#LeiCrimeKW Author Interview With AJ Llewelyn and Shawn McGuire


These authors return to the Lei Crime Kindle World to chat about writing and their new novellas.

Which Lei Crime characters are you drawn to, and why?

AJ: I love them all but I’ve written four books now—my Coffee and Kukui Nuts series—featuring Detective Abe Torufu and I love him! I’ve had so much fun creating a back story for him and developing him more and more. And I am tickled that Toby Neal, who created him in the first place liked the storyline I developed giving him a love interest with his captain, Cherry Joy Omura. She continued it in her own book!

Shawn: The women! Despite their dark pasts, they’re all so strong and self-assured. 

People say life can be stranger than fiction. Have you ever had an experience that you were able to include in a story?

AJ: All the time! I do a lot of research for my Lei Crime stories and sometimes things happen in my daily life that works for the story I am creating. For example, I was invited to a Tongan wedding and used much of it for Ti Leaves and Moon Cakes, book two in my Coffee and Kukui Nuts series. In my newest book, Bullets and Birthday Lūʻaus,  I use a lot of material I got from an actual birthday lūʻau I attended. People on the mainland have no clue how important a baby’s first birthday celebration is in the Hawaiian Islands.

Shawn: Kind of. My dad is a fisherman, has been his entire life. He used to talk about this “huge” Northern Pike that he would sometimes get on the line but could never land. He swore it was four or five feet long and had a red fishing lure stuck in its back. The fish became known as Big Red. He never did land that fish, but I wrote a story for him about a boy and his grandpa and the magical fish named Big Red. So, yes, I wrote a story based on life, but it was never published.

You have published other books for the Lei Crime Kindle World. What makes you continue writing for the series?

AJ: I love Abe and I enjoy the characters Toby created and the ones I developed and really can’t stop thinking about them. They are very real to me.

Shawn: At first, I thought this would just be a fun little side trip from my other writing. Oh, how wrong I was! Not only did I fall in love with hanging out in Lei’s world, I fell madly in love with writing mysteries. Of course, the unique character I created for it, Gemi Kittredge, keeps poking at me to come see what kind of trouble she’s gotten herself into.

If you were stuck on a desert island with characters from the Lei Crime World, who would they be, and why?

AJ: Abe, of course. Like I said, I love him.

Shawn: Lei and Michael, I think. They’d do anything to save each other, so I could tag along and be rescued. 😊  Gemi could come along, too, because who wouldn’t want to spend time with their own characters?

What are your favorite themes to explore in your stories?

AJ: Family, crime, murder, family, love, and food. Abe and I are both foodies.

Shawn: No matter how my books start, they end up exploring relationships: family, friendships, neighbors, etc. It’s always interesting to me to see what rises to the surface in an author’s writing.

Tell me about your new book.

AJ:  Bullets and Birthday Lūʻaus takes place after Bone Hook, Lei Crime 10. It’s time for a Baby Lūʻau in Maui. And not just any baby. Explosives expert, Detective Abe Torufu, and his lover, precinct Captain C. J. Omura are the proud godparents of Detective Gerry Bunuelos’ newly adopted daughter, Beatriz. Abe is already godfather to Gerry’s only other daughter, Ofélia, whom he adores, but his new duties seem to have inflamed C.J.’s desire for a family of her own. She’s suddenly obsessed with babysitting all seven little Bunueloses – when one is a handful and two are a nightmare. Is that her biological clock Abe hears ticking? Or something more sinister? Just as Abe and the gang prepare themselves for the all-important First Birthday Lūʻau, things run amok in paradise. Gerry’s new baby isn’t who she’s supposed to be. She might be stolen. That’s not all the pilfering going on. A cache of high-power military weapons has vanished from a Coast Guard facility near Abe’s home in Wailuku and his brother Kole, captain of the guard, is missing. Can Abe ever throw a party that goes right? As he, Gerry, and Lei Texeira hunt down clues and investigate what seems to be connected crimes, Abe’s lūʻau promises to be…explosive.

