Sara Malia Hatfield reads the Lei Crime Series audiobooks: enter to win!


Thrilled to introduce a Hawaii girl born and raised, voice actress Sara Malia Hatfield reading the Lei Crime Series audiobook (s)!


Sara Malia Hatfield

Sara Malia Hatfield

The journey to bring my books to audiobook form has been a long and winding road. When Audible bought the rights to produce my books, I presented them with non-negotiable requests: 1) a female voice talent with a great range 2) someone who could pronounce pidgin and Hawaiian words flawlessly, adding to readers' enjoyment of the story.

Once I heard Sara's sexy, uniquely Hawaii voice, I was thrilled when she made the commitment to read all my books! Sara fell in love with Lei and my stories, and I in love with her reading of them. We were both able to eventually  bring this perfect pairing to Audible for production.

To introduce her to my readers, I asked her to answer some questions on the blog.

Q: When did you realize you could do voice acting?

A: Actually, I honestly don't recall a moment of realization. It  sort of happened over the years and I couldn't be happier.  It's likely a culmination of  entertaining myself as a child, whether it be bringing my stuffed animals to life or playing with puppets, doing voice acting favors for small businesses, and later as a working actor being presented with voice acting opportunities along the way. When I relocated from Hawaii to New York City, a friend suggested I look into voiceovers. I never seriously pursued it, but I did set out to get quality training, and got a voice over demo produced so that I would be prepared should such opportunities arrive, and thankfully, they did. Of all my opportunities, the Lei Crime series is the most personally fulfilling and creatively challenging project to date and I'm ever so grateful.

Q: What do you like about the Lei Crime Series?

A: Truly, as an actor what's not to like!  The sheer fact that my ethnicity, gender, age, physical characteristics, etc. don’t severely limit my creative expression or opportunities is such a blessing. Freeing me from those limitations, allowing me to play and offer up a full spectrum of my imagination, and challenging me as an actor is such a gift. The tough part is meeting deadlines, as the creative process can be a never-ending exploration that at some point or another must be shared.

Sara Malia was always a performer!

Sara Malia was always a performer!

Q: What have people said about your voice acting work?

A: Being that I am born and raised in Hawaii with a slight local sound and am on the spunky side, my voice acting work typically shocks those who know me well, especially my warmer tone. I often get “Is that really you?” or “That's cool. You sound great!”  Industry folks expect quality, so I do my best to deliver by taking on projects that fit me and simply offering my best in any given moment.  My favorite response has to be from my uncle, who gives complements on rare occasion, so it's particularly special. That, and he grew up listening to the radio as a child, listening to stories unfold, anxious to hear the next adventure.  He asked to my mom “That's Sara? Nah, really?” That's the kind of comment that makes you want to hear more. To know that my work had brought him back to those fond childhood days, where his imagination was ignited with vivid adventures, brought me great joy.

Q: What intrigued you about the Lei Crime Series?

A: Lei.  Her beautifully flawed character and her ever-changing journey intrigued me. The variety of characters, their relationships, the twists and turns, excited my imagination. The setting of Hawaii brought me home, and gave my imagination an opportunity to utilize personal experiences throughout my many years on the islands. And Toby's writing, it's rhythm and seamless painting of pictures, provides a variety of creative colors and textures to experience.  Her work took me beyond words on a page and beyond moving pictures…it brought my senses to life and shared a glimpse of Hawaii that is more complex and interesting than often depicted or experienced.

Q: Was there a character in which you identified?

A: Without hesitation, Lei.   Beyond her Hawaiian background and mixed race ethnicity, her inner strength, vulnerability, tomboy nature, love of animals, passion, quick wit, and instincts are easy to identify with. Personally, I have not had to endure as challenging a past as Lei, but I can sympathize and have been exposed to those challenges that so many victims face. I'm sure Toby's work speaks to many women like myself, and I am honored to be able to contribute to such a strong and beautiful heroine, one who isn't dependent on being saved, but rather strives to fight a good fight, and save herself.

Thanks so much for joining us, Sara, and for bringing Lei and the cast and characters of my books to life! I've loved everything I've listened to so far. You've brought the books vividly to life beyond my expectations.  So far, Somewhere on Maui, Stolen in Paradise, Blood Orchids, Torch Ginger and Black Jasmine are ready for purchase in the Audible store!


“Sara's smooth, sexy, authentic Hawaii sound brings the Lei Crime Series to life in an unforgettable series!” Tony M, Reviewer

Listen to a sample of Blood Orchids here:


47 Responses to “Sara Malia Hatfield reads the Lei Crime Series audiobooks: enter to win!”

  1. Dava Van Brunt

    Blood Orchids got me started in the reading of the Lei Crime Series and falling in love with Toby Neal’s style of writing and all her books! ♡♡♡

  2. Wendy Negron

    I bought Blood Orchids on Audio and going to listen to it tomorrow on my way to Vegas! I can’t wait. And it was so great meeting you Toby, in La Jolla!

    • Toby

      Thanks for the support, and it was WoNDERfUL meeting you as well! Unforgettable!

  3. Shalora

    It’s so exciting to have your books in audio book format too! Sara sounds wonderful and I cannot *wait* to hear her work! 🙂

  4. Diane Tosney

    Sounds great. Sara ‘ s pidgin sounds much better than it does in my head when I am reading it.

