Award-winning, USA Today bestselling social worker turned author, Toby Neal, grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Neal's police procedurals, starring multicultural detective Lei Texeira, explore the crimes and issues of Hawaii from the bottom of the ocean to the top of volcanoes. Neal is today's Author of the Day, and talks about her novel, Wired In.
Please give us a short introduction to what Wired In is about.
Wired In is the story of an amazing tech agent who escaped an abusive marriage to a Hong Kong gangster to join the FBI. Sophie Ang is the ultimate woman warrior with a soft heart for kids and animals. She specializes in tech investigation and is an MMA fighter; she has a wonderful yellow lab as a companion, and her superpower is that all the men around her fall in love with her!
What inspired you to write about a rogue data analysis program identifying an anomaly?
I wanted to create a program my character could use, that would track commonalities across different agencies and databases to "connect the dots" to crimes that are missed because of a lack of communication. I would love it if this technology was real--it would save so many lives! I thought Sophie having the program could take her in many directions as far as stories go, and it has! Book #9, Wired Courage, just came out this week.
You grew up in Hawaii. How, do you think, has this influenced your outlook on life and your writing?
Oh my, I'm an island girl! I grew up surfing and living off the land, out of school more than in, and in a place with no TV or media at all,, so I read all the time. My "wild child" uprbringing is the subject of my upcoming memoir, Freckled, debuting 12/30. That background, along with my three degrees in psychology and my career as a therapist, has really informed the kinds of books I write.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
It has a very multi layered plot, about 3 layers deep! And the first draft was even MORE complicated, 5 layers deep, and I completely confused myself by the end. I had to go back and tear it all apart and simplify it. That doesn't usually happen!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?