Writing from Where You Know
I often get asked if the characters in my paranormal suspense book A Human Element are “me”.
While yes, much of me is in my characters the question I don’t often get asked is “are the places in your book real?” Yes they are! Some places I re-named and some I didn’t. I’m sharing some of my photos here of Hawaii where Ben Fieldstone frequents in A Human Element.
I was a photographer in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, as Ben is in A Human Element. I worked in Fleet Intelligence processing top secret film in “the building with no windows” as Ben did.
The beauty of Oahu is amazing with its violently defined landscape, a place to find–and keep–secrets in its hidden spots. I also lived off base in Honolulu. Likini, the wife of Ben’s friend, in A Human Element is actually named after the street I lived on, Likini Street (where I got around in a Herbie-styled 1972 white VW bug).
But in A Human Element you’ll find Hawaii is not all palm trees and Mai Tais.
Ben watched the pretty, tall brunette from across the bar. She flicked her long hair back and laughed with her short friend as she sipped a beer. Her white teeth gleamed against her tan in the red glow of the Chinese lanterns strung above the bar.
Ben could tell she was a tourist seeking vacation adventure in Honolulu’s rough spots. Hud’s Place was no place for a white wahine from the mainland to be hanging out after 10:00 p.m. North of Hotel Street in Chinatown, or NoHo as it was called, carried its distinction as the known spot for prostitute action any time of the week.
He swallowed the last of his beer and laughed to himself. SoHo could be a better name for the so-many-ho’s that could be had around here. He knew. At twenty-one and after three years stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Navy, he had sampled them all. Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Philippine, Tahitian. Anything exotic you wanted. If you liked big mamas you could hook up with fat Samoan women, lurking on street corners strutting their expansive goods.
Ben also finds himself in dire circumstances in Hawaii. Being a sailor there once myself, I know of the dangers sailors can find themselves in on the island of Oahu if they’re not careful.
I was told not to go to the Pali Lookout alone, a spot far above Honolulu in the Koolau Mountains. It’s set on cliffs with treacherous footing awaiting those who aren’t careful…or for those who are tossed off…or jump off. It’s known for its moaning, howling winds. People have disappeared up there, they’d say. It’s a haunted place where the ghosts of Hawaiian ancestors are said to roam.
“You awake, sailor boy?” Koko smiled at him and slapped his head. “I picked up my friend here, and we’re gonna teach you a lesson real good. Right, Kami?”
Koko’s friend, Kami, leaned into Ben’s face and leered. Larger and darker than his partner, Kami’s teeth gleamed bright against his skin.
“Oh yeah, real good. This is where we take the haoles that don’t behave, right, Koko?”
“Damn straight. We make nice, friendly boys out of you.”
The two Samoans laughed.
Ben turned his head to look at them. “My friends will be looking for me, you know. My base will be looking for me. I know where you are in town. You do anything to me and the Navy will find you.”
“No one ain’t ever gonna find you, brah.” Kami chuckled. “After we done with you we gonna throw you off the cliff, right, Koko?”
Ben knew where he was now. The Pali Lookout. It hung over Honolulu on the Koolau Mountain Range. They must have parked and carried him down the old Pali road, overgrown and forgotten after the new Pali road had been built. It was hidden in the jungle off the beaten path. He remembered the so-called suicides up here.
He knew now some might not have been suicides.
Donna Galanti is an ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She’s lived from England as a child to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. If she couldn’t write she would bike, hike, and kayak every day. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts.
About A Human Element: One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Praise for A Human Element:
“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born. Don’t miss A Human Element.” – M.J. Rose, International Bestselling Author
“A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author
Purchase A Human Element here:
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/dg-he-Nook
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
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