On the Pineapple Express is a high-action romantic suspense story about a young NSA research scientist, Jennifer Akihara, who accidentally intercepts an encrypted cell phone conversation at a remote research facility. When she decrypts the call, she believes that a human-trafficking syndicate is selling young girls into slavery of the worst sort. But lacking sufficient evidence to engage the FBI, she persuades her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help her locate the traffickers somewhere in the vast 3,600 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula.
With the clock ticking toward the sale of a group of girls, a deadly 100-year storm bearing down on them, and heavily armed criminals in pursuit, will beautiful, young looking Jennifer survive the bullets and the elements to see her wedding day or will she be sold with the girls she wanted to rescue?
What inspired you to write this particular story?
A neighbor invited my wife and me to an awareness meeting about human trafficking in our area. Several groups of people ranging from an internationally known expert to local law enforcement officers were present. The statistics we heard horrified us, statistics that cannot be directly obtained from police records because so many kids are reported as runaways, children whose parents know would never run away. In one county in our state several hundred young girls disappeared in a single year. The lives these kids are forced into are terrifying to contemplate. At the time we attended the meeting I was planning the second novel in my Pure Genius Series. I quickly outlined a plot built around the discovery of a trafficking operation on the Washington coast and On the Pineapple Express was born.
It’s a horrifying reality, that I’ve read about a lot lately. Thanks for addressing this very real atrocity. How many books have you written?
Currently, I’m polishing my seventh novel and planning my eighth. My first four books, the Pure Genius Series, are all contracted, complete, and released or scheduled for release from Harbourlight Books, Pelican Book Group. I’ve also self-published my childhood adventure stories, a non-fiction memoir for family and friends. I’ve also contributed to a collaborative devotional book written by several of the Pelican Book Group authors, Red: A Weekly Devotional, which released this past January.
When did you start writing, and when was your first book published?
I’ve written professionally since 1976, but back then I was a research scientist, so my writing consisted of scientific books, reports, and journal articles. Not until my wife and I retired did I start writing fiction. I started my first novel, Hide and Seek, in 2010. It was released by Pelican Book Group in early 2013.
Do you have a favorite character in your book and why?
So far the heroine of the first 3 stories in the Pure Genius Series, Jennifer Akihara, is my favorite. This brilliant (IQ 200), Japanese-Hawaiian beauty, with a temper that runs near the boiling point and an inability to forgive, is fun to watch develop as a character. When she meets the hero, Lee, in book 1, Hide and Seek, her bad character traits sometimes overshadow her good qualities. But when the second story, On the Pineapple Express, begins, Jennifer has been a Christian for 7 1/2 months. What a change! Her courage, faith, selflessness, and a big heart that never quits, even in the face of her worst fears, will win over any doubters. When a savage storm and human traffickers with automatic weapons turn the outer Olympic Peninsula into a war zone, Jennifer is the one person I would want on my side. Opposing her is like playing a chess match at quad-speed fast forward. One miscue, physical or mental, and you’re in checkmate. Book 3, Moon over Maalaea Bay, set in Maui, takes Jennifer back to the Islands where she lived as a child, but places her in more danger than she has ever faced.
H.L. has offered to give away a copy of either Hide and Seek (the first book in the series) or On the Pineapple Express to one lucky commenter. Please leave him a comment to be entered.
Drawing Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 3/2/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 3/3/14 and have until 3/9/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.
H. L. Wegley served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who worked as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, where he published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever he gets a chance, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published a non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the ’50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.