Tai One On With Jill Marie Landis and Take a Chance On a Free Book

tiki goddess 3 Guest blogger Jill Marie Landisand I have been writers in the trenches and friends since the late 1980’s. (We were teenagers back then.) Not only have we known each other for years, but we share the same birthday. When I heard she is writing something new, I invited Jill to stop by and tell us all about her hilarious Tiki Goddess Mystery series from Bell Bridge Books.

Kathleen: It’s a big leap from Western/Americana Historicals set in the 1800’s to a contemporary mystery series set on Kauai, Hawaii. Was that like jumping off a cliff into dark water?

Jill: It would have been a terrifying leap if I hadn’t dreamed of writing a comedic mystery series set on Kauai for a long time. We’ve owned a home here for over thirty-five years in a small town on the North Shore which is an endless source of craziness and inspiration. I’m pretty crazy myself so I couldn’t resist.

tiki goddess

Kathleen: Tell us a little about the concept of the series.

Jill: The books are centered around a fictional watering hole called the Tiki Goddess Bar. It’s inspired by a local hang out where my eccentric hula sisters and I go to dance hula. So many crazy things happen to us in the course of learning hula taking trips to other island together that my mind spins off in all directions with endless fictional possibilities.

tiki goddess 2

The real tiki bar, the Tahiti Nui here on Kauai, provides inspiration. It was recently featured in the movie The Descendants. The “Nui” is the kind of place tourists, celebrities, and locals can all have fun and that’s what I wanted to create in my series.

Kathleen: Seeing as this is your first ever attempt at a mystery, how was Book #1 MAI TAI ONE ON received?

Jill: Once it was published, MAI TAI ONE ON sold really well and racked up rave reviews from readers. I won’t say it was easy to switch genres especially after I was so established in romance. Susan Elizabeth Phillips was one of the writers who encouraged me to keep sending it to publishers.

Susan Elizabeth said, “I want to be a Hula Maiden, too! Reading this fresh, funny mystery made me yearn to hang out at the Tiki Goddess, sip one of Uncle Louie’s drinks and watch a certain super sexy fire dancing detective entertain the crowd. This is a story for anyone who’s ever been to Hawaii, dreamed of going to Hawaii, or wondered what it would be like to live in our 50th State. I loved this book!”

Another “godmother” to the series was my friend Kristin Hannah. She was a bulldog when it came to not letting me give up. I kept hearing from publishers; “But Jill’s a romance writer…” I hung in there because I had so much encouragement and support from my friends. Kristin thought MAI TAI ONE ONwas “the rarest of novels—one that is both emotionally satisfying and laugh out loud funny.” So I kept submitting it.

Bell Bridge Books picked it up and really got behind MAI TAI ONE ONand the book performed fantastically. I’ve signed up for two more so far.


Kathleen: Laugh out loud funny? Tell us about that.  (That first scene had me rolling on the floor, and you know me—rocker, yes, but roller?  That’s rare.)

Jill: MAI TAI ONE ON opens with a body roasting in the luau pit at the Tiki Goddess Bar and things get crazier after that. There’s a handsome fire dancing detective, a tropical drink taste-testing parrot, a troupe of over the hill hula dancers and a couple of young women who are the “sane” members of the cast. The first book is funnier than it is mysterious. I’d classify the series as Cozy-Amateur Sleuth fiction. The zany cast propels the story.

Kathleen: What’s up next?

Jill: Actually, the second book in the series, TWO TO MANGO, is coming out this month, around June 20th. Here’s the promo blurb, which says it a lot better than I can:

Everyone at Em Johnson’s famous North Shore Kauai hang-out, The Tiki Goddess Bar, knows that the bar’s irrepressible Hula Maidens take their hula dancing seriously.  So when famed hula instructors from a rival dance troop start dropping like over-ripe passion fruit, Em and the Hula Maidens go undercover at the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition to uncover the killer. Em is once again up to her okolein danger and mystery, not to mention the seductive challenge of working with hunky detective Roland Sharpe, who moonlights as one of the island’s sexiest fire dancers.


Kathleen: Anything else we should know?

Jill: You don’t have to read the books in any particular order. They’re both available as e-books and in trade paperback format. Along with the Hula Maidens, the fire dancing detective, and the taste testing parrot named David Letterman, there’s a wild ninety two year old who creates havoc on a “Gad-About” a motorized scooter. There are plenty of sane characters too who get caught up in the action.

