A visit with Leslie Langtry

Thank you, Cindy, for hosting me today!

My name is Leslie Langtry and I write 3 different mystery series, including The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries, The Merry Wrath Mysteries, and The Greatest Hits Mysteries.

UkuleleMurderTell us about your current series.

I’m very excited about the new Aloha Lagoon Mysteries. My first book in the series, UKULELE MURDER, came out on July 6. It’s the first in a continuity series – all taking place in the fictional Aloha Lagoon, Kauai, Hawaii. There are several authors writing their own series within the Aloha Lagoon series – and our characters will interact throughout the books, which is pretty interesting. It’s a bit tricky to manage, but I think fans will love it. At least, I hope they do.  There’s a website where you can check out the whole series including characters and locations: www.alohalagoonmysteries.com

My series features Nani Johnson – a Julliard Trained musician and ukulele virtuoso who moves from Kansas to Kauai with her crazy mother in tow. Nani wants to perform professionally, but when she arrives in Aloha Lagoon, she finds there are already 3 ukulele artists who get all the good gigs. So, Nani is reduced to playing at the Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel (complete with Elvis impersonating minister) and various gigs when she can get them. Unfortunately, one of the other ukulele musicians turns up dead and Nani is the main suspect.

What inspired your latest book?

I jumped at the chance to be part of this series because I’m a huge fan of the ukulele. I’m a hobbyist – I do play – but I’m nowhere near as good as my main character. This book was so much fun to write – mostly because I got to pretend to be a virtuoso. I’d love to have Nani in future books meet some of my favorite artists like Jake Shimabukuro or Victoria Vox or the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. But what I’d really love is for me to actually meet these people. In person. Where I can embarrass myself by becoming a squealing fan girl begging for autographs. Of course, now that I say that, it seems like a bad idea…

What is your next project and when will it be released?

I’m working on the 2nd book now – UKULELE DEADLY – which will come out in March. I do have a new release for my Merry Wrath Mysteries – MOVIE NIGHT MURDER coming out in September.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

It’s really hard to say. I wish I had a lock on that. I kind of stumble upon them reading the newspaper, when doing the dishes or even just before I fall asleep. I learned a long time ago to keep a notepad by the bed, just in case. I’ve lost a lot of ideas by thinking I’d remember them when I wake up.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

UKULELE MURDER is like MURDER SHE WROTE, but funny. Also like MAGNUM P.I., but with a ukulele as the main prop, instead of a mustache.

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Nani Johnson is in her twenties and single, living in Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. She grew up on a farm in Kansas and studied classical guitar at Julliard before falling in love with the diminutive ukulele. When her father dies, she takes her Hawaii-obsessed mother and moves to the islands. She has a dream to be a real artist, that is rudely interrupted by reality when she finds a lot of competition for a few gigs. Meanwhile her mother has dyed her hair black and calls herself Haliaka, driving the mahjong set crazy with her belief she’s the descendant of Hawaiian royalty.

Nani’s strength is that she can keep it together when things go wrong – like when her mother decorates the living room with dozens of coconuts in grass skirts, or when she’s the main suspect when her competition starts dying off.

Her weakness is her struggle to fit in. Things are a lot different in Kauai than they were in Kansas. Nani tries to figure out how to blend in – but it doesn’t always work out the way she wants it to.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in? 

UKULELE MURDER is a comic cozy mystery. As a reader, I’m a huge fan of the genre. My Merry Wrath Mysteries are the same, featuring outed CIA agent Merry Wrath, who goes home to small town Iowa and leads a Girl Scout troop. My Greatest Hits Series is more mystery/comedy/romance/adventure about a family of assassins – so it’s a little different. I really like writing cozies though, and I imagine I will always write them



If anyone requests “Ukulele Lady,” I’m out of here. I’m not going to do it. Not again. Not for the millionth time. Is that the only song tourists know? Yeesh. Please, tiki god of the Ukulele, don’t let me kill a tourist today.

“‘Ukulele Lady!'” a dumpy, middle-aged man in a Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt screams. He gives me a knowing nod with his balding head to indicate he’s the only one in the room who knows true Hawaiian culture.

I hate him. I imagine bludgeoning him with my koa wood uke.

But I don’t. Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of koa wood? Well…I don’t know either, but I’d guess it isn’t easy.

Instead, I play the damn song—smiling as I imagine shoving his pineapple drink up his…

The crowd cheers as I perform. I know—it’s not so bad having an adoring audience. But this isn’t the audience I want. This is Judah Horowitz’s bar mitzvah. One of the few gigs I could get in Aloha Lagoon.

My name is Hoalohanani Johnson. My mother, Harriet Jones Johnson, is a bit of a Hawaiian-obsessed nut. It’s so bad that it’s to the point where she believes she is the reincarnation of a Hawaiian princess and says that my name came from a dream from an ancestor god. In reality, it probably came from the bottom of a rum bottle.

To her endless annoyance, my redheaded, green-eyed mom comes from a long line of English ancestors and grew up in Kansas. Dad was a third-generation blond, brown-eyed German whose name was shortened to Johnson due to the inability to pronounce whatever the name really was. Neither of my parents had ever been to Hawaii until Mom and I moved here after Dad died.

I go by Nani. And I now live in Aloha Lagoon on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, with my mother, who now calls herself Haliaka and dyes her hair and eyebrows a ridiculous shade of black that does not look natural. I’ve never understood where my dark-brown hair comes from, but I look more native than she does. Always dressed in a muumuu, Mom wears hibiscus flowers in her hair and hangs out on my lanai, singing island songs all day and night, much to my neighbors’ dismay. Sigh.

I finish my set, tell the crowd “aloha,” and am cut off by the DJ who decides suddenly to play a gangsta rap song.

“Thank you!” Gladys Horowitz of Trenton, New Jersey, and Judah’s mother, slips an envelope into my hands before running to the dance floor to shimmy disturbingly. Thirteen-year-old Judah hangs his head in shame.

I make my way through the crowd to the bar and order a decidedly un-Hawaiian vodka tonic.

“Here’s the ten bucks I owe you.” The bartender smiles, handing me money.

I gulp my drink, slapping an empty glass on the bar. “I told you, someone requests it every time.” I take his money and head to my car. My shift in hell is over.


Leslie Langtry is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Merry Wrath Mysteries, the Greatest Hits Series, and Sex, Lies & Family vacations.

She is not, nor ever has been a former CIA agent or an assassin (a question that surprisingly comes up more than you’d think). She has been a Girl Scout Volunteer for 15 years and was a troop leader for 10 years – which gave her a wealth of material that she uses in her books.

Leslie lives in the Midwest with her family and assorted animals and has an unnatural obsession with cake. You can find out more about her and her books at http://www.leslielangtry.com.


Amazon:  https://amzn.com/B01HU7401A

Nook: http://bit.ly/1TlQ0MC

iBook:  http://apple.co/1Vo1WRB

Kobo:  http://apple.co/1Vo1WRB

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/1Sx66mq

Print:  will send next week


Leslie Langtry: www.leslielangtry.com

Aloha Lagoon: www.alohalagoonmysteries.com


Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LeslieLangtry

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieLangtry






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