I am so happy to be taking part in the blog tour for a new and very exciting book Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by a very talented author Tyler Collins. This blog tour was wonderfully put together by Jina Bazzar who made sure everything was on track and none of the blog tour articles you see on this site or all the other participating sites could have happened without her hard work. Make sure if you get time to check out all the wonderful posts for the blog tour. Links to participating blogs can be found on the above schedule list. 🙂
So without further ado, I present to you all Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Collins …
The aspiring detectives of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency take on their first official paying assignment: discover the secret of an elderly millionaire’s young wife.
It seems straightforward enough—until the wife is found dead in the sapphire Hawaiian oceanside. As Jill (JJ), Rey and Linda strive to uncover the killer amid a cast of curious, unconventional characters, they stumble across several secrets and fall over a few bodies.
Piecing together the puzzle detours the trio—to the domains of drug pushers, informants, and gangs. Serious game players, they play for keeps. Does the trio possess enough shrewdness and savvy to beat the odds and win the game?
Interview With The Author
What is your earliest writing memory?
As an only child, my powers of invention served to entertain a lot, be it through drawing or painting or writing. An avid Nancy Drew reader, imagination prompted me – probably around the age of eight or nine – to pen a few short mysteries.
What was the inspiration for Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie?
My love of Hawaii and the dream is to one day live there. In the meanwhile, I thought I’d reside there vicariously through the trio from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency. Hilo Hattie’s is a popular tourist shopping venue . . . but Hilo Hattie was also a real person. A Native Hawaiian, she was a talented singer, hula dancer, actress, and comedian. It felt right to incorporate an icon into the title.
Is there any fellow mystery writers who influence your work or who you like to read in your spare time?
With a full-time job and Mom-care, it’s tough to find time to do a lot of reading (something I’ve always very much enjoyed). I’m a fan of Kellerman and Evanovich—the former for the gritty realism and the latter for the hysterical buffoonery—and try to read them as time allows. Feeling nostalgic, I recently bought some classic Nancy Drew books and enjoy a chapter or two a day.
This particular book is from the Triple Threat Mystery series. In what way, without giving too much away, can readers expect to see a progression from book to book in the lives of the characters and their crime solving skills?
A great question. JJ, Rey and Linda will hone P.I. skills with each case solved. Because they’ll slowly but surely build a solid reputation, they’ll expand the agency to one or two other islands. The trio will have off-again on-again partners. One will marry. One will suffer a loss. And another will face a difficult, faith-challenging ordeal.
Do you have a favourite character from the series?
There are two. I love Rey. She’s melodramatic and impetuous . . . a real diva. Though headstrong and self-centered, she has a good, kind heart (which she’d prefer no one notice, much less acknowledge). I love Cash, too. I suppose he’s the male version of Rey. Overconfident and arrogant, and often annoying, he’s the proverbial “bad boy” that many of us are drawn to.
Do you have any advice for how readers should go about reading the series? Is each book a standalone or better read in the order they were published?
The Connecticut Corpse Caper, the first, was to be a standalone, but the gals decided to take their amateur [inadvertently acquired] sleuthing skills and go professional. While it lays the foundation for the stories that follow, there is enough history in each book re previous cases/events that someone wouldn’t necessarily have to read them in sequence.
Do you have any favourite lines from book 2?
Yes. When JJ impulsively throws a Taser and catches Cash in the head. It’s one of my favorites.
She supported his head and got him to drink a third of the glass. “Do you deal locally or on the Mainland, as well? Do you hobnob with guys who have the status of the once-super-rich-and-successful ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross and Amado ‘Lord of the Skies’ Fuentes?”
He eyed her as if she were as demented as Norman Bates’ mother.
“Oh, sorry. You probably don’t want to share your criminal life with us. That’s okay.” Linda smiled and he closed his eyes in a give-me-strength cast. “Let’s get you upright.” She assisted him into a more vertical position.
He noticed her dressing. “Did she bean you, too?”
Did you experience any writer’s block in writing the book or any of the three books?
Writer’s block not so much. I do, however, have severely stressful times and those serve to “block” my writing.
Has your family and friends read the series? What did they think of it?
The only family I have is my elderly mother, and she’s never read it. While I will share my writing with my blogging and writing communities, I won’t talk about my writing with those who I work with or are close to me (call it a quirk).
What can we expect next from your writing career?
