m romances. There’s something very real, with little bullshit when it comes to m/m romances. The gorgeous sex is well…sexy and sensuous. The emotions are rawer, the souls often cut deeper. The wounds more pronounced. It’s hard not to fall in love with them and want good things for them. Their story needed to be told.
And there is less restraint on me as a writer with the m/m genre. I find this hard to describe, but parts of myself get to be unleashed in some way. :)
Has this series been an easy journey writing wise? Have you always agreed with the way a character has presented himself or have you battled one or two? And if so, who won?
Yes, writing it has been a relatively easy journey. I think when a book flows like this, it’s meant to be written. And these books have flowed. I always have a “hump” bit about ¾ to 7/8’s of the way through but once I get through that, it’s all good. I’ve just dragged myself kicking and screaming through that bit with Orchid. LOL.
If something won’t work or I’m really dragging myself on it, I often stop and step back. I look at whether it’s something in me making this part glitchy or there’s something wrong with the story at that point. Sometimes it’s because I’m either missing something that needs to be in there or I’ve written a scene which doesn’t work. I usually find it. A lot of it is trusting the process and not panicking.
OMG!!! What is wrong with this? Why won’t it flow etc. Usually I have it going in the wrong direction or are trying to put the characters into something that doesn’t work for them.
I don’t do battle often with my characters other than one who is nicknamed “Bloody Charlie” by me. He is now almost the main character in the Troika Love Series m/m/f due out this year. And Charlie ALWAYS wins. LOL. He’s strong and strident. Never takes no for an answer. And he’s charming too… very charismatic. It’s hard to say no to Charlie when he wants something.
He started out as Henry’s best friend and then somewhere down the track wanted a love scene with Henry and Izzy. I said no. The readers won’t like that. But he didn’t give up. I gave in. And the rest is history as they say. :)
I know you’re going to pretty busy for the next little while, but can you give us a sneak peek of what else might be brewing for you?
Thanks HK. Yes, it’s the first time in my life I’ve got a one year plan. And what’s even weirder is that I’m happy with that. LOL.
I have to get Orchid finished and into my editor. Then I have Henry and Isolde to reedit and smooth out slightly. Then I’ll submit that too.
After that, it’s going to be my amazing juggling act! I’ll be toggling between The Hawaiians series and Troika Love Series. :)
After Orchid, Hawaiian Fragrance is next up and I’ve already started writing that. It’s chomping at the bit to get its head and run. I also have Book 2 in the Troika Series, The Chi Circle nearly ready to submit too. She’s in edit right now.
After that, I’ll be remembering sleep with a sweet fondness and a vague recollection of it. Hawaiian Ginger/The Hawaiians and The Flame Still Burns/Troika will both be written… LOL.
I remember thinking the other day. My god, what if I run out of ideas (one of my worries as a writer but it never seems to happen.) I’ve just realized I have almost TOO many things on the go. So I really don’t want any new ideas for a while. LOL. These ones are going to keep me writing for a good while yet. But I love it. Writing is like a day at the beach to me—balm to my soul.
Aloha Meg :)
Hawaiian Lei Buy Links: