I recently had the privilege of interviewing author H.L. Wegley.
Can you tell me a little bit more about On the Pineapple Express and the giveaway you are hosting on your blog?
Shortly before writing On the Pineapple Express, my wife and I attended a local event that raised awareness of child sex trafficking in our area. It painted an ugly picture of an evil that’s epidemic in our society and pandemic in our world. I wanted to do something to alert people, so I took my hero and heroine from book 1 of my 4-book, Pure Genius Series, Hide and Seek, and placed them in a situation where they had to choose between safely coasting toward their impending wedding or risking it all to try to rescue a group of girls held to be sold by human traffickers. That provided the plot for On the Pineapple Express. Human trafficking can be a dark subject, but I’ve tried to tell an uplifting story without being too graphic. I think we succeeded in doing that, because my editor at Pelican Book Group doesn’t let anything crude or overly graphic slip into the published version. There is also a redemption story embedded in the plot, but I can’t tell you more without creating a spoiler.
The giveaway is being held on my blog, The Weather Scribe, ending on Sunday evening, December 15. I’m giving away 5 Kindle copies to winners chosen from those who leave a comment and their email address.
You served as a Weather Officer in the U.S. Air Force. Have you used weather to create conflict in your stories or to enhance settings?
As a weather forecaster I could only try to predict the weather, but as an author I can control it. What a sense of power! Yes, I did use weather to enhance the setting in On the Pineapple Express. In fact, the weather serves as an additional antagonist, infusing everything my hero and heroine try to do with danger. For the story I recreated part of the conditions for the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, the most intense and deadly wind storm ever to strike the West Coast, and I prefaced the winds with a Pineapple Express event, a heavy rainstorm that often causes severe flooding. The weather is a major player in the story beginning on page 1 and continuing for nearly three-fourths of the book.
I love a quote from your blog. The quote is in response to one of your first writing critiques: “You mean writing fiction is a craft, and I have to learn it?” I, too, felt this way at the beginning of my writing journey. What advice do you have for aspiring fiction writers who want to learn the craft?
For me, the first step in learning the craft was to gain awareness of my ignorance. That came from taking Readers Digest’s Advanced Novel Writing Workshop. The instructor’s critique of my work quickly revealed how ignorant I was at that point. But attending a writing conference and reading a good craft book are much less expensive and, I believe, a preferable way to go. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell is a good place to start, but there are several great craft books available. Ready to learn at that point, I joined the ACFW—what a resource—and participated in its large critique group for about a year. Since then I have joined a local critique group of faith-based authors and signed up for Susan May Warren’s My Book Therapy. For less than the cost of a conference, My Book Therapy provides a rich set of tools and information on all aspects of crafting stories and getting them published.
What are some of the unusual creatures you have encountered while snorkeling in Maui? Do any of your characters snorkel?
Two years ago my wife and I were snorkeling Kaanapali Beach on Maui one beautiful, sunny morning. We swam out about 75 yards, where the water was 20-feet deep. I was watching some brightly colored angelfish on the coral below me when my wife grabbed my head and pulled it out of the water. She pointed at what looked like two dorsal fins moving in a tight circle about 60 feet away and asked, “What’s that?”
“I don’t know, but let’s head for shore,” I said, hoping the two fins didn’t turn toward us. By the time we reached shore a large group of people had gathered, watching the show. A resident of the Islands told everyone that it was a very large manta ray doing its mating dance. With just the “wingtips” above water it looked exactly like two sharks.
About snorkeling and my characters—Moon over Maalaea Bay, book 3 of the Pure Genius Series and the sequel to On the Pineapple Express, is set completely in Maui. Two of my characters do snorkel, but it’s not a leisurely activity in their case, and it gets them into a lot of trouble.
Where can readers find more information about you?
Here are my book and social media links.
Web site: HLWegley.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HLWegley
Blog: The Weather Scribe - A climate of suspense and a forecast of stormy weather
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/10hubj8
Book 1: Hide and Seek -- espionage thriller with romance:
Book 2: On the Pineapple Express -- human trafficking thriller with romance