Mystery author Rita D’Orazio is helping me kick off a new week. We’re chatting about her new mystery romance with paranormal elements, Legend of the Coco Palms Resort.
Being raised by two immigrant parents has allowed me to open my eyes to many different cultures. When I travel, which my husband and I love to do, I always tend to immerse myself with the local people‑it’s the beauty of travel. I’m the youngest of three siblings and the only one born in Canada. I have a great passion for cooking, which I love to share with family and friends. As far as sports, I’d have to say that summer recreational actives outweigh the winter for me.
Welcome, Rita. Please tell us about your current release.
My current book is a fictional story about the one time lavish and popular Coco Palms Resort in Kauai, Hawaii. The story revolves around the fact that the resort was struck down by Hurricane Iniki back in 1992 and was never rebuilt. It has sat dormant for what will soon be 25 years. Also, knowing that the land was once home to Kauaiian royalty, the body of the last reigning queen has never been found. I felt that I wanted to bring the resort and the queen to life for the older generation, that remember it, and also to bring awareness to the younger generation who haven’t heard about it. The book depicts a heart-warming story of the Kauaiian people and what the coconut grove, where the Coco Palms lays dormant means to them. It’s a story about love, romance, mystery, and a sense of loyalty.
What inspired you to write this book?
Let’s just say a gentleman I met two years ago, who doesn’t quite know I exist. A chance encounter with him had gnawed away at me until I started to tap my keyboard.
Excerpt from Legend of the Coco Palms Resort:
Mike was starting to get choked up. It took him a few seconds to gather his thoughts and composure. “First of all, I want to say that I don’t expect forgiveness for the things
I’ve done. What I do want is for you to have an open mind. We are all `ohana here as the queen stated. And as a family, we need one another more than ever before.”
“Mike, I can only speak for myself. No matter what you tell me, I promise I’ll be objective,” said Kanoa.
“I appreciate it, son, but maybe you should hear me out first.”
Mike started to pace back and forth. “I’m going to go back a few years here. You see, in the late ’60s, I would frequent this very property we are standing on. One could say that I was a regular. I got to know the owners and the management team, which was made up of Genie and Gerry. I was particularly fond of Genie. We became instant friends.
“Anyhow, when Genie and Gerry decided to retire, Genie asked to meet with me privately. I thought she was going to tell me she was ill. Rather, she had something to
give me. I went up to a private room, which no one ever used and Genie produced an ornate box. The box was for me. When I asked Genie what was in it, she said she didn’t know. She was just the messenger. I questioned her over and over about where she got it, but Genie was embarrassed to tell me the truth. She feared that I’d think she was lōlō. Well, she’d have been right. I thought she had early signs of senility by the way she was behaving. She told me that once I opened the box, I’d have all my questions answered. She begged me to never tell her about the contents. Genie was told that her life would be in danger if she found out about the contents. Upon opening the box, I knew it was from Queen Deborah.”
“Queen Deborah died in 1853. This is preposterous. Come on Mike,” said Kanoa. “Are we back to this again?”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I may continue doing a series revolving around Legend of the Coco Palms or another family saga like my other novel Driving in Circles—both are at the swirling in my mind stage.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d have to say the moment that my fingers first started to tap out paragraph after paragraph, which was about four years ago. My life had come to yet another new phase. My girls were up and gone, both my parents had passed away—leaving quite a big space in my heart. After decades of getting up and rushing to the rat race, which was the corporate world, it no longer made me happy. I knew then that it was time to leave it behind and pursue what filled my heart up with joy everyday my eyes opened. Of course, I owe a big part of that transformation to my husband. I think he recognized it in me before I admitted it to myself.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m a very early riser. I get up at 5:15 every day, feed my cats and make myself a cup of coffee. I love the first hour of my day where I am alone with my thoughts. Then it’s seeing my husband off to work and I sit in my home office and write. I’m definitely a morning person. After hours of writing I try and fit a workout in. It always helps rejuvenate the brain. Saying that, my mornings are pretty much routine up until noon, and some days I will continue into the supper hours, but nothing is routine for me in the afternoon. I try not to beat myself up about how many hours I put in. I go by how productive I am feeling and if some days I’m not there I don’t waste it by staring blankly at my screen. I’d rather be out doing something and feeling refreshed.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Never fully satisfied until I can feel the emotion behind every one of my characters.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be so many different things that I don’t even know where to start. My very first career was to be a nun. Definitely not because of any religious connotations, I liked their outfits. What can I say I was a child of the 60s. I was always told I had a bit of a wild imagination.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
For those of you who want to take a virtual tour of Kauai, please do read Legend of the Coco Palms Resort. I promise it will transport you to paradise and you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for being here today, Rita!