Hawaii Author, Katharine Nohr
Katharine Nohr is a mystery writer, athlete and attorney in Honolulu. She is a consultant on sports risk management and has traveled widely speaking on the topic. She is a former judge who continues her career practicing law as an insurance defense attorney. Her disappointment at not finding novels about triathletes led her to pen some herself. I met Katharine at Left Coast Crime in Honolulu in March where we shared a panel on writing Hawaii. Katharine’s two novels in her Tri-Angles series, Land Sharks and Freewheel, feature ambitious attorney Zana West and some fierce (and deadly) triathlete competition. Her third book in the series, VO2 Max will be out soon. Please welcome Katharine Nohr.
MT: Let’s start with you. You’re an attorney, an athlete and consultant on risk management in athletics. How does your background inform your stories?
KN: I write what I know. My legal mystery series, Tri-Angles offer stories of attorney and triathlete characters and stories based on my own experiences. For example, in Land Sharks, there’s a scene in a deposition in which a fight breaks out. Something similar happened to me.
MT: What drew you to writing mysteries?
KN: I wrote Land Sharks and in the process of trying to identify the genre, my publisher and I settled on mystery as the predominant genre.
MT: How would you characterize your mysteries? Cozy, hard-boiled, noir, humorous, zany, amateur, other? Why did you choose that sub-genre?
KN: They’re legal mysteries with humor, sports and romance.
MT: Tell us about Zana West, an ambitious attorney with a competitive drive. How does her drive come into play in the cases she gets involved in?
KN: Zana West grew up in dire circumstances, living with foster families and enduring periods of homelessness. Her drive comes from her need to survive. She believes that if she loses her job at the law firm, she’ll end up homeless again.
MT: If your books were made into movies, who would you cast in the roles?
KN: Zana West is 5’11” tall and so she should be played by a young woman of similar stature. Taylor Swift could play her if she dyed her hair (and, Taylor does have acting experience). January Jones has the Zana West look when her hair is straightened and her bangs cut.
Jerry Hirano is a younger Keanu Reeves. Daniel Henney or a 40 something Asian actor with ripped abs could play Jerry.
Brad Jordan could be played by Theo James and Jennifer Lawrence could play the twins—Heather and Megan Alexander.
Ryan Peterson could be played by any famous actor, also named Ryan.
Alexia Moore is a Julianne Hough-type.
MT: Marshall McLuhan said that if you don’t know if you will like a book, turn to page 69. If you like what you read there, you will like the book. What happens on page 69 of your latest book and how significant is it in the story? (Or another book of your choosing.)
KN: In Freewheel, on page 69, Zana is meeting with her client, Ryan Peterson, and they’re discussing some key elements of the defense of the litigation and about facts that might exonerate him in the lawsuit. This is a pivotal moment in the book.
MT: How important is the Hawaii setting to your stories?
KN: Hawaii’s beautiful island environment is important for its stunning beauty and lovely weather to swim, bike and run. The setting also offers the Hawaii culture with diversity in ethnicity as well as its adaptation of elements of Asian and Polynesian culture. The characters usually have the Aloha spirit and the male attorneys wear Aloha shirts to work.
MT: Could the stories be set anywhere else? Why or why not?
KN: No. The books are about Honolulu law and I know of no other place in the world with the same culture in law firms and law practice.
MT: What do you do to give readers a sense of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture?
KN: The characters eat local food with chopsticks, enjoy the scents of tropical flowers, island breezes and they take their shoes off before entering a house. The characters fly to Maui for the day and they use some Hawaiian words, such as “Mahalo”, which means thank-you.
MT: What’s ahead for Zana West?
KN: The third book in the Tri-Angles series, VO2 Max, will be published in December of 2018. Will Zana land her dream job as sports agent in her firm? We’ll find out in VO2 Max.
MT: What’s ahead for you in your career?
KN: I’m currently writing an international thriller. My hope is to continue writing the Tri-Angles series in addition to thrillers.
MT: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you and/or your books?
KN: They’re Allie McBeal meets Hawaii Five-0 and the perfect beach, airplane or armchair read for a vicarious visit to Hawaii.
MT: How can readers contact you and learn about your books?
KN: They can find me on Facebook (Tri-Angles Series or Katharine M. Nohr), on Twitter and Instagram (@TriathlonNovels), on Linkedin (Katharine M. Nohr) and my website: KatharineNohr.com