By Lisa Truesdale
In middle school, Debra Bokur was admonished by a teacher who was skeptical of her excuse for her unfinished homework.
“At the time, I thought it was rather brilliant,” says Bokur, a writer currently residing in Nederland. “I explained how there was a wizard who needed my help training a young, unruly dragon, and my homework had somehow been destroyed in the process.”
That teacher gave Bokur two valuable pieces of advice: Turn homework in on time, and start writing down those stories. She was just one of the teachers who identified Bokur’s passion for writing and helped hone her skills, and Bokur has been a storyteller ever since. She’s enjoyed a long career as a freelance writer and editor, including travel writing, articles about yoga and other healthy-living topics, fiction, screenwriting, and poetry.
Bokur’s latest novel, “The Bone Field,” is the second installment in her Dark Paradise Mystery series. It’s set in Hawaii, a place Bokur has explored countless times in the past 25 years. To write it, she drew on her connections with Hawaiian elders and years of extensive research into the spirituality, legends and healing traditions of the islands. The series features Kali Mahoe, a detective Bokur based on a “compilation of people I’ve encountered over the years, or simply imagined.” Kali is drawn deep into the island of Lanai’s ancient legends in her investigation of a bizarre murder, discovering an enigmatic symbol that may connect to a long-disbanded religious cult.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of cults,” Bokur explains, “and what compels large numbers of people to follow a leader, even if it’s all the way to the bitter end.”
Indeed, it’s Bokur’s careful research—and her love of Hawaii—that makes this story compelling, gripping the reader until the last page. And, for fans who can’t get enough, the third installment in the series, “The Lava Witch,” is due out in May 2022. (The first book is called “The Fire Thief.”)
Bokur isn’t stopping there, however. “I’m also working on a new series set in a riverside town in Maine,” she says. “It features mystery, intrigue and elements of magical realism.”
Learn more at debrabokur.com.
More great local reads
My Heart Is a Chainsaw
Stephen Graham Jones
Jones, an award-winning writer and an English professor at CU, penned this horror novel that has been called “an homage to slasher films.” It’s the story of Jade Daniels, an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her.
19 Days: One Man’s Journey Through Grief
Paul M. Meese
Meese’s emotional memoir documents his life in the first year after his wife’s death. He hopes that by sharing his journey, he will help others through theirs. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund at Front Range Community College, where Meese and his wife both worked.
The Adventure Friends: Mountain Bike Day
This delightful children’s book, the second in a series, follows four animal friends as they spend a fun-filled day biking on mountain trails. We especially love the “punny” character names: Gnarwhal, Radypus, Pow Cow and Hang Moose.