Kathleen: Where can readers find you?

Jill: I love hearing from readers on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jill.m.landis and my website at www.thetikigoddess.com . They can also find out about all my other titles and books available at www.jillmarielandis.com

Kathleen: Anything you’d like to ask them?

Jill: I’d like to know if they read more than one genre or type of novel or are they strictly women’s fiction/romance readers, strictly historical or contemporary? Do they read what they’re in the mood for, or are they hooked on only one kind of fiction?

Should an author write what she’s inspired to write, or stick to what they have come to expect from her? 

I’ll check in and try to answer your comments in a timely fashion, but please forgive me for I am on Kauai and on Hawaiian time…we’re six hours behind the East Coast!

Thank you for inviting me to drop by, Kathleen. I’d love to give away two autographed copies of MAI TAI ONE ON. I’ll let you choose two winners from those who have time to leave comments on my questions.

Until next time a big MAHALO (thanks) and ALOHA!



About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in comedy, free book, giveaway, Hawaii, humor, Jill Marie Landis, mystery, tiki bar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Tai One On With Jill Marie Landis and Take a Chance On a Free Book

  1. Sharon Mitchell says:

    I read whatever genre – except horror – strikes my mood when I get up in the morning. I have a bookshelf of unread books by my bed and try to read for an hour before starting what needs to be done.
    I think that an author has the right to write what she wishes, regardless of what we might want, but sometimes it’s hard not to pout when a favorite author changes genre.

  2. Trish Jensen says:

    Jill Marie:
    I’m SO jealous! I want to scooter to that Tiki Bar! I’ve been over to your side of the pond once, visiting Oahu and Molokai, and it was the greatest trip of my life. I LOVE the sound of this series, have already bought the first (haven’t gotten to it yet, but it just moved up on my TBR, because who can resist a taste-testing parrot?) and will jump on the next. LOVE that you took the leap into new territory. I hope you had as much fun writing it as you sound talking about it. Yea, more JML!

    • Mahalo, Trish. Among the many reservations some publishers had one was that Hawaii was too foreign and exotic. Hey, hel-lo out there. We’re a state now…. Found the reaction to be just the opposite. People have told me they dream of visiting one day like you did. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the book. Many thanks, J.

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    This sounds like such fun! And the Tiki Goddess Bar sounds like the perfect place for a bunch of writers to hang out. I’m like Trish–I so admire that you took the leap and hope it’s as wonderful as it sounds. Oh, my reading’s eclectic, but try to distance what I’m reading from what I’m writing (or I think I try to sound like people who write better than me.)

    • Hi Liz,
      Thanks for stopping by. I know time is precious with so many “internet” p.r. demands today. My reading has always been eclectic too. Just whatever I’m in the mood for. I know what you mean about “sounding” like someone. Best not to read historicals when I’m writing one. Sometimes we morph into voices, eh? Mahalo! J.

  4. TrishJ says:

    I love the titles of your books!! I read mostly romantic suspense and contemporary romance. You have to write what you feel compelled to write. That’s what makes great books. I do have my comfort books when I need a hug, but usually just read whatever sounds interesting. I would love to win a copy of your book.

    • Hi Trish,
      Thanks for stopping by. It is interesting that you say “comfort” books. I never thought of it that way but it seems about once a year or so I dig out one of my old Kathleen Woodiwiss books and re-read it. It never fails to disappoint or take me away though I’ve read it so many times. Comfortable as an old quilt. Have a really great day and thanks again. Aloha, J.

  5. Laurie G says:

    I read mostly romance: contemps, historicals, suspence, inspirationals and a few paranormals. I will try a mystery if it is recommended to me.

    Best wishes as you try out a new genre. I’d love to give your mystery series set in Kauai a try. Sounds interesting! David Lettermann??

    • Hi Laurie,
      I don’t read many mysteries either! (Probably shouldn’t admit that one.) I do read a lot of thrillers written by what I call the “Big Boys” but the only mysteries I tend to read are by Janet Evanovitch, the Stephanie Plum series. Her characters are nuts and unforgettable.
      I named the parrot David Letterman because I think the real David Letterman is a hoot and well…why not?
      Thanks for stopping by. Aloooha,

  6. TRACIE says:

    I read everything I can get my hands on and I think it’s great when my tried and true authors branch out into other genres and mix things up.
    Good luck and happy writing!

