Monday, September 30, 2013

Author Lehua Parker "Swims with Sharks": Not your average soccer mom!

About Lehua  Parker, author of the Nuihi Shark Saga

Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. In addition to writing award-winning short fiction, poetry, and plays, she is the author of the Pacific literature MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga published by Jolly Fish Press. One Boy, No Water and One Shark, No Swim are available now. Book 3, One Fight, No Fist will be published in 2014.
So far Lehua 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 playwright, a web designer, a book editor, a mother, and a wife. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, three cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.

Interview with Lehua Parker

What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

Marrying my husband. Most good things in my life for the past 26 years have come from that decision. Second best: choosing the lava cake for dessert at Roy’s.

What’s something you’ll never do again?

Ride a zip line. Suspension from heights is too scary! It’s why I don’t ski.

What else have you published?

Lehua Parker is a pen name for Michelle Parker. As Lehua, I’ve published the first two books in the Nihui Shark Saga for MG/YA readers,  companion short stories for adults set in the same world for adults, and countless book reviews and non-fiction articles. As Michelle I’ve written plays, poems, short stories, a theater review column, and more training and technical writing materials than anyone should have to read. Along with the novels published by Jolly Fish Press, I’ve published in literary anthologies and journals, newspapers, magazines, poetry anthologies, and secret government annals.

What were your favorite books as a child?

The kinds with words. I was a voracious omnivore when it came to stories. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, Agatha Christie mysteries, Victoria Holt bodice-rippers (very tame by today’s standards),  Mary Stewart’s Merlin series, The Hardy Boys, and anything sci-fi. I drove the librarians nuts.

In your other life, what hats do you wear?

My secret-superhero cover identity now is Mom. However, past covers include live television director, scuba instructor, web designer, school teacher, and courseware manager. Mom is by far the hardest.

Tell us about the charming covers .

The covers for One Boy, No Water and One Shark, No Swim were created by the talented Corey Egbert who also does the illustrations for the books. They don’t portray actual moments in the books, but rather express the theme, idea, or mood.

How many books will be in your series?

The Niuhi Shark Saga was originally conceived as one thread in a tapestry of stories all set in fictional Lauele Town, Hawaii. There’s a five book story arc for the series in my head. Jolly Fish Press, the publisher, is interested in publishing the first thee, then wants to see something else from me. While there will be a definite conclusion at the end of book three that will make it feel like a trilogy, I will probably write all five. Fans will be able to read the whole saga.

What inspired the storyline of your series?

There’s an image burned in my brain from a movie I saw when I was seven years old, sprawled on the cool, polished cement floor in Kahului Elementary’s cafeteria.  It was from the Legends of Hawaii series. This legend was about villagers who kept disappearing. It was feared they were being eaten by a large shark. There’s a moment in the film when they rip the cloak off the shoulders of a young man to reveal a gapping shark’s mouth where his back should be! This young man was a shark in human form! Since then I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the idea that his parents kept this secret hidden his entire life and that he was eating people he knew. All the answers to the why, how, and what if questions I asked myself eventually turned into the Niuhi Shark Saga.

What would you like readers to take from these books?

The sense that Hawaii is a real place with real people and not just a vacation destination. That families can love and support one another through difficulties—and that difficulties still come to kids regardless of their support system. Often kids make poor decisions because they want to protect their families when they should be reaching out to them. Lastly, family is who you say it is. Period.

What is the best advice you could give to new writers?

Read. Read everything—good, bad, indifferent, and truly terrible. Learn to tell the difference. Write. Erase. Write more. Start a social media platform as an author long before you even dream of publishing.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

Underwater. Seriously, I’d love to dive places like the Great Barrier Reef, remote atolls in the Pacific, sunked cities in the Mediterranean. As long as visibility’s good and I’m there. Now that the kids are older, I’m campaigning for less Disneyland and more Roatan, Honduras. I’ll  give up room service—heck, indoor plumbing—to go where the scuba diving is exceptional.

What is your next project?

Up next, I’m re-editing book 1, One Boy, No Water, for a second edition release in 2014 and writing book 3, One Fight, No Fist, for publication in  2014. I’m also in the middle of creating school and classroom presentations for author visits this fall and next spring, editing a couple of novels for amazing writers, and working with the editors of an anthology of stories by Hawaiian writers . With all this and the launch of book 2, One Shark, No Swim, I have many excuses to avoid housework. 

Thanks for visiting my blog today, Lehua! Aloha! 

Two books, more coming!

