Living in Hawaii

Please help me welcome Doug Corleone to It’s Not All Gravy. Doug is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime novels published by St. Martin’s Minotaur.  A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Doug now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel. My daughter was stationed in Hawaii while she was in the army and as her brother said, “What a terrible tour of duty.” So I am not sure I feel too terribly sorry for Doug.

It’s tough to complain about living in Hawaii.  And I don’t do it often. But as an American writer, I do often feel isolated, as though I’m still on the outside looking in. When a friend launches a new book at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York, I wonder if I made the right decision seven years ago when I moved away from the Big Apple. When the Southern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America emails me an invitation to a gathering at a bar in LA, I immediately feel a pang of regret before striking the delete button. I’ve asked my literary agent and fellow writers, even my editor, about whether moving back to the mainland would be best for my career. But in this digital day and age, when the world is so small and everything moves at the speed of light, the answer I receive is consistently no. And they’re right.

Authors are touring less. Fewer physical books in existence means fewer books are being signed. Yet readers are closer to their favorite authors than ever. On Twitter, you can follow the writers you most admire throughout their day, learn what they eat, how much they drink, and where they shop, all in 140 characters or less.  On Facebook, you can often see photos of authors reading their books at packed events, or even shooting hoops in the driveway with their kids.  Many authors today maintain blogs. It’s almost as though you can sneak into their bedroom and thumb through a few pages of their journals or diaries each night after they fall asleep.

Still, living in Hawaii, I often miss sitting down to dinner or having a drink with my colleagues. I keep in touch with many authors via email, but of course, it’s not the same. That’s why I so look forward to writing conventions and conferences and other mainland events. My favorite event over the past three years has been Bouchercon, the annual world mystery convention. In San Francisco and St. Louis, I was afforded the opportunity to discuss the craft of writing with fellow scribblers, not just on author panels but at awards ceremonies, publishing parties, and simply sitting around the hotel bar.

As I write this I’m counting down the days until October 3rd when I’ll leave Honolulu for Cleveland for Bouchercon  2012.  For four days I’ll be surrounded by readers and crime writers from all over the globe and I’ll relish every second of it. 

In the meantime, I’ll just have to pass the time here in Hawaii. It’ll be tough. But somehow, someway, I know I’ll make it through. 
In Doug’s latest book, Last Lawyer Standing, hotshot defense attorney Kevin Corvelli is juggling clients as high profile as Hawaii’s governor and as gritty as the career criminal who once saved Kevin’s life.

11 thoughts on “Living in Hawaii”

  1. I just got back from a week and a half in Hawaii, part of it in Honolulu. I feel for you missing conventions and conferences here on the mainland, but not a whole lot, considering the view you have there!

    How much time would you estimate that you spend on social sites?

  2. I live in San Francisco and get to Hawaii regularly. What I notice most about the islands (most islands now that I think of it) is that the pace of life is much slower. I can only imagine your adjustment from living in New York to living in Hawaii. I wonder how it is to work in an environment where the pace is dramatically slower. I wish you continued success.

  3. I’ve never been to Hawaii but hope to remedy that one day soon.

    It seems that the Internet makes those cross-ocean separations less significant than in days gone by, yet I appreciate that one would miss some of the physical connection of being on the mainland

  4. I did have the pleasure of spending 10 days in Hawaii when our daughter was stationed there. I did notice that the pace of life was slower there, yet the pace here was a bit slower then, too. (smile) I remember going to the beach early in the morning with coffee and a notebook. It was a good place to write.

  5. Aloha everyone. Another downside about Hawaii — the time difference. Six hours during the summer.

    Helen, I spend a few minutes on the social sites (about 100 times a day). They’re a distraction, but an important one these days.

    Little Pickle Press, yes! NY moves much faster than HI does. But I’m often locked up in my office writing — and I tend to set a a grueling pace for myself (no doubt because I’m a New Yorker at heart). It’s easy to forget where you live when you’re indoors too much.

    Bob, that’s exactly what I’m feeling. You’re right — being on the mainland is probably unnecessary for my career, but the little things, like having dinner with your agent or editor, or doing drinks with a fellow author, can feel crucial when you’re as far away as I am.

    LD, writers need as much sympathy as we can possibly get!

    Thanks for the comments and questions! I feel a little more connected today. You’re all invited over for mai tais.

  6. Thanks for the invite, Doug. When do the drinks start?

    I suppose living there is different from just visiting. I could go out and enjoy the beach at the North Shore as often as I wanted during my vacation there.

  7. Hi Doug. I highly recommend Left Coast Crime which will be in Colorado Springs, CO in late March. I’m just saying… 😀

    Thanks for featuring Doug today, Maryann. The Kevin Corvelli series sounds great.

  8. The drinks start as soon as you step off the plane, Maryann!

    Patricia, I definitely want to go to LCC. I’ve been waiting for a release to coincide with the dates… Either way, I hope to get there next March!

  9. “I’m counting down the days until October 3rd when I’ll leave Honolulu for Cleveland” … That’s probably the first and last time that sentiment has ever been uttered. lol!

    Doug, I live in the country outside a small town, so I know what you mean about feeling isolated if you’re hooked up to the internet.

    Fortunately, I’ve connected with bunches of other writers in the area, so I can have my paradise and companionship, too. I wonder if you could find or start a face-to-face group where you are?

    Maryann, thanks for hosting Douglas. I had the pleasure of hosting him, too. I hope Last Lawyer Standing rockets the series to best-sellerdom and keeps it there!

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  10. Doug, I have some friends visiting Hawaii right now. I told them to look you up. They can have my drink. LOL

    I agree with Marian, hope your series gains new readers with this latest book.

    And thanks for being such a great guest. It is always so nice to be able to have a little chat going like this in the comments.

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