  5. Ken Sexton

    Except for lack of frizzy hair, Sara is pretty close to what I imagined Lei to look like. I’m flying on a business trip early next week, so I plan to buy it for that trip. Looking forward to Sara bringing another dimension of Lei to life for me. Keep up the good work, Toby. We’ll be on Maui for Whale Tales again, so hope to see you again, if you can take a morning away from writing. How about incorporating a whale researcher into a future book?

  6. JL Oakley

    I’ve been excited about Lei since the very first book. Having lived in Hawaii for several years, I have always searched for books and movies that sounded true to the wonderful people I called my friends on Oahu where I went to school and on the Big Island. Toby’s very first book set in Hilo brought my memories of living there back to life. I’m excited to listen to the first in series and glad Toby stood her ground in requiring a narrator who spoke Hawaiian words and pidgin. Can’t wait. Mahola nui loa, Sarah, for making Toby’s dreams come true.

  7. Linda Ballou

    Fantastic Toby. Really a great fit for your work. I have a narrator working on Wai-nani. Hope to have it in audio in the beginning of next year.

    • Toby Neal

      That will be wonderful, your book reads like chant so I imagine the right voice bringing it to life is essential!

  8. Linda Cumberledge

    I was first attracted to Toby’s books by their vibrant cover colors! The pictures are fantistic. I fell in love with Lei and Keiki. The characters in these books are all like old friends. A few enemies too. I am looking forward to hearing Sarah read all the books. It is very exciting to see the books come alive. I can hardly wait until I have all of the books in audio. Thanks so much to Tobie and Sarah for bringing these wonderful books to life for all of us

  9. Heidi Fountain

    I am only on the 2nd book of this wonderful journey I am calling the Lei Crime series. I look forward to more and would love a chance to hear Ms Malia’s voice.

  10. Jo Ann Reinhold

    I always find new books by just browsing on my Kindle. I found BLOOD ORCHIDS and it sounded like just what I was looking for…boy did I get hooked! I love the characters,the writing style! Although some times the words are hard for me to pronounce (but no one knows how bad I am mangling them in my head so it’s OK) the setting descriptions are amazing!

  11. tom

    I am “hearing impaired” so an audio book is noy much value to me. However, I have read several of the Lei Crime novels and I am looking forward to reading several more.

  12. Nancy Adkins

    I can not wait to hear Lei speak. I love the series and after reading them all (twice) It will be fun to be able to hear these books spoken!! A quick trip home to Hawaii.

  13. Karen Strickholm

    Wow, such a lovely, rich voice! I’ve read the whole series published so far. Now listening to the sample clip, I know I will have to listen to them again on Audible. Thanks for keeping the integrity in on your books, by selecting a great reader. I love the writing, it is so authentic — place, characters, storylines — and of course, great storytelling!

    • Toby Neal

      Her pidgin and Hawaiian are so perfect, I couldn’t do it nearly as well! They sent me codes for promo but I was so eager to listen I bought it the minute it came out, and it’s been so long since I was in Blood Orchids, I feel like its completely new and someone else wrote it. So fun!

  14. Sue Devers

    Very good casting for the voice–just what I pictured–oops–heard in my head!

  15. Jeanie Nickelson

    I’ve loved reading your books ( just finished Dark Lava), so now I think I need to listen to them! I’d love to win one to get me started 🙂

  16. Joyce Warner-Manina

    I love books. I was hoping that they would be coming out in audio versions.

  17. River

    I love the series and Orchid is the first one I found. I would really enjoy hearing it. It’s the next best thing to seeing it on the silver screen. 🙂

  18. Marina Bonomi

    Wonderful news! Win or not I’m going to check the audiobook(s) out. 🙂

    • Toby

      Marina, thanks so much for the comment and support! Will let everyone know after Saturday 22 when the contest ends.

  19. Allen G.

    Love the series and how Sara has brought a different life to the books in the samples. Read the first six already, but depending on how much time I have, may just wait for the remaining book(s) in audiobook format so Sara can read them to me 😀

  20. Wendy R

    Dang. Now I need to figure out how to use one of my devices to get these and listen to them. It sounds magical!

  21. Tracy Jillard

    I love Toby Neal’s books. It would be great to have her audio book to take me to Hawaii while doing my physical therapy.

    • Toby

      Tracy, I am posting on 11/26/14 to tell you you won the code! Will send it to you on email. ENJOY!!

  22. Wayne Jacobs

    Excellent choice of Sara doing the voice reading. I listened to the sample of Blood Orchids and it is excellent. I remember working with local’s when I was stationed on Ohau back in the early 70’s and the pidgin she used brought these days back to me. I hope to obtain the entire set when they all become available. Thank for your excellent authorship and hope that you always continue to have success with Lei.

    • Toby

      thank you Wayne, suppor like yours keeps me writing! Sara’s voice really is extraordinary.

  23. Sandy Hetzler

    Hawaii (any island!) is our favorite vacation spot! Naturally, as a a member of BookBub, I jumped at the opportunity to download “Shattered Palms” when it was offered. I was not disappointed! Only after getting into the book did I realize there was a whole series, so after reading this book, I had to start at the beginning and couldn’t stop reading until I’d read them all! I really enjoy relating to different places mentioned in the books and reminiscing about our visits there. I love the story lines and the characters. I usually read a book in a matter of days because it’s hard to put it down! I hope this series continues for a long time! Thanks!

    • Toby

      How wonderful to hear from you, Sandy!!
      I’m writing hard on more in the series and some new directions, too. Aloha and thanks for saying hi!