Shawn: My new book,  Over Her Head takes place after Dark Lava, book 7 in the Lei Crime series. When women go missing in Maui, the island’s newest rookie cop is on the job.One year ago, after rescuing her abducted sister, Gemi Kittredge turned in her college textbooks for a Maui County Police Department uniform. Now, the last thing Gemi expects is a phone call from her friend and mentor, Detective Lei Texeira. Young women are disappearing and they suspect the Yakuza are involved. Lei doesn’t have to ask twice if Gemi is willing to go undercover to find them; taking down the organized crime group is the reason Gemi became a cop, after all. But when Gemi ends up in the Yakuza’s clutches, she’ll need her entire arsenal—badge, instincts, and mixed martial arts training—to get everyone out safe.



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One of Her Own (1 winner), Out of Her League Quantity (1 winner), The Door – short story (2 winners), or a Bundle of AJ Llewelyn Swag (1 winner)



15 Responses to “#LeiCrimeKW Author Interview With AJ Llewelyn and Shawn McGuire”

  1. Sandie Keeble

    I’ve loved all of Shawn’s books (including this new one which I received an ARC of). I must admit that Gemi is the kind of person I wish I was! Resourceful and fit!! On the other hand AJ’s Abe novels has shown me not just a new character and side to C.J., but has allowed me to participate in family situations which, as a person living in the UK, I will never be fortunate enough to take part in. I loved the Tongan wedding for instance. Looking forward to getting old of AJ’s new title.

    • Shawn McGuire

      Thank you, Sandie. Such nice words. I wish I was more like Gemi, too. Of course, if it meant protecting my kids, I’d like to think my inner-Gemi would come out!

  2. Karin Stoil

    These books sound fascinating, I am so hooked on all characters in the Lei Crime Serious. So glad additional books came out for more stories on many of the characters. I have read a few and can’ t wait to read more.

  3. A.J. Llewellyn

    Thank you so much for having me back here Toby! I adore Shawn’s books and loved the story about Big Red! Thanks for stopping by everyone!

  4. Toby

    Love these answers ladies! I’m a fan of both of your series and can’t wait to read the stories!

  5. Joanie

    I can’t wait to read these new books!!! They are added to my to read list (which just keeps getting longer!!!)

    • Shawn McGuire

      Thank you, Joanie. Let us know if/when you read them. We always love hearing readers’ thoughts on our books!

  6. Catherine Ojalvo

    I find this interview so interesting.All of these authors have their own books in different genres.I think it is a testament to how good the Lei Crime series is,that authors want to continue to write about in different ways.Toby,you started it and many have followed(authors and fans).I have found some new books to be added to my want to read pile.😎

  7. Amy Hallmark

    Love the interviews ladies. LOL – I may be using you, AJ, for research for a first birthday for book 4 of Lana and Jared. Definitely have to read both these books.

  8. Carol Dotson

    So excited! It’s time to go shopping at the Amazon kindle store! I love these series!

  9. Erin

    I have yet to read a KW book, but I keep purchasing them and downloading the generously given free ones. I am excited about reading them, but as spoilers make me sad, I am terrified of reading them in the wrong order. LOL. So I’ll have to look for a listing of the KW’s in order so I can get to reading! <3

  10. Debbi Gonzales

    I’m just getting started on the books that the authors have branched off from the Lei series. I really like the ones I have read. This books sound like ones that I definitely need to read! Thanks so much Toby, for introducing us to these authors! I’d love to win some copies, the hubby said he’s going to have to put me on a budget for my book buying 😂

  11. Donamae

    Awesome interviews I can’t wait to read the books!

  12. BONNIE Thompson

    You all know what a fan I am of your books! I’ve really loved the stories about Gemi and Abe. They both fit in the Lei Crime Series so well…