Usually, snake years are full of being at home cleaning, building, planning, and getting things in order for what’s ahead. I’m actually born in a snake year, so it’s doubly significant for me. After the Lammy Awards. I’ve spent most of the year editing my first novel, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song). I am both excited and nervous about this book.
It’s set in Hilo, Hawaii, where much of my family is. It’s about hula and fishing and plate lunches with the chicken so good it can stop Creation in its tracks. It’s about bowling, and mosquitoes and having no fashion sense. It’s fake tan in a tube, newborn volcanoes , and drummers who can’t keep their mouth shut. It’s walking a bridge to another island, meeting your uncle, and realizing that some recipes are meant to be broken.
I have spent the best part of a decade with this manuscript, and I thank Tom Leger and Topside Signature Press for publishing it.
“Why Topside Signature?” you might ask.
Well, because, this novel is about my friends and family in Hawaii, and trans is not an up front issue. If any of my characters are trans, it’s not a big deal and not part of the story. They did not disclose this information to me, and I did not pry.
I don’t mean to say this to be coy. I don’t have time to wait for a world where trans is not a big deal. I want to write such a world right now. When trans is important, I will work it with all my skill, but when it’s not part of the story–well–I am trans and queer– but I think of Kazuo Ishiguro writing Remains of the Day. No overt Asian characters, yet the novel, and the disposition, are very much his own–in every way.
I can tell you that I felt this novel had to be written, and I have done everything I can to make it the best possible book for you.