Get the Lowdown on the Trinity Trilogy!

Interview: Hinemura Ellison and Ted D. Hughes

BD: Kia ora Ted, congratulations on releasing Scorpions In Stilettos your third and final story in your Trinity Trilogy series.  Well done.

T: Why thank you kind sir. It’s been a ride.

BD: I hear you and Mu are ‘hunkered up’ already composing the next series. But first things first. Couple of questions.

T: Sure, fire away

BD: So, naturally I have read the first two books Sharks With Lipstick and Snakes In Suits. Such great titles, how on earth did you come up with the names?

T: Well, you know how it is when you are in the zone as a writer you get all these characters shouting at you just wanting to be heard. And when you listen closely, you hear what a few of them have to say…

BD: I see, do go on…

T: Well Sharks With Lipstick actually is quite an apt name for all the folk, both female and male that we have met in our lives when working in the ‘corporate’ world. They are usually people who feel they have a lot of power, normally in managerial positions and they are so keen to get to the top, that they will trample on anyone who gets in their way. They are on a one-way mission and that is to reach the dizzying heights of the top rung of the corporate ladder and nothing and no-one will stop them.

BD: Hmm they sound like nasty ‘pieces of work’ if you excuse the pun.

T: Just this once! But seriously, believe me when I say, that while working in corporate or government whether I was on the high or low rung on the ladder, I always observed various ‘Sharks’. I’ve seen and heard from other colleagues and friends, that there seems to be an increasing number of ‘Sharks’ with ‘lipstick.’ But I don’t want to sound sexist so I will pass you over to Hinemura if you don’t mind.

BD: Mu, kia ora, thanks for joining us. How are you bearing up at this time of Covid-19? It’s a biggie isn’t it? Are you tucked away in your bubble?

H: Tēnā koe, we’re all good in our little bubble. I am loving the isolation actually it’s like being on an extended writers’ retreat at home! It’s given me plenty of time to get stuck into my blog.

BD: Congratulations on hitting the big ‘100 posts’ – a great milestone. So tell me what’s with this Sharks with Lipstick? Who are they? Do they really exist?

H: Oh yes they certainly do! Humans are multifaceted individuals and we females do get a bad wrap for being seen as complex and at times flighty and feisty. But wouldn’t the world be boring if we were one-dimensional all the time.

BD: Boring indeed!

H: We are much more exciting than that, being a bit of this and a bit of that. I believe we are all a product of our past. Some of the wounds are well hidden and some we have exposed and are now healing well. But the Shark With Lipstick in particular we refer to has not done herself any favours. She has gone out and humiliated just about everyone she has ever met. She is on a mission to destroy and ‘slice and dice’ as many people as she can in the work force, in the hope of impressing someone higher up the ladder.

BD: Hmm remind me to keep away from this sort! So the second title Snakes in Suits, how did that come about?

T: Well again another prominent profession out there is the property developer or the real estate agent. Now don’t get me wrong like in any profession you have the good guys, the bad guys and the in between guys. So I am not saying ALL property developers are shysters but the ones in this book are.

BD: They certainly sound like a bunch of crooks. Do they resemble anyone in real life? Sounds like you may have had a run in with one or two?

T: No, I haven’t personally but like you I read a lot of the long form journalism and talk to our journalist friends, as well as attending meetings and being of Maori descent I have been to a lot of tribal meetings and hui where land has been discussed. And at times it ain’t that pretty when certain characters and properties and agendas along with dodgy MO’s get exposed. So to answer your question although based on true stories, only similar threads are in our book.

H: I would like to add a bit here, it really is more about our imagination, although sometimes the characters talk to us and we can’t ignore them. It’s like someone or something out there wants their story to be told and if we are in the fortunate position of being the portal, that can write what they say, then that’s what we do.

T: And if we can have a laugh or two, along with a murder mystery interwoven here and there with true friendship that stands the test of the time… well then everyone is a winner.

BD: Don’t we all need real support, friendship and a sense of community right now and Freya in Snakes In Suits certainly portrays that. I love it and in a little sleepy seaside suburb near the big smoke of Wellington. I loved how a real sense of family and friendship and community came through in her story.

H: I think now with this Covid-19 that even the most unlikely people and strangers are being a lot more compassionate and kinder than ever. The vibes out there are really rising.

BD: So the title Scorpions In Stilettos, who wants to spill on that? Mu are you a Scorpion in Stilettos?

H: Hell no, and I never was ‘back in the day’. I do remember when I first lived in Wellington, stilettos were in fashion and I used to put them on when I left my flat and wobble all the way down the hill to the Newtown Zoo bus stop, hobble onto the bus and off again and by the time I got to my day job my feet were over it. No I don’t do stilettos and I am certainly not a Scorpion.

T: Ha, ha! Scorpions In Stilettos we just came up with that name over a drink or two one night, we had done Sharks, then Snakes and were trying to think of another word beginning with S, and came up with Scorpions. Then saw someone hobbling down the street like Mu used to and it hit us.

BD: And dare I ask where would I find a Scorpion In Stilettos? Do they really exist? Or just in your imagination?

H: They certainly do exist. They are usually a ‘Power House’ on wheels, they storm the corridors and meeting rooms of their offices. Can be passive aggressive, smiling sweetly to the powers that be and some are just plain 24/7 aggressive.

T: We humans all have flaws so sometimes what you see is not what you get, underneath. The third story is all about the third best friend Clara aka Flat White, and she appears to be a very strong determined career girl who ‘plays hard’ and ‘works hard’ and is perfect at everything she does. But you will find out that the façade is there for good reason and really underneath… something else entirely is going on. But I am not going to let the cat out of the bag.

BD: So speaking of ‘Cat’ the HR Director in Sharks With Lipstick. What does happen to her? I am intrigued. I thought the case had been solved in book one, but then it comes up again.

H: Well that would be telling, wouldn’t it? I guess you will just have to read the third and final book and all will be revealed. The love interests, the murder mystery…

BD: I find it ironic that you talk about a ‘natural disaster’ and how everyone rallies around together as a result in your trilogy. Exactly what is happening right now. Maybe everyone will start listening to Sven now and her words of wisdom about slowing down, really looking hard at how ‘busy’ you are, chill and be mindful. We all need a bit of that right now.

Well hearing how the three title names came about was really interesting. My partner read the first book and loved the humour so much she chose it for her forthcoming Book Club meeting.

H: That’s great feedback, I have put Book Club questions up on my blog https://hinemuramusings.wordpress.com/

so people can log in and use the questions for their own book club meetings. I have just done a post on it saying our book club is going ahead we are just doing them virtually at the moment. You see Sven was also ahead of her time pushing the ‘work from home’ policy as everyone is doing that now.

T: Yes bring it on, working from home… love it, in fact it is giving us time to conjure up the next series, the characters are already talking to us, in fact some of them are in Scorpions In Stilettos

BD: Now you have got me going! Well time is up, but it’s been great to speak with you two again and glad you are creating something positive out of this uncertain time here in ‘Lockdown’ Aotearoa.

Ka kite anō

Author Interview – Hinemura Ellison – on the sequel

Phone Interview from Castlepoint Lighthouse

BD: So Hinemura how’s tricks? How is the sequel to ‘Sharks With Lipstick’ coming along?

HE: Well, funny you should say that, my partner in crime Ted and I have been working really hard on the second book in the Trinity Trilogy Series and it’s getting close to being finished.

BD: Really, do go on? How much can you spill? I hope it’s more of the same characters. I did get quite addicted to the three besties. Are they back?

HE: Yes, Freya, Sven and Flat White are back in full force, along with some of the other characters, but the difference this time, is that this book focuses on Freya as the main character.

BD: Oh, so does Sven take a back seat for this one?

HE: Well yes and no. Freya comes into herself more in this book. We really don’t know much about her in ‘Sharks with Lipstick’… I know it is old coinage, but she finds herself in this one, and we go along for the rollercoaster ride.

BD: And can we ask what the title is of this next book?

HE: Well you can, but my publisher may shoot me.

BD: What you mean it’s even better than ‘Sharks with Lipstick’? Is that possible?

HE: Well yes. It’s a whole different ball game to get the series titles to fit in with each other, but we are bubbling with excitement.

BD: So, any clues?

HE: Well as you know ‘Sharks with Lipstick’ is predominantly about women. The next one is about men and their shady wheeling and dealing in the business world.

BD: Hmm how intriguing, so come on what’s the title?

HE: The sequel to ‘Sharks With Lipstick’ is, drum roll please… ‘Snakes In Suits’.

BD: Fantastic!

HE: We have also realised that we may need to change up the book covers, so I’ll get Ted to send them through once we have them back from the book cover artist. I just know that everyone will love the new covers and the juicy twisting plots as both ‘Sharks With Lipstick’ and ‘Snakes In Suits’ are set at the same time.

BD: Are you telling me that the plots of both books are intertwined?

HE: They sure are, and will also be tied into the third book, which we have started and which won’t be too far away.

BD: Wow, that’s a huge achievement! Congratulations, any hint on the third books title?

HE: You will have to talk to Ted about that, he’s still trying to decide over a couple of options.

BD: Great, well Hinemura thanks again for your time today and I look forward to talking with you and possibly the infamous Ted later.

HE: Ka kite…

A Day Out at the Beach…

Books on the Beach, the first of it’s kind held on a mildly windy summer’s day at Paraparaumu Beach and kindly initiated and organised by the Hunter sisters, Sharon and Toni, along with Sharon’s supporting architect husband Darren Hunter.

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We were there early on a Sunday morning, table, umbrella in hand plus our books merchandise and all the other paraphernalia that makes up setting up a market stall.

We had first heard about Books on the Beach while crossing over on the Inter-island ferry and finally all these months later the day had come and what a day, a bit equivalent to the usual inter-island crossing, a strong wind sweeping over the ocean and land.

We managed to keep our stand up for all of five minutes, just enough time to make one sale of our Science-Fiction genre to the local college and catch up with old friends.

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Our backs turned for a couple of seconds talking to other stand holders and unlike the Wahine she was over in seconds. One minute we were all sitting upright and the next we were down, blown down like a pack of cards. We took it as a sign it was time to pack up and leave while we were still ahead.

The flip side of abandoning ship so soon, gave us time to check out the fabulous section of fellow writers and talks and decided it was best to use our time supporting our fellow craftsmen and artists. A quick whizz around the weekend market and then upstairs to Club Vista for a much deserved and needed hot drink and scone to warm up our cockles after coming in looking very windswept and interesting. Club Vista did themselves proud by providing a warm and inviting venue for writers such as Mandy Hager who pulled in a full house into the small nook and cranny of the bar we were assigned to. Much better alternative than on the stage out in the elements. Mandy shared all her pearlers about the intense research and study she had undertaken to write her most recent of books. It was also good to share our own writing stories with a fellow Levin born and bred writer from back in the day.

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Between writers we checked out the local iwi doing a presentation and story telling session beneath a strong sturdy marquee.

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Then back inside in the warmth for Leanna aka Leanne Morgan another local writer and listen to her also share willingly her pearls of wisdom on how she had given up her full-time well-paid job at the local library to take up writing full time and what a success. A real inspiration and happy to share.

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More on Leanne has just appeared in the local Kapiti paper, summing up after achieving her dream of writing one book this led to many, many others being written and to great accolades and success. In fact, in her first year she made $54,000 followed by almost four times that much in the following year. Enough that she could entice her Fireman husband into her taking early retirement from the traditional kiwi office type job and take up writing full time.

Yes – dreams really do come true and all here on the Kapiti Coast!

Interview – Ted Hughes

Tēnā koe e hoa, welcome Ted and thank you for speaking with us. How has your collaboration been working with Hinemura on your latest project?

Fantastic! What an inspiring Wahine to work with. Her comedic talents and unique insights have been a revelation for me. I’m hugely excited with the whole Trinity Trilogy project and where it’s heading.

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What inspires you to write?

Hopefully what I write inspires other people to break free of the mundanity of their fragmented lives and that it brings a smile to their face and perhaps a new perspective and hope in this crazy world.

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

A romantic comedy is completely outside of my comfort zone so I find it a real challenge and the process involves uncovering different sides to my personality.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

Hugely important as to make fiction believable there has to be some basis in reality so that the reader can identify with the story line.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

IN my teens after reading some particularly poorly written novels and thinking surely I can do better than this.

How often do you write?

Spasmodically as I always find life throws a spanner in the works.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, computer or longhand?

Computers because my handwriting is so atrocious, I could never read it.

A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?

It depends on which author you meet. And in what social setting. The creative process can be so overwhelming that the social niceties are often overlooked.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

IN my opinion, NO. Their message is far more important and a good editor and proof reader can massage the best text to make it flow.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

I pay someone to do it as I don’t have time for the grammatical niceties. Maybe someday there will be an app for that.

What do you enjoy outside of writing?

My photography, the natural world, and reading a good damn book and listening to an eclectic range of music.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Starting. But once I get going, try and stop me. I find it hard to stop.

Have you ever left any of your books to stew for months on end or even a year?

Sometimes years on end. I have a number of unfinished works in progress.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

This is one of the crucial aspects of writing a book is coming up with a title that grabs your attention and a cover that captures the eye.

Do your novels carry a message?

Yes, they certainly do. Try not to take life so seriously, because ‘life is for living’ and don’t get too caught up in the detail.

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first collaborative novel?

