Amy Shojai returns to the Lei Crime Kindle World and discusses her latest novella and the writing life.
Which Lei Crime characters are you drawn to, and why?
Keiki, of course! I love dogs. Also, since in my “other” life, I’m an animal behavior consultant with an expertise in dogs (and cats), a Rottweiler police dog character with her own viewpoint chapters was the perfect choice for me.
People say life can be stranger than fiction. Have you ever had an experience that you were able to include in a story?
I routinely include personal experience in my fiction work. A freak North Texas blizzard took place here several years ago and became the backdrop for Lost and Found, the first book in my pet-centric thriller series. The sequel Hide and Seek, was inspired when my own dog found a sick raccoon during a North Texas distemper epidemic (scary stuff!) and yes, my dog is fine. And I based the third book Show and Tell, and also my first Lei Crime Kindle World novella Born to Love on floods that devastated parts of our city a few years later.
You have published two books for the Lei Crime Kindle World. What makes you continue writing for the series?
I fell in love with the adult Keiki in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series and was intrigued by the challenge to write her backstory. How did she become a police dog (Rotties aren’t typically chosen); when did Lei meet her? So when Toby reached out, I planned to answer these questions in a trilogy. Born To Love was the first. Now in Trained to Serve, Keiki is 10 months old and still in training—and she meets Lei Texeira for the first time. Hopefully, the third Keiki novella will tie up loose ends to show how Lei found her heart-dog and got Keiki to Hawaii (another challenge!).
If you were stuck on a desert island with characters from the Lei Crime World, who would they be, and why?
I’d want to be stuck with Lei and Keiki. They both kick ass-ets when necessary and…well, heh…DOG. Hello?!
What are your favorite themes to explore in your stories?
Most of my main characters are estranged from family and haunted by their past. The theme probably is that “chosen family” can be as important, or more important than those we’re born into.
My character September Day in my thriller series is an animal behaviorist and trainer who suffers from PTSD and partners with a service dog. She’s trying to escape and forget her past. Lia Corazon in my Keiki & Lia Thriller for Lei Crime Kindle World also is estranged from family but trying to discover her missing past. She’s more worried about Keiki developing PTSD. I find it interesting that Lei Texeira also suffers from PTSD and happens to be partnered with a Rottie, one of the breeds that bonds very closely with human partners and so could help her with that.
Also interesting to note—I have a wonderful loving and supportive family so I don’t know where this fascination with dysfunctional families and mysterious past came from.
When a training exercise takes a deadly turn, Lia sends Keiki to protect a young girl…but who will protect Lia?
CONNECT WTH AMY