    • Hi Tracie,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad to hear you are open minded about your favorite authors. I love that you read anything you can get your hands on. That’s super. Hopefully you’ll get your hands on a copy of Mai Tai soon. Aloooha! J.

  7. Diane says:

    I read a variety historicals, fiction, suspense and mystery. whatever I am in the mood for at the time. Best wishes and happiness.

    • Aloha Diane,
      Thanks for stopping by. I too read whatever I’m in the mood for. Sometimes I have a couple of books going at once, one upstairs, one downstairs. (Getting to lazy to go after them!) Keep reading and we’ll all keep writing. Mahalo, J.

  8. Cindy Gerard says:

    Welcome, Jill. These books look like so much fun! As for what I read – when I do carve out some time, I’ll read whatever looks good on that day LOL Suspense, Contemporary, Historical, Thriller – I’m pretty much there!

    • Hi Cindy,
      Boy…carve out some time… I hear you. The think we loved to do…read..is what got us into writing and that’s the one thing I do miss…endless time to read. Like you, whatever I’m in the mood for is what I love to read on that day. Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by! Mahalo, J.

  9. Leanne says:

    Welcome to the vert Jill! I’m so glad to hear there’s another book coming out in this series!!!:) I wish I could be a Hula Maiden. Maybe you could start a special club for honorary Hula Maidens.:)

    • Hi Leanne,
      I’d love to start a club. Good idea. Maybe I’ll add that page to my website and people can send in their most outrageous photo as a Hula Maiden! (Always something new to do.) Thanks for the great idea. Have a wonderful day and wear your seat belt! Aloha, J.

  10. I love the book titles. They sound like a totally fun read. I want to visit that Tiki Bar too!

  11. Ebony Morton says:

    I read mostly romance : histoirical, suspense contemperatry, and paranormal romance . I think an author should write what ever story comes to her. be it a short story or something out of romance. I just love to read. every story is different and so it every author. I just enjoy reading them, lol 🙂

  12. Good morning, Nov 8 sister of mine! Clearly just the titles of your new books stop people in their tracks. They’re already smiling when they open the cover, which is the only way to walk into a tiki bar full of irresistible characters. I love a great Western, but I’ll follow a fabulous author anywhere any time. Fun in the sun with no risk of getting burned? I’m there!

    • Thanks so much for the invite! I’m sure I’m late jumping into the convertible but it’s just 8 a.m. over here! What a lovely bunch of riders you have on the blog. Have a great day and thanks for the fun and complements. Aloooooha,

  13. Anne says:

    Your books and setting sound wonderful. what I enjoy are historicals and contemporary fiction. Enjoyable post. Your talent is what makes your writing unique.

  14. Kathleen O says:

    I have read some of your previous books Jill and I am sure I am going to love these one.. I like that kind of zany elcectic group of woman in your story.. The Hula Maidens I know are going to make me LOL…
    I enjoy all kinds of books from historical to, comtenporay romance to Woman’s Fiction with a lot of different genre’s. I adore Romantic supsense, but not if things get too gory. I don’t like horror and I am not a fan of time travel.. But I have read the odd book in this genre and have become a fan of the paranormal, but not werewolves and shapshifters and the like..
    I always hear that a writer should write what they know about or experineces and I think in this books you have it in spades… or Mai Tai’s..

    • Hi Kathleen,
      It was really fun including characters of all ages and especially the senior geriatric hula dancers. As the Boomers age I think there will be more of a market for books that feature women of all ages and not as just in elderly wise old crone roles. Golden Girls, and Murder She Wrote, not to mention Betty White in anything, have all become classics. Bring on the Hula Maidens! I too try to keep up with all kinds of romances and its fun to see how the genre and subgenres keep appearing. Mahalo for stopping by!

  15. Kylie Brant says:

    Welcome, Jill! Congrats on the new series. I love it when authors re-invent themselves–it’s how we keep our writing fresh. I mainly stick to thrillers and suspense but will pick up other genres depending on my mood. Good luck with the new books!

