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Interview with Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa’s first book in the P.I. Kelly Pruett series, Derailed, released earlier this year. I am lucky to having gotten a chance to interview Mary. Let’s get on with the Q&As. 🙂

Hello Mary and welcome to my blog, The Book Decoder. Tell me and my readers about yourself.

Thank you so much for having me! I write mystery and suspense stories, and in particular, about the adventures of my tenacious PI Kelly Pruett who has inherited her father’s agency.

For years, I worked as a legal secretary, giving me a front row seat on the legal maneuverings that took place every day. I loved the unfolding of a case from the first documents being run to the courthouse to preparing for trial. That love is one of many reasons I gravitated to writing mystery and suspense. And yes, I’m that person that actually gets excited when called for jury duty!

My day job now is running a distribution company with my husband, being
owned by a bossy Golden Retriever named Bella, a feisty kitty named August, hanging out with my grandchildren, and spending time on the Hawaiian Islands which is where my husband was born and raised.

Derailed, the debut in PI Kelly Pruett series released recently. Can you tell us more about it?

I would love to. Kelly Pruett is on her first real investigation. She’s spent years helping her dad, but he kept her sheltered from the juicy cases. Now, a woman has come knocking on her door because her daughter is dead and she wants to know why. The police believe the victim drunkenly fell in front of a MAX train. But her mother believes she might have been pushed.

The case will take Kelly into some interesting places and uncover that the victim might have a different side that she kept hidden from her own family. Finding out whether that secret was at the root of her suspicious death will put Kelly on a crash course with the killer.

Of course, Kelly’s ex-husband and his mother are not keen on her taking on this case. Because they believe she should play it safe and be a stay at home mom, they will be putting a lot of stress on her to walk away. Let’s just say, Kelly is going to have her hands full on this one, and she’s going to be learning a lot about being a PI that will serve her well in the books to come.

How many books are you planning to write in PI Kelly Pruett series?

My contract calls for 3 books. Book 2, DENIED, will be out in May 2021. But Kelly Pruett has a lot of stories to tell. I could easily see Kelly on a few more cases after that if it works out.

What was the inspiration behind the PI Kelly Pruett series?

Years spent working downtown amongst lawyers, high rises and mass transit were the inspiration. It always intrigued me how close the tracks were to the curbs and how easily it would be to step out in front of a train to a disastrous end. Once I had the idea of someone dying that way, the rest of the story unfolded.

How does a day in Mary Keliikoa look like?

After the usual, getting Bella out and making sure the fur kids are fed, I’m in my office to write for 2-3 hours five to six days a week. I try to commit time each day to social media and marketing as well, then I’m off to my day job for a couple of hours, and then back home. After a walk and dinner, I either have my nose in a good book, or I’m reading a friend’s work and helping with edits.
My day is generally non-stop, so I fall into bed by the end so I’m ready to do it all again!


Many thanks to Lori for giving me an opportunity to have a chat with Mary. 🙂

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