Pacifica Sets Sail!

Taken from Kristen’s February 2018 Newsletter. To be the first to have access to extra content, and all things related to Kristen’s books, sign up HERE.


That’s right, next Tuesday, March 6th, PACIFICA sets sail. This book has been an emotional journey for me, and I’m glad to finally be able to share it with you.

pacifica galley cvrYou see, this book has been a long time in the making. It didn’t come along in nice, sequential order after METALTOWN. It actually began years ago, and was woven into the stories passed down by the women in my family.

A bit of history…

To truly understand the origins of PACIFICA, you need to understand a little about me. I’m half-Japanese. My great-grandmother, Haru Tanaka, was a school teacher in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and it’s with her that this story begins.

On December 7th, 1941, she watched the planes painted with the Rising Sun fly overhead, thinking they were part of the American military’s training exercises. She quickly realized they were not when one crashed into a nearby house. In the hysteria that followed, she was escorted, at gunpoint, to an immigration station in Honolulu, where she would stay for two months for her own “safety,” without even a change of clothes. After that, she would bounce around various detention centers, pleading for someone to believe that she was innocent, until finally being moved to an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas. There, she ate meager rations, bathed under supervision, was subjected to American loyalty tests, and waited for infrequent, screened letters from her children, until the end of WWII.

She returned home to Hawaii to find her house and job gone, and her children the subjects of a racism that would scar my family for generations.

This is my history—who I am. And since I process the world through a lens of fiction, I knew writing my story would look very different. When I closed my eyes to imagine her life, I saw a survivor—a bright light in a world in ruins, the ground quaking beneath her feet, the sky filled with lightning. I saw her friends being ripped from their homes and their families, with no indication of where they were going. I saw drowned cities, and islands made of trash, ruled by those who could survive their banishment.

I saw the fighters. I saw hope.

I saw Pacifica.

A bit of research…

I knew I would be writing a world post-polar ice cap melt, and when I imagined this setting, I knew my main character would have to sail. She would be tenacious and gritty, able to survive the blistering effects of climate change.

So naturally, I made her a pirate.

But I knew little about pirates, and even less about the key to her lifestyle—sailing. So I set out to learn.
Now, I love book research. Not only is in an integral part of adding depth to your story, it can be so fun. During the ARTICLE 5 series, for example, I learned to ride a motorcycle and did a ride-along with the cops.

But in order to make Marin’s experience as genuine as possible, I knew I needed to get on a boat. So I contacted the Davis Island Yacht Club near Tampa, Florida, and met with two incredible ladies, Carrie and Terry, who run a women’s sailing program.

They were so awesome. So patient. (If you’ve done book research, you know how important that is.) They gave me elaborate answers in simple terms, and never laughed, even when I asked about bizarre scenarios, like if you could kiss on the underside of a capsized boat. (You can, but it wouldn’t be very comfortable because the “rudder” and “keel” would get in the way.)

Here are my top ten takeaways:

1. Sailing has its own language, and if you don’t know it, you’re screwed if something bad happens.

2. Sailing is like driving, except you navigate by a compass and all the parts of your car are in Klingon and there are no roads and you can drown and things may spontaneously creep up from beneath to ground you. Like rocks. Or the reef.

3. There are actually pirates in the Caribbean. Most of them are drug runners who steal your boat, use it to transport drugs, and then sink it before the authorities can catch them.

4. People really do say, “Hoist the main,” “Trim your sail,” “Unfurl the jib,” and even “Hard to starboard.”

5. Sailing is peaceful, soothing, and utterly terrifying.

6. Real sailors don’t wear boat shoes. Most of them wear tennis shoes or go barefoot. (Yes, I asked.)

7. The number one sailing injury: getting hit in the head by the boom. BOOM, you got boomed.

8. In many sailboats, you shower in the same stall as the toilet, or “head.” The toilet gets all wet. This is okay.

9. In bad weather you simply need to “reef your main” and ride it out. Sorry about your luck.

10. Sailors kick ass.

Here are some photos of my fantastic expedition!

The 37′ boat that became my classroom.

I’M SAILING! Ok, kind of. I’m holding onto the steering wheel in any case.

Sailors use “charts” like this one to navigate direction and depth of water

The “head.” Where toilet and shower are one.

The galley. Complete with a “gimbaled” stove that stays upright as the boat “heels” or tilts

Now, I turn it over to you…

Thank you again for making my dreams possible. Without you, reader, I would not be able to write this story of my heart and my history. I hope you love it. I hope it makes you feel something. I hope wherever you are, you know that I am grateful for you.

And now, shamelessly, I present the buy links.

You can purchase Pacifica at any of these lovely locations:

    • Amazon
    • Barnes & Noble
    • Indiebound
    • Books-A-Million
    • Macmillan


Upcoming Events:

***NKYA Book Fest, March 3rd, Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger Branch

***PACIFICA Launch Party!! Joseph Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH, March 6th 7PM (If you would like books signed, you can order through them, and they will ship! Just contact the nice people that work there!)

***Tuscon Festival of Books, March 10-11, Tuscon, AZ.  Panels and signings both days!

***Bookstore Signing, Interbang Books, Dallas, TX, March 27th, 7PM.

***Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Panel and signing Sunday, April 8th.

***The Origin Event, Austin, TX, November 3rd

***I love doing school visits! Contact me by email to set up an in-person or Skype visit.

One last thing…

I recently changed my newsletter sign-up reply to include a welcome email from me. If you signed up recently and did not see it, check your spam folder! If you signed up before the last month or so, I’ve offered a bonus scene from either THE GLASS ARROW (from Daphne’s POV) or from ARTICLE 5 (featuring Sean and Rebecca – this scene has SPOILERS if you have not completed the entire ARTICLE 5 series. Also, it’s a bit steamy, so please request only if you are 14 and up.). I’m offering this to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter as a thank you,* so if you’d like to read one of the scenes, please reply to my newsletter and let me know which one you’d like.

*Please remember they are not professionally edited, and please don’t post them online or send them out. If your friends want to see one, tell them to sign up for my newsletter! Thanks!

Happy Sailing!



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