I’m working on the fifth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series (“HA-HA-HA-HA”) and am tossing around an idea for a weekly installment book to place on Wattpad. Given time constraints, I can’t do half as much as I’d love to, so for now, I’m taking each day as it comes. I’d like to polish my blog and offer more than two weekly posts. Editing and proofing are services I’d like to provide at some time, as well.
Where can readers find out more about your work?
Please feel free to visit my WordPress blog A Writer’s Grab-Bag at https://thewritersgrabbag.com. Readers can also check out Odd Woman Out on Wattpad (a weekly-installment fiction book that’s almost completed). There’s Smashwords and a Facebook page dedicated to the Triple Threat Investigation Agency (which has daily posts about the gals’ adventures).
Thank you so much Tyler for being a guest on here on Culture Vulture Express! 🙂
To purchase Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Collins go to:
Barns and Nobles
And for more about Tyler Collins and her work go to:
Carmie was the main focus of the mission, so I dug around and discovered her name at birth had been Carpella. She’d been born in Tenafly New Jersey to Joseph Leone Carpella, the owner of a popular local pizza shop on Washington Street, and Lina Spera, a former aesthetician. Gino, Carmie’s fraternal twin brother, was currently a prominent businessman in New York. At a young age, he’d recognized there was money to be made in food that drew townspeople for blocks. A well-conceived business plan, leg power, and lots of charm resulted in his papa’s delicious pizzas becoming available beyond a twenty-block radius. In record time, Papa Jo Leone’s product moved beyond the borders of the borough, across the state, and then the nation.
At twenty-five Gino made his first million. Papa and Mama Carpella remained in Tenafly, but instead of living over the pizza parlor, resided in a lovely six-bedroom house with enough garden space to grow fifty bushels of Roma tomatoes.
While sister was slim, brother was heavy, not from fat, but muscle. In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Gino had talked about an obsession with staying fit (evidently, it ran in the twins’ veins), but his went beyond the physical. In addition to daily one-hour workouts at 5:00 a.m., he hit the books frequently to engage the gray matter. He’d even made it an objective to take two university courses every year.
As I drove to Kalihi, I considered all the information gleaned so far. It was edifying, but pretty rudimentary. Would it prove worthwhile and time efficient to dig deeper? We had to prove Carmie was having an affair at the very least, but discovering she was into something illicit or that she had something to hold over her husband would be best. Did the past matter? Probably not, other than maybe demonstrating she’d been a flirt or skank. That would go to character and integrity and all that. But if she’d been a flirt or skank, wouldn’t William have discovered that? Surely he’d have learned all he could about Carmelita Sangita Carpella before he’d married her.
And why marry someone of such a common background? Was it true love? Or a need to prove virility and/or have a trophywife? William’s first wife, Lucy, had been born to an aristocratic English family. Fox hunts, high teas and Harrods had been part of the Howell’s routine—until she’d passed at the age of thirty, after five years of marriage. A misadventure with a bunch of boisterous beagles during a fox hunt in Kent had cut her privileged life very short. Like Carmie, she was slim and approximately 5’4” tall, blonde and blue-eyed. Her nose, set between two incredibly high cheekbones, was quite pronounced. Some might have called it Patrician if they’d been feeling kind, while others who were more candid might have called it for what it was: a Gonzo (as in Muppet) proboscis. Snout, uh, nose aside, Lucy’s face held a noble and haughty air.
William remained single for four years and then met Lowella, the daughter of a Greek olive tycoon. A whirlwind romance ensued. They were married not quite eight months when daughter Sophia Bella was born. Lowella passed after five years of marriage when a tractor-trailer totaled her and a Jaguar in oatmeal-thick fog along California’s SR 1. Poor William. He wasn’t particularly lucky in the sustainable marriage-love department.
I pulled into the Kalihi district and found a small parking lot in a tiny strip mall. Before stepping from the car, I peered into the rearview mirror. The peacock-blue cotton sun hat looked okay, but dark circles under the eyes didn’t. I should have slapped on make-up, or at the very least concealer and lipstick, but really, why should I care that I looked tired and edgy? The folks I’d be asking about Xavier wouldn’t.
I eyed a long, white clinic across the road. Two young people, one scarecrow skinny and one sea-lion blubbery, shuffled from the entrance, whispered excitedly and anxiously shambled onward. It was as good a place to start as any. Maybe Xavier had dropped in.
