It was early in the pandemic and I really wanted to go somewhere on vacation. Anywhere. So we talked about where we’d like to go. Hawaii came up high on the list—probably because it was winter but also because it’s Hawaii, duh. But, like millions of people in the US and around the world, I’ve got a compromised immune system so, even with the Covid vaccine, it’s not safe for me to be around people who might have Covid.

That didn’t stop me from daydreaming about vacations. After all, my main character’s tendency to daydream had to come from somewhere. So, I started looking into Hawaii.

Of course, that led me to re-watch Jurassic Park, Waterworld, and Tropic Thunder. Fed up with my movie choices, my wife then decided to take matters into her own hands. She found that 50 First Dates and 6 Days, 7 Nights were filmed in Hawaii so rom-com was on the agenda for a few nights. Digging deeper, I was surprised to learn that the Peruvian jungle scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark were actually filmed in Hawaii. Even more bizarre, the tropical scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides were actually filmed in Hawaii rather than the Caribbean.

Disappointed by this fakery, I returned to TV and re-watched some early episodes of Magnum P.I. While Tom Selleck was Tom Selleck, I was again surprised to learn that they had re-made this show in 2018. Although the new Ferrari was cool, the remake didn’t measure up—because no Tom Selleck. Wondering if this same pitfall had hit Hawaii Five-0, I watched the original episode from 1968. It was slow, sexist, and boring. Curious, we tried the re-make from 2010 because that had lasted for ten seasons. We liked it, even if the plot holes were often big and each episode miraculously managed to reach its conclusion in an almost identical forty-three minutes of action.

Now that I had the inspiration for the location, the key missing piece was the title. Yes, I’m one of those strange authors who likes to come up with a clever title and then write to the title. HUH? WHY? AND PUNCH came up fairly quickly during the brainstorming session and had the added advantages of matching my other titles with a pun and the word “and” in the middle. Plus, it makes me chuckle whenever I see it.

Sprinkle in some references to the game of Clue, some ideas from HGTV shows, and my own initial confusion between the Kool-Aid and Hawaiian Punch commercials, and I was all set.

I still haven’t had the chance to go to Hawaii since Covid started, but at least I’ve read about a bunch of fun places to visit there and watched a lot of entertaining (and boring) shows featuring Hawaii’s spectacular scenery.

Plus, I completed HUH? WHY? AND PUNCH and am proud of how I added some new wrinkles into Marty’s life, added more character growth, and managed to find even more puns, idioms, and quirky characters.

I’m only sad that I can’t claim credit for this line from the book description: “Can Marty hula his way to the real culprit before he’s lei’d to rest?”

HUH? WHY? AND PUNCH is available at: getbook.at/HawaiianPunch.