Interview with mystery author Rita D’Orazio

Mystery author Rita D’Orazio is helping me kick
off a new week. We’re chatting about her new mystery romance with paranormal
elements, Legend of the Coco Palms Resort.
Being raised by two
immigrant parents has allowed me to open my eyes to many different cultures.
When I travel, which my husband and I love to do, I always tend to immerse
myself with the local people‑it’s the beauty of travel. I’m the youngest of
three siblings and the only one born in Canada. I have a great passion for
cooking, which I love to share with family and friends. As far as sports, I’d
have to say that summer recreational actives outweigh the winter for me.
Welcome, Rita. Please tell us about your current
My current book is a
fictional story about the one time lavish and popular Coco Palms Resort in
Kauai, Hawaii. The story revolves around the fact that the resort was struck
down by Hurricane Iniki back in 1992 and was never rebuilt. It has sat dormant
for what will soon be 25 years. Also, knowing that the land was once home to
Kauaiian royalty, the body of the last reigning queen has never been found. I
felt that I wanted to bring the resort and the queen to life for the older
generation, that remember it, and also to bring awareness to the younger generation
who haven’t heard about it. The book depicts a heart-warming story of the
Kauaiian people and what the coconut grove, where the Coco Palms lays dormant
means to them. It’s a story about love, romance, mystery, and a sense of
What inspired you to write this book?
Let’s just say a gentleman
I met two years ago, who doesn’t quite know I exist. A chance encounter with
him had gnawed away at me until I started to tap my keyboard.
Excerpt from Legend
of the Coco Palms Resort
was starting to get choked up. It took him a few seconds to gather his thoughts
and composure. “First of all, I want to say that I don’t expect forgiveness for
the things
done. What I do want is for you to have an open mind. We are all `ohana here as
the queen stated. And as a family, we need one another more than ever before.”
“Mike, I can only speak for myself. No matter what you tell me, I
promise I’ll be objective,” said Kanoa.
“I appreciate it, son, but maybe you should hear me out first.”
Mike started to pace back and forth. “I’m going to go back a few years
here. You see, in the late ’60s, I would frequent this very property we are
standing on. One could say that I was a regular. I got to know the owners and
the management team, which was made up of Genie and Gerry. I was particularly
fond of Genie. We became instant friends.
            “Anyhow, when Genie and Gerry
decided to retire, Genie asked to meet with me privately. I thought she was
going to tell me she was ill. Rather, she had something to
me. I went up to a private room, which no one ever used and Genie produced an
ornate box. The box was for me. When I asked Genie what was in it, she said she
didn’t know. She was just the messenger. I questioned her over and over about
where she got it, but Genie was embarrassed to tell me the truth. She feared
that I’d think she was lōlō. Well, she’d have been right. I thought she had
early signs of senility by the way she was behaving. She told me that once I
opened the box, I’d have all my questions answered. She begged me to never tell
her about the contents. Genie was told that her life would be in danger if she
found out about the contents. Upon opening the box, I knew it was from Queen
“Queen Deborah died in 1853. This is preposterous. Come on Mike,” said
Kanoa. “Are we back to this again?”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I may continue doing a
series revolving around Legend of the Coco Palms or another family saga like my
other novel Driving in Circles—both
are at the swirling in my mind stage.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d have to say the moment
that my fingers first started to tap out paragraph after paragraph, which was
about four years ago. My life had come to yet another new phase. My girls were
up and gone, both my parents had passed away—leaving quite a big space in my
heart. After decades of getting up and rushing to the rat race, which was the
corporate world, it no longer made me happy. I knew then that it was time to
leave it behind and pursue what filled my heart up with joy everyday my eyes
opened. Of course, I owe a big part of that transformation to my husband. I
think he recognized it in me before I admitted it to myself.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I’m a very early riser. I
get up at 5:15 every day, feed my cats and make myself a cup of coffee. I love
the first hour of my day where I am alone with my thoughts. Then it’s seeing my
husband off to work and I sit in my home office and write. I’m definitely a
morning person. After hours of writing I try and fit a workout in. It always
helps rejuvenate the brain. Saying that, my mornings are pretty much routine up
until noon, and some days I will continue into the supper hours, but nothing is
routine for me in the afternoon. I try not to beat myself up about how many
hours I put in. I go by how productive I am feeling and if some days I’m not
there I don’t waste it by staring blankly at my screen. I’d rather be out doing
something and feeling refreshed.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Never fully satisfied
until I can feel the emotion behind every one of my characters.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be so many
different things that I don’t even know where to start. My very first career
was to be a nun. Definitely not because of any religious connotations, I liked
their outfits. What can I say I was a child of the 60s. I was always told I had
a bit of a wild imagination.
Anything additional you want to share with the
For those of you who want
to take a virtual tour of Kauai, please do read Legend of the Coco Palms Resort. I promise it will transport you to
paradise and you will not be disappointed.


Thanks for being here today, Rita!

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