Happy Book Birthday: A Character Interview

Interview with Adam Kāne and Alexandra James from…

The Letters She Left Behind


May 6, 2019

New romantic suspense book by CL Walters available May 7, 2019

New romantic suspense book by CL Walters available May 7, 2019


Tomorrow is the book birthday for my new adult romantic suspense The Letters She Left Behind. In celebration, I thought I would commemorate the event with an interview of the main characters, Adam Kāne and Dr. Alex James.  Born on the page in 2004, these characters have waited patiently for this author to rediscover them in 2019.

Some context for your reader imaginations:

Adam Kāne is a successful Hawaii business man at 47. He’s hard working, and loves his children. He misses his late wife and is in the late stages of grief at the opening of this story; he’s complex and definitely not perfect. Of course, he’s perfectly handsome - a gorgeous Hawaiian man (does Hugh Jackman with Hawaiian features help to picture him?).

Alex James - Adam’s counterpart - is an independent and smart woman. A forty-six year old college professor who’s bread and butter is Women’s Studies, she’s bright. But she also a fallible human woman who has secretly loved Adam for her entire adult life. She’s a beautiful, engaging, loyal, and funny. When I think of Alex - the beautiful Lauren Graham comes to mind.

So now, fifteen years after their creation … without further ado:  

Welcome, Adam and Alex. I know that living in my head has probably been a bit stifling. Was it worth the wait?

Adam: Definitely. I’m a patient guy.

Alex: Sure, though it’s difficult sitting around and waiting for you to get your act together.

Hahaha! Wow. Okay. Why do I feel like there’s more in those answers than meets the eye.

Alex: I’m not one for being passive aggressive, CL, but you did write the story. You know.

Adam: (chuckles and shakes his head): Patience is a virtue. So is biting one’s tongue when necessary.

Moving on then. Without giving any spoilers, what do you like best about your story?

Alex:  Megan. While she doesn’t make a huge appearance in the story, her part in the journey is equally important to the entire narrative on so many levels. I love that about her starring role. The way it all comes together.

Adam: Me too. I also like how there is the sense of time. The way life works sometimes to bend and twist in order to get you where you need to go when the timing is just right. It’s like as much as you might want something right now, it isn’t the right time for it.

Kind of like this story. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote it, I was in my late twenties - early thirties and here I was writing about grief and second chances. Perhaps I needed additional time and world view to draw the story together. On another note, there’s this point in the narrative when both of you see yourself - or the truth of who you are - outside of the fear. Can you comment on how that moment or moments like that are impactful.

Adam: I know exactly the moment you’re referencing, though I would say I had more than one of these sort of ah ha moments. It’s like that one step forward, two steps back paradigm. A person discovers a truth about themselves. Moves forward and then regresses until another discovery occurs. I think most times, for me anyway, those self-discoveries or facing those honest truths can be painful, which is why we regress.

Alex: I think so too, which is why sometimes we don’t face them. It’s easier just to stay in one place because the threat of change might be more than we can accept.  I know that for my part in the story, this fear of things being different was paralyzing.

I love that scene - when you walk into the ocean, Alex. It was pivotal for your character.

Alex: Yes. Truly makes the difference in the overall movement of my journey.

What about you, Adam? Is there a pivotal scene for your character?

Adam: There are a few, but I don’t want to give anything away by sharing them. I can say at the beginning of the story, I’ve been in a tailspin of grief for nearly a year. I’m raw at the opening, at the precipice of either burying myself in it completely, or doing something different. Megan’s journals were pivotal for me. Without them - well, there wouldn’t be a story.

Let’s talk a little bit about place and culture. As a Hawaiian, Adam, do you think your ethnicity is relevant to the story?

Adam: Not so much. I think I represent a Hawaiian male, but I don’t necessarily embody the cultural values of being Hawaiian, if that makes sense. In all fairness, I would add that who I am is on the edge of understanding my own Hawaiian identity. With the loss of language and culture, how does one rediscover those losses when you’re disconnected from them?

Alex: Do you think that lack of culture then misrepresents you in the story?

Adam: No. I feel like it accurately represents that it is a missing piece in my life, but more could be done to explore that. Maybe not in this story, but perhaps in others. But I think place is explored and the usage of  ʻOlelo Hawaii vocabulary which add depth to an understanding that Hawaii is more than a tourist destination.

Funny you mention stories to explore that. I’m working on a story for Trey. I don’t know if it will be a short story or longer - beginning stages - but that idea of cultural rediscovery is a theme I’m noticing as I work on it. Speaking of secondary characters, who do you think will be a fan favorite?

Adam: The kids.

Alex: The kids.

Neither of you are partial… Why the kids?

Alex: Each of them are unique and bring a whole different dimension to the story. Without them, I think the story wouldn’t be as layered.

Adam: I agree. I’d like to see them all with their own stories.

What are you hoping happens with your story?

Alex: I hope that a reader can close the book and feel like “Wow, I don’t need to worry about that thing anymore.” I think it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of our lives and forget the big picture, the what’s really important.

Adam: That! Yes. And to remember that life is a journey. It doesn’t stop. It moves forward and we move along the timeline with it. Sometimes we’re blindsided, sometimes we’re broken, but always the timeline continues. Something else I hope people remember - we can’t live it alone. Along the way, we need those special people to share it with in some capacity.

Thank you for hanging out in my head for a bit. Happy Book Birthday tomorrow to The Letter She Left Behind!

Order here.

Book Mash-Up Fun

You know how on Glee, they would mash-up songs to create a new song. Well, I was thinking about my books and wondered if they were a mash-up of books, what would their mash-up be?

Here are my book mash ups . . .

Swimming Sideways would be:

Have you read any of these books?

The first is Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride (2009). It’s about a girl who’s struggling with perfectionism and the divorce of her parents. A good read for anyone interested . . .And Dessen is coming out with a new book this year, I think.

The second is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book is about Melinda who starts her freshman year an outcast because of calling the cops at the end of summer party. There’s more than meets the eye, however. THIS is one of my FAVORITE YA novels of all time. And Laurie Halse Andrerson just published a book TODAY called SHOUT.

Whalerider by Witi Ihimaera is a beautiful story that explores a Maori girl facing the struggle between the patriarchal stance of the old world tradition her grandfather holds and the ushering in of a new era of cultural strength with the beauty of the youth. It is so beautifully written and grapples with themes of culture, gender and identity.

John Green’s Looking for Alaska (which is being adapted into a Hulu show) is a book that explores not only personal identity but what it truly means to live which I also explored recently on my IG for my review on Five Feet Apart.


The Ugly Truth would be

Gayle Foreman’s If I Stay forces a young woman caught in between life and death to examine her reasons for living as she determines if she should live or not after a fatal car accident carrying her and her family through the Oregon countryside.

The Lovely Bones of Alice Sebold is the unflinching revelation of a teen girl’s murder, and its aftermath on the family left behind told through the lenses of the murdered girl.

It might be a bit obvious that I am an admirer of Laurie Halse Anderson’s work. Twisted is her novel about a young man struggling not only with his own identity as a young man, but with his father ideas (and struggles) related to manhood.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson is the story of a young man named Cole who’s dealing with a lot of anger. After perpetrating a horrific crime against another young man - nearly killing him - Cole is offered the opportunity to face his punishment through Native American Circle Justice. What he doesn’t realize, however when he accepts this challenge instead of prison, is just how much it will change him.

What do you think? What would your mash-up for Swimming Sideways and/or The Ugly Truth be? Comment below.

rss Block
Select a Blog Page to create an RSS feed link. Learn more