Next on Meet Naomi Hirahara, award-winning mystery author

Naomi HiraharaErin and I are thrilled to announce the next call in our AAPI Empowerment Series, with Edgar Award-winning author Naomi Hirahara, whose fourth Mas Arai mystery, “Blood Hina,” was recently released. The Edgars, by the way, are the prestigious annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards for the best in mystery writing.

I fell in love with Hirahara’s ability to effortlessly capture the spirit and personality of the Japanese American community with her instantly engaging first book, “Summer of the Big Bachi.”

Her characters, starting with reluctant crime-solver Mas Arai, a retiring gardener in Los Angeles, speak and think and live in a culture rich with JA rhythms, from their speech to historical references. Arai is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and he has a knack for stumbling into murder mysteries.

The plots of the Arai series, which also include “Gasa Gasa Girl,” in which Mas travels to New York, and “Snakeskin Shamisen,” in which Hirahara explores the rich culture of Okinawans in LA. “Snakeskin Shamisen” won Hirahara the prestigious Edgar Award for mystery writing.

Here’s Hirahara’s bio:

Naomi Hirahara’s fourth Mas Arai mystery, Blood Hina, was released in hardcover by St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne Books on March 2, 2010. Other books in the series, which features a Japanese American gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes, includes Summer of the Big Bachi, Gasa-Gasa Girl, and the Edgar Award-winning Snakeskin Shamisen.

Her crime short stories are featured in Los Angeles Noir, Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics, A Hell of a Woman, and The Darker Mask. Her book for younger readers, 1001 Cranes, was chosen as an Honor Book for the Youth Literature of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in 2009. She also contributed a mystery serial, “Heist in Crown City” to an English-language weekly in Japan, Asahi Weekly.

A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in international relations, she is the president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

She’s also a former journalist, who was a reporter and editor for the Rafu Shimpo newspaper in Los Angeles, and she has written books for the Japanese American National Museum. Welcome Naomi Hirahara and join us when we interview her about her books, her characters, and how she comes up with her fast-paced, clever and exciting plotlines.

Tune in and meet her!

SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE LIVE INTERVIEW WITH NAOMI AT 6 PM PDT (9 PM EDT) TUESDAY, MAY 11! You can listen to the live interview over the phone (long distance charges may apply) or FREE via a webcast. You can also submit questions for Naomi before and during the interview. If you miss the live event, you can listen to the interview for a limited time online.