So many times. Sometimes the conflict of ideas of how characters and plot lines progress within my own mind let alone someone else’s can leave you wondering how to pull the whole thing together. However, a bit of perspective, and the occasional bottle of bubbles can do wonders and to bring some humour back to the situation.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Yes, I’m very excited to be working with Hinemura on Book 2 and 3. My goodness Clara comes out of her shell!

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

Yes, often. That’s why I like the self-publishing route with a little help from the Bach Doctor Press.

Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, after attending a New Zealand Society of Author’s (NZSA) meeting at the beginning of the year and hearing Karyn Hay’s stories, ‘it’s self-publish or be damned’ meaning don’t wait for some overseas publisher to pick your novel up, get it out to the public and see what the true reading public really thinks.

Nga mihi nui, thank you for your time and good luck with your upcoming book launch.

Interview – Hinemura Ellison

Nau mai haere mai and welcome to the Bach Doctor Press Hinemura, it is a pleasure to have you join our fabulous team, especially working on your latest project with Ted Hughes. How has that been?

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the whole collaboration process. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many tantrums along the way – from both of us! But nothing that couldn’t be fixed with either a fresh pot of coffee or a cold bottle of bubbles.

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What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Sticking to the story in hand and not getting distracted by other characters and plot lines, or being overwhelmed of course by so called real life. The creative process can be all consuming.

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?

Of course, you put a lot of your heart and soul into a book, it becomes your baby and it matures and evolves as you flick through the pages. I am lucky I have a great co-writer who has the discipline and make up to diligently plan, prepare, and lay the story out and reveal the characters in a systematic, strategic, sensical way. While I just write, write and write some more and just let the creative juices flow.

Do your novels carry a message?

Yes, absolutely, to live a life worth living and as hard as it is, to not sweat the small things. Try to live in the now and do what makes your heart sing. Be true to yourself. Have lots of fun along the way, laugh a lot, love a lot and try not to take everything so god damn seriously, as you spend a longer time dead than living, so make the most of your time now.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of our readers?

Yes, we are now working on book two in the trilogy, each book is about one of the three friends and how they see the events unfolding through their lens, this one is about Sven, the next one is Clara and the third and final (for now!) is young Freya.

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

It is great escapism for those of us who get caught up in the fragments of everyday life, being pulled one way and dragged another while juggling a thousand balls at the same time. Whether it be their career, or boring job they rock up to every day to pay the mortgage, the rent, the holidays, to family commitments, to keeping up with the Jones’s and the such like.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

Very important, to keep the story real you can’t skip on the research, whether it be researching the location, the culture, the particular period, the people.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

No, I am definitely not one of those, grammar is not my strongest forte, hence getting in our fabulous proof readers to polish it up.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Any of the adventurous Enid Blyton series, particularly the Famous Five or the Secret Seven or even one of those fabulous school story books set in a variety of British based boarding schools for tear away girls.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictation, computer or longhand?

Oh the fountain pen, and typewriters now that’s a story in itself set back in a very faraway time, the days of mini skirts, typing pools, taking shorthand or dictation from some crusty, old randy boss who was always talking to your chest. I would have to say today’s digital age with computers makes everything so much easier, unless you have a dodgy second-hand computer like mine that keeps spitting the dummy every few days and just freezes.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was as little as five, my first day at school, I was so ensconced in the journals we used to read on the mat, to collecting a different Enid Blyton book each birthday and Christmas, I was determined back then that writing was the way to go.

What inspires you to write?

Any excuse not to have to sit in an office, churning out meaningless emails and pages of waffle with big flash words, and vision statements and plans that very rarely get implemented. No seriously, I love my own company, and writing at home or exploring somewhere different and all the various places and people just trigger off all sorts of stories.

How often do you write?

Not enough, as I am not very disciplined and I know you must take it seriously where you see it as a full time eight hour a day job, but I am yet to get into that daily routine, but I am getting there.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Very, very important. I am a visual person and I choose a book based on how pretty the cover is and the title, it must be something that grabs me – something I just MUST have.

Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?

Stick at it, keep going. If it feels so right, it must be the right path to be following, the right choice to make.

Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?

Absolutely, my partner in crime, Ted. When we get together, or on the phone, we bounce ideas, characters and plots off each other all the time.

Thanks again for joining us and for your time today Hinemura, we wish you all the success for your upcoming release. Which is…

Oh, behave! Not long now to wait, we are just putting the final touches together now, the title coming in the next couple of days.

Aroha mai, we wait with baited breath, tēnā rawa atu koe, thank you very much for your time.