I was born and raised in Honolulu. I attended Punahou School and also UH-Manoa. I spent every summer with my grandmother on her horse ranch on the east end of Moloka’i. She gave me my first horse when I was four. That mare dropped a foal the morning after I “rode her to death,” according my grandmother. My father told his mother to never mention I had Hawaiian blood because of the discrimination he experienced as a boy growing up in Honolulu.
I bounced around during my college years, attending the University of Colorado, the University of Hawaii, and UC-San Diego. I received a BA in English Lit at UCSD and went on for my MFA at San Francisco State University. While at SFSU, I was the first student in the history of the school to sweep the poetry awards in the all-school competitions.
What inspires you to write?
Writing helps you document your life and allows you to go back in time and express how you felt in the past. I think that’s important because it helps you understand who you are today. When the founder of Wal-Mart died, he left hundreds of millions to his family but never left any record of himself behind through a story or even a poem. What do we know about his interior world? Writing also allows you get down the stories of your elders. For example, THE QUEEN OF MOLOKA’I focuses on my paternal grandmother’s life in the islands and begins two generations before I was born. Julia Wright deserves to be remembered because of all the hardships she overcame. Now this isn’t a praise book. Far from it. It’s Julia’s story, warts and all.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm more of a spontaneous writer, but I also outline. I also do this weird thing–I draw stick figures and images beside the handwritten lines to help me focus. For example, while writing about Chipper Gilman, my grandmother's third lover and first try at marriage, I drew his stick figure on the page with his ramshackle shotgun shack behind him.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen and shout and them. Don't come near my door unless you want to hear me screaming.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Plath, Faulkner, and Joyce, not necessarily in that order.
Favorite books include THE GREAT GATSBY, IN OUR TIME, DUBLINERS, and LIGHT IN AUGUST.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I published with a small literary publisher who focuses on writing set in the South Pacific.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe books in hard copy form are endangered species. Believe it or not, I think part of the problem is bookstores. Most are kind of boring, to tell you the truth. That's why I do book signings @ breweries and bars.
What genres do you write?
Poetry, Plays, Creative Nonfiction, Flash, Screenplays, Fiction
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.