Aloha to Aunty Lehua, my guest today! She’s talking about her new middle grade novel, One Boy, No Water that comes out tomorrow. It’s a fascinating book that I loved reading. Click the title link for my full review.
Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. So far she has been a live television director, a school teacher, a courseware manager, an instructional designer, a sports coach, a theater critic, a SCUBA instructor, a poet, a web designer, a mother, and a wife. Her debut novel, One Boy, No Water is the first book in her MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, four cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.
Click the link to visit the official book site.
1. Where did the original idea for the Niuhi Shark Saga come from?
When I was in second grade at Kahului Elementary School we got to watch movies in the cafeteria one afternoon a year. Sprawled out on the cool polished cement floor we watched a film from the Legends of Hawaii series. I was fascinated. It was the first time I remember watching actors who looked like they could be classmates. One of the legends was about a boy who always wore a covering over his shoulders. People in his village kept disappearing. There’s a moment in the film where his cape is torn away and a humongous gaping shark mouth is revealedwhere his back should be. That image is burned into my brain. I knew one day I’d write a novel about it.
2. I loved the language of this book – how the characters talk. Was it hard to write in Pidgin, since it’s mostly a spoken language?
Yes! There are very few standardizations on spelling, so originally I wrote a lot of it phonetically, but soon realized reading it was a lot of hard work, waaaaay too hard for MG/YA, and practically impossible for non-Pidgin speakers. I eventually decided to keep Pidgin’s rhythm and sentence structure, but used standard American English spelling for English-based words. My hope is Pidgin speakers will see ‘More better we go library,” but in their heads hear ‘Mo’bettah we go li’barry.’
3. How about editing? Was it a tedious process since Pidgin is close, but also very different from regular English?
Jolly Fish Press was committed to publishing the Pidgin in all its glory, something I never expected from a traditional mainland publisher. Other than a literal handful of phrases that needed more explanation or the spelling tweaked, it really wasn’t an issue. I did talk to the copy editor before she started on the manuscript, apologizing in advance and reminding her it only looks like an illiterate first grader wrote it. Fortunately, she lived in Hawaii for a couple of years as a kid, so I’m hoping copyediting One Boy, No Water didn’t drive her head-first into a vat of chocolate.
4. The Saga is a five book series. That’s a lot of books. Does it intimidate you to have to keep the story fresh and alive for that long or do you have it all planned out?
I try not to think about it too much. Otherwise I’d probably curl into a little ball under my desk and twitch. Honestly, I have only very broad strokes in my head about where the series is going, but I’m not worried I’ll run out of story before books.
5. I know this is like asking you to pick your favorite child, but who is your favorite character in the book and why?
‘Ilima, the poi dog and Uncle Kahana’s companion, is my favorite to write. She doesn’t talk, at least in human terms, so I constantly have to come up with new ways for her to get her point across. She’s a bit of a diva and very attuned to the nuances of things going on around her. She’s also far more than what she seemsat first. More about her gets revealed as the series progresses.
6. And finally, because we all love books, tell us 2-3 of your favorite reads.
When I was a kid, I loved A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Mary Stewart’s Merlin books. The Harry Potter books,anything by Diana Gabaldon, most Stephen King, Michael Crichton, and John Grisham books are adult favorites. I read constantly, about 300 or more books a year.
Thanks, Lehua! It was a pleasure to have you here today. Good luck with the book launch.
Be sure to follow Lehua on her social network sites:
Goodreads: Lehua Parker