Monday, June 1, 2020

"The Fire Thief"

Debra Bokur is an author, journalist, editor, screenwriter, and illustrator. Her work has appeared in a variety of domestic and international media outlets, including National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Spa Magazine, Experience Life Magazine, Natural Home, Yoga Journal, Global Traveler, and Women’s Adventure. She is a recipient of the 2015 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award.

Bokur applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Fire Thief, and reported the following: .
On page 69 of The Fire Thief, Maui-based Detective Kali Māhoe has arrived on Hawaii Island, where she’s trying to distract herself from a murder investigation by tracking down clues to a rash of solar panel thefts that have been linked to eerie sightings of a faceless, malevolent spirit. As page 69 opens, she’s driving up the western Kohala coast, where the roadside scenery ranges from barren, lunar-like terrain on one side of the highway to a verdant wash of rolling land on the other that’s presided over by an ancient, sleeping volcano.

Excerpt from page 69:
She followed the highway north, past a collection of five-star resorts positioned along the coast, spread out to such a degree that each one seemed to be its own oasis amid the arid lava-rock landscape. For miles on either side of the road, tourists and locals had spelled out private messages with pieces of white coral, which stood out in sharp relief against the ancient black lava stone. The messages were a mix of declaration and longing—Marci loves Jonathan 4-Ever, We Miss You Papa, Will You Marry Me, Brett?

She made her way at a leisurely pace, relishing the views to the east of the lush Kohala Mountains and the long-dormant volcanic hump of Mauna Loa. North of the mountain range was the rich Waipi’o Valley.
This page is actually a pretty good example of the sense of place I was striving to convey, but definitely is not an accurate test of revealing that the book is a murder mystery.

Though The Fire Thief is a fictional story, it was important to me when writing it to be respectful of Hawaiian culture and tradition, and of the powerful setting itself. Over the decades, my own journeys to Hawaii have revealed the multiple faces of this remote island archipelago, where the weather ranges from balmy sunshine to violent storms, and where drugs and crime are facts of life. The tranquility so often associated with Hawaii is, in fact, deceptive and frequently misleading—which makes it ideal as the setting for a mystery. I became fascinated with the yin-yang nature of this location years ago while filming a documentary about Hawaiian healing traditions and spiritual practices. Though the documentary never saw the light of day, a seed was nevertheless firmly planted for the book series.
Visit Debra Bokur's website.

Q&A with Debra Bokur.

--Marshal Zeringue