My career as P.I. had officially begun. Hopefully, in the process, I wouldn’t blow it—or get “blown”, as into bitty pieces. What did I know about druggies and dealers other than what I’d heard at the stations I’d worked at or viewed on the idiot box, as Great-Uncle Warren called television? My father’s uncle was the only relative I had ever known on that side of the family. I’d never even met my dad. When I’d been a baby, he’d taken a fatal roll down Mount Kilimanjaro during a botanical exploration (so the story went).
These folks had been babies once, too. Innocent, trusting infants with lives to live and dreams to make happen. . . . Or destroy. Sometimes we made wrong choices; sometimes others made them for us. And sometimes life simply wasn’t fair.
A Second Interview with author Tyler Collins:
Q1. What drew you to cozy mysteries?
I’ve been reading them for many years but I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries (which I’ve recently started reading again). Cozies have always been appealing because of quaint locations and settings, intriguing characters with often fun careers (cooks, bakers, archeologists), and non-graphic murder scenes. While I also enjoy “hard-boiled” mysteries, there’s something to be said for stories that truly allow you to escape everyday life/news.
Q2. Do you write in any other genres?
I dabble with women’s fiction—a chapter from Odd Woman Out can be found weekly on Wattpad. It’s nearing completion, though, and I’m thinking the next “installment” book might be short stories about lessons learned.
Q3. What does the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series entail?
The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series is about three (still somewhat novice) private eyes living on Oahu. JJ, her cousin Rey, and Rey’s BFF Linda become embroiled in challenging if not crazy cases but, ultimately, they always catch their culprit without too many
Q4. Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
I’m very fond of melodramatic, part-time actress Reynalda Fonne-Werde. Rey is feisty and lippy, and believes anything is doable. She’ll confront a villain with teeth and claws bared, and has no qualms about doing a little B&E if it will net answers. Despite an army-tank approach and in-your-face attitude, she has a big heart.
Q5. Is there a specific inspiration for your series?
Nancy Drew, as mentioned. I read (devoured) her mysteries in my youth and wanted to be I now have that opportunity—by writing the TTIA series and following the antics, er, pursuits of my three aspiring sleuths.
Q6. What made you decide to e-publish your work?
I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. Publishing the traditional way—or finding an agent—is very difficult, so I opted for e-publishing. No regrets. I’ve met an amazing group of like-minded writers/bloggers in my e-publishing travels.
Q7. If you could have a dinner party and invite three authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
My favorite authors would be invited: Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Shakespeare!
Q8. Is there anything of note you’re currently reading?
With a full-time job, taking care of Mom, and trying to maintain a blog (never mind writing books), it’s extremely difficult to pick up a book. But I have managed to buy a few of the original Nancy Drew mysteries I used to read (was feeling nostalgic) and manage to read a chapter every day or so.
Q9. What about personal interests?
Writing, blogging, writing, blogging. <LOL> I also have a fascination for / love of Hawaii, am interested in spirituality, and am trying to develop as a [better] individual.
Q10. If you weren’t a writer/ blogger, what would you be?
At this stage of my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I were a few years younger, however, I believe I’d like to have done food styling or catering, or something in the culinary world. It’s another creative realm; instead of words, you use food.
Q11. Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or might you start a new series?
I’ve just started working on “HA-HA-HA-HA”, the fifth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series. There are plans for a sixth. I’m quite fond of the Triple Threat trio, so I’m/we’re not ready to move on yet . . . but I’m tempted to write one of the books with Rey as the narrator.
Q12. What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
It’s fun (and challenging) making characters and situations come alive. I love being with the characters as they learn and grow; in essence, they influence how I learn and grow.
Q13. Do you have a set writing routine?
I write as often as a full-time job and Mom-care allow. A dream come true would be to write and blog for several hours a day. It’s all good, though; things still get done (it just takes a wee bit longer).
Q14. How do you pick the names and settings?
A name will pop into my head courtesy of a television program, a newspaper or magazine article, or even a product. If I have to “think” of a name, nothing comes to mind; if I do something trifling, like dishes or dusting, an array of them pop into my head. As for settings, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency e-books (Caper aside) take place in Hawaii. I know Oahu well enough that neighborhoods and venues are easy to select and describe.
Q15. What do you like about your main characters?
The three gals from the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency—JJ, Rey, and Linda—bicker and banter. They can be funny and quirky, and bitchy, and are [wonderfully] far from perfect.
Q16. How did publishing your first e-book change your process of writing?