    • Hi Kylie,
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Re-invention…ah yes. I think it also keeps us from being incredibly bored. I can’t imagine a whole bookcase full of one kind of book and it’s the same thing with the stories in our heads. There are a million of them up there and sometimes we just have to let them out. Have a good writing day! Mahalo,

  16. debradixon says:

    Jill– People love the mystery series. It’s so funny. I know this because the staff all wanted it on their readers. And we’re very happy to be publishing the series! It’s up for pre-order on Amazon Kindle, Apple, BN Nook (they’re slow with the cover!), etc. People don’t have to wait to check off this purchase on their “to do” list!

  17. Britt says:

    Hey Jill,

    I love when an author branches out into something different. It is a new facet of his or her work for me to enjoy. If an author is clearly a genre writer, they always have some old elements from previous works in the new book (s). It is the same author with a twist which is why I fell in love with the writing in the first place.

    I look forward to TWO TO MANGO. All of the girls in the office love the book and the covers!

  18. Carolina says:

    Aloha e Jill,

    I am so glad to hear that a book has been written based on Hawai’i. Have been wondering when more books out there will be printed or written for that matter. I love reading, doesn’t matter the genre, as long as it has substance and can grab me from the first page.

    I truly believe an author should be creative and do what they enjoy doing – writing. Keep up the great work.

    A hui hou,

    • Mahalo Carolina, for the vote of confidence. I’m sure all authors are giving a collective sigh on that one. Hawaii is so popular in films and on tv…just don’t know why pubs don’t think it translates to books. Take care and mahalo! J.

  19. Minna says:

    I read mostly romance and at the moment mostly paranormal romance, but besides that I do read just about anything except horror books.

    • Thanks for stopping by Minna. Isn’t it wonderful we have so many choices? I don’t read much horror either but it seems to be really popular. Hope you have a great day! Aloha, J.

  20. Jennifer Hall says:

    I read mostly mysteries and some romances.

  21. bellwriter says:

    Kathleen and Jill, I’m so jealous. You met when you were teenagers? No wonder you both are still so young. The mystery series sounds fabulous and so out fun and out of the norm. Okay reinforcing the legs of my to-be-read table!

  22. loisgreiman says:

    Welcome Jill. So great to have you with us. The series sounds wonderful. I looooove comedic mysteries. I think your career path and mine are pretty similar. Thanks for stopping by.

  23. cindal says:

    well like everyone else here I guess I read a broad spectrum of books. I read romance , Historical, contemporary , sci fi , fantasy , erotica, whatever interests me at the moment . I also love self help books and spiritual books. I really enjoy reading .

  24. roxrustand says:

    Mai Tai One On sounds fabulous! I just went to Amazon and bought a copy. The whole series sounds wonderful. We were in Hawaii last year for a couple a weeks, and Kauai was my favorite island by far. Loved The Descendents, and how cool to hear that the bar in the movie actually exists on your island. I am really looking forward to your next book! I have loved all of your other books as well.

    And I still chuckle over something you said at the podium–I think you might have been the special luncheon speaker (?) when RWA was in Hawaii, 1995. That was my first ever RWA conference, and I was in total awe of everyone. But you were so charming and funny, that it really broke the ice for me. 🙂


    • I’ll bet I know what that unforgettable something was!

    • Hi Roxanne,
      Yes, that was me with the chanters and the Keynote about me not bothering with underwear. There I said it again. It was a great conference and I wish RWA would come back but I know it’s too far. If you get back to Kauai please contact me! I’ll take you to the Nui. All the locals were in the film hanging out in their usual chairs. Aloooooha.

  25. bn100 says:

    Congratulations on the book! I think authors should write what they feel inspired to write.

  26. librarypat says:

    Enjoyed your post today.
    I read many different types of books depending on what I am in the mood for. Historical, contemporary, paranormal, history, biography, science, classics, YA, children’s and more. There is so much out there worth reading.
    As for what an author should write, I think they should write what interests them. Readers may get used to their standard sub-genre, but that doesn’t mean they should refrain from branching out into something else they would like to try. I know many authors uses different pen names when then write in different sub-genre. I can understand the concern about confusing readers who expect one type of book from them. However, if we like an author, we will try their work that is out of the norm. Spread your wings and try something new. It may inspire readers to try something new also.

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