Book One: One Boy, No Water

11 year old Alexander Kaonakai Westin—Zader for short—is allergic to water. One drop on his skin sears like white-hot lava. Too bad a lifetime of carrying an umbrella and staying away from the beach isn’t the answer, especially when his popular almost twin brother Jay looks destined to become the next Hawaiian surfing sensation.
But avoiding water is just the tip of Zader’s troubles. Eating raw seafood and rare meat gives him strange dreams about a young girl in a red cape and nightmares about a man with too many teeth. There’s also the school bullies who want to make Zader their personal punching bag, the pressure of getting into Ridgemont Academy, and the mysterious yearly presents from his birth family that nobody talks about.
It’s enough to drive Zader crazy, especially when he suspects old Uncle Kahana and ‘Ilima know a secret that explains his unusual biological quirks. After all, they were the ones who found him newborn and abandoned on a reef and brought him to the Westins to adopt. Uncle Kahana swears Zader is ‘ohana—family—by blood as well as adoption.  Too bad he’s not saying more.
When Jay quits surfing after a shark scare, Zader decides it’s time to stop hiding in the shadows and start searching for answers.
Growing up adopted in Hawai‘i just got a little weirder.

Reviews for One Boy, No Water, Book One in the Niuhi Shark Saga:

“. . . One Boy, No Water is a colorful island tale and a modern take on various aspects of Hawaiian legend. . . . Lehua Parker has written a lovely book for an age group often ignored.”
—Hawaii Reads

One Boy, No Water is a compelling debut young adult novel . . . [It] touches upon everything from Hawaiian mythology to island speak to local customs that are in danger of disappearing.”
—Kirby Wright, author of Punahou Blues and Moloka’i Niu Ahina.

“In One Boy, No Water, [Parker] has created an engaging, believable work of magical realism . . . One Boy, No Water is original, magic, true, funny, and hard to put down.”—Sue Cowing, award-winning author of You Will Call Me Drog and My Dog Has Flies: Poetry for Hawaii's Kids.
Book Two: One Shark, No Swim

The story: 

 There’s something bugging adopted Zader Westin, something more troubling than his water allergies where one drop on his skin burns like hot lava. It’s bigger than his new obsession with knives, designing the new murals for the pavilion with Mr. Halpert, or dealing with Char Siu’s Lauele Girlz scotch tape makeover. Zader can’t stop thinking about a dream, the dream that might not have been a dream where Lē‘ia called him brother then jumped into the ocean and turned into a shark.
Zader’s got a lot of questions, not the least being why he’s hungry all the time, restless at night, and why he feels a constant itch on the back of his neck. It’s making him feel like teri chicken on a pūpū platter, but Zader doesn’t want to think about chicken, not with his growing compulsion to slip it down his throat—raw.
With Jay busy at surf camp and Uncle Kahana pretending nothing’s happening, Zader’s left alone to figure things out, including why someone—something—is stalking him before it’s too late.
Summer in Lauele Town, Hawaii just got a little more interesting.

 Press Release

Hawaiian Author Returns to Swim with Sharks in Phenomenal Second Novel

PROVO, UT—Growing up is always difficult – but if you’re adopted, allergic to water, and have a strange connection with sharks, it’s downright problematic. Such is the life of Zader, the mysterious, lovable protagonist first introduced in the critically-acclaimed debut, One Boy, No Water.

Lehua Parker returns with One Shark, No Swim, the second installment in the Niuhi Shark Saga, offering fans a refreshing new tale with Zader and friends, and introducing new readers to an incredibly well-written juvenile series, whether they’ve read the first book or not.

On one hand, One Shark, No Swim is a solid, entertaining story with interesting characters and setting. On the other hand, this novel is a gateway into a place rarely discussed outside of its vacation resorts. Hawaiian culture is a wealth of myths and legends that, when mixed with reality by a skilled wordsmith, can become a sensation.

Enjoy the literary equivalent of a relaxing, yet exciting, vacation to Hawaii by cracking open One Shark, No Swim and losing yourself in the smoothly-crafted words.
For more information on the One Shark, No Swim and the Niuhi Shark Saga and to request a signing or interview with Lehua Parker, please contact Marissa Shields at

Connect with Lehua Parker
Blog & Free Short Stories:
All things Niuhi Shark Saga:
Twitter: @LehuaParker

Title: One Shark, No Swim
Author: Lehua Parker
Illustrator: Corey Egbert
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Trim: 5.5” x 8.5”
Pages: 280
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Pacific Lit
Region: US, CAN, UK, AU
Distributor: Ingram
Publication Date: September 21, 2013

Hardcover ($23.99):


Trade Paperback ($12.99):


Ebook ($5.99):

Available on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and bookstores near you.


CTW said...

I really enjoyed the fun interview. The books too look beautiful and sound great. Good luck to Lehua.

Lehua Parker said...

Mahalo, CTW!