It didn’t really change my process, but it did offer me enough confidence to continue. Seeing an actual cover—a product—provided self-assurance. But after the second and third e-books were published, I realized I had to get out there and start marketing and promoting myself. That in itself, however, is a full-time job. So I’m not even close to where I want to be re my blog and e-books, but everything in its own sweet time. J
Q17. What’s your favorite novel and/or character of all time?
I still love To Kill a Mockingbird and Something Wicked This Way Comes. They’re books I read in school, fell in love with, and pick up again every few years. The characters and settings seemed so real back then, vibrant and tangible, as they still do today. When you can create such realism, you know you’re a stellar writer.
Q18. How social-media savvy are you?
<ROTFL> Oh, that was a real question? . . . OMG. There’s so much to learn and constantly stay on top of. Given time constraints and comfort levels, I stick with Facebook and Twitter. While I signed up for Instagram, I truly haven’t a clue as to what to do with it (I’m not a picture-taker, at least not right now, but photography is something I’d like to eventually pursue).
Q19. Are there any common traps for budding writers?
Trying to be “perfect” the first time out. Not doing due diligence when seeking services such as formatting or cover design, editing or promotion, or marketing. Not doing any form of self-promotion or marketing. Not using social media to its/your full advantage. . . . Do as I say, not as I do. <LOL>
Q20. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself. Always strive to better yourself and your product. If you’re serious about becoming a published writer, be it traditional or e-book, learn all that you can about the various components involved. Completing a book/e-book for publication is merely the first step.
Q21. The mystery genre, regardless of type, is your favorite. What about music?
These days I’m into K-pop . . . totally.
Q22. What’s your favorite food?
Cheese. Fromage. Käse. Queso. Formaggio. Ser. 치즈.
Q23. What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
My glasses. (Seeing the world as a blur has merit on occasion, but not being able to read is no fun.)
Q24. You live in Canada currently, but have been known to say (declare, promise, affirm) that one day you’ll reside in Hawaii. Is this still true?
The first time I set foot on Hawaiian soil, I knew I had to live there. Yes, there’s that teeny-weeny [annoying] issue about Canadians not being able to live there permanently without a green card, but I’m maintaining faith/hope.
Q25. Name one thing you’re good at and one thing you’re bad at.
The good: scheduling and coordinating (I’m great at organizing, if I do say so myself though, sometimes, I spend way too much time at it).
The bad: scheduling and coordinating (I’m great at organizing, if I do say so myself though, sometimes, I spend too way much time at it.)
Q26. What do you like to do when you have free time?
Free time? What’s that? <LOL>
Q27. What’s your pet peeve?
Bad customer service / rude people / me-me-me folks. (The three fall into the same bucket.)
Q28. If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would that be?
One thing I’ve always desired: a great voice. While I love writing, it would be awesome to sing/perform (without sounding like I’m choking on a handful of jellybeans).
Q29. What projects are you currently working on?
The fifth in the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency series, titled “HA-HA-HA-HA”. I’m finishing Odd Woman Out, which can be found in weekly installments on Wattpad.
About the author:
Tyler Colins is a fiction writer and blogger, and a sometimes editor and proofreader (books, manuals, and film/television scripts). She’s also been known to create business plans, synopses and outlines, and film promotion documents.
Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are both skills and joys (she likes playing detective and developing structure).
Her fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries. Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and “affirmative” non-fiction.
She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.
1- Hula is, according to Google: noun
a dance performed by Hawaiian women, characterized by six basic steps, undulating hips, and gestures symbolizing or imitating natural phenomena or historical or mythological subjects
2- Hilo Hattie, according to Wikipedia was: “Hilo Hattie (born Clarissa Haili, October 28, 1901 – December 12, 1979) was a Hawaiian singer, hula dancer, actress and comedian of Native Hawaiian ancestry.”
3- Sam, a homeless fellow in Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?, was inspired by one of several the author met during her trip to Hawaii.
4- Xavier, the teenager with drug issues, was also inspired by that first trip. Anti-drug posters at that time were quite graphic, if not horrific, and certainly thought-provoking.
5- The author set Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie in Hawaii because it’s a place she’s always wanted to live in; and because – in real life – the requirements to open a pi agency in Hawaii is less strict there than in the states.
Good luck with Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie Tyler. Hope it sells many deserved copies! 🙂
The previous blog tour post was on The BookWorm Drinketh blog by Nicole Campbell and the next post in the blog tour will be tomorrow and can be found on Plot Monster by MD Walker. Be sure to check them out when you get the chance. 🙂