Dead Week (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
by Kelly Brakenhoff
Dead Week (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (December 7, 2019)
Paperback: 322 pages
Will Dead Week kill Cassandra’s career?
VP of Student Affairs Cassandra Sato has a desk full of problems and it’s not even Thanksgiving break.
A student’s injury and a deaf advocacy project brings national media attention to underfunded Morton College.
Cassandra’s new boss talks to her dead husband. Cassandra’s mentor thinks he’s a superhero in a senior citizen’s body. And Cassandra, recently moved from Hawai’i, can’t crack the code of what to wear during November in Nebraska.
Is there more to the Vietnam-era story of a student’s death? Cassandra’s search for the long-buried truth stirs up the wrath of those who want to keep the past forgotten.
1. In the book, Cassandra moved from Hawai’i to Nebraska. Have you ever made a big move from one climate to another?
Six weeks after my husband and I got married, we moved to Hawai’i.
The five years we lived on Oahu, my husband worked in construction management, including his first job out of college building a golf course. We refer to that time as our 5-year honeymoon.
Our first two children were born there, but eventually we had to move to the mainland and later found ourselves back in Nebraska where our families live. So I’ve done major moves several times.
I grew up on the east coast and moved before high school to Nebraska which has similar temperatures but is much milder than the highs and lows we get in the Midwest. Once you’ve lived your first winter without snow and sleet, sandy beaches become addictive. They don’t call Hawai’i paradise for nothing.
If I won the lottery, I’d buy a condo in Hawai’i and split my time between here and there. I enjoy winter for about five days. Pretty snowfall, hot cocoa by the fire, a few beautiful icicles, then I’m done and spend the next three months pining for sunshine. I could definitely live the rest of my days in 60-80 degrees and never tire of it.
2. Have you ever been to Hawai’i? If you have, what was your favorite spot? If you have not, what would you most want to see?
How much time do you have?
After five years and many visits back to Hawai’i, I have so many favorite spots I collected them into a Pinterest board. Any time a friend plans a trip there and asks me where to go, I give them this link filled with my recommendations. I’m happy to share them with you all too and I hope you get the chance to use it someday to plan your own trip.
For scenery, my favorite spot on Oahu is the top of Diamond Head Crater. You can get to it from Waikiki. It’s a short, steep hike, but gives you panoramic views of the entire makai (ocean) side of the island and looking back towards mauka (the mountains). I also like Manoa Falls and Waimea Falls. For cultural immersion in a one-day experience, I recommend the Polynesian Culture Center where you can learn about all the cultures of the Pacific Islands, eat at a luau, and shop for unique goods.
On Kauai, my favorite place is Waimea Canyon, commonly referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It’s much smaller than the one in Arizona of course, but just as picturesque. On Maui, I love the Haleakala crater state park. The Big Island is famous for the Kilauea volcano (which is NOT currently erupting since July 2019, by the way), but I also love the black sand beaches there.
As far as local food, I’d have to do a whole separate post to tell you my favorites. Just trust me when I say that it’s all ono (good). Gee, just telling you about it makes me feel like buying a plane ticket.
3. I know a few signs, but I always tell people that I think kids should learn ASL from Kindergarten through high school. Are you involved in any advocacy programs that would put that in motion, or do you know of any that we can support?
Somewhere upwards of 500,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing people use ASL as their main form of communication. (Census numbers vary depending on which segment of the population you specify.)
Personally, I think it’s great when English-speaking people learn conversational phrases in the languages of the people we encounter frequently in our lives. If you have a Deaf coworker, or if students are in class with a deaf or hard of hearing classmate, it’s great to be able to talk to them directly without barriers of technology or needing an interpreter.
One thing I’m adamant about is that children who are born deaf or hard of hearing or become deaf at a young age should be exposed to ASL in their homes as early as possible. Ninety percent of deaf children are born to parents who can hear, so this means parents need to learn the language alongside their children. It’s not easy, but the family relationship and education of a child is worth the effort. Here are several places to look for more advocacy information and resources. Also, I’m happy to answer questions and comments from readers.
I know we’re talking about my mystery book, Dead Week, today, but since you brought up the part about children learning ASL, I wanted to mention the children’s picture book series I write. We just published the first one a few weeks ago called Never Mind. It’s about Duke the Deaf Dog who doesn’t like to be told “never mind.” Included the book are 10 ASL signs and access to bonus videos for children and parents who want to learn the story in ASL.
4. Do you have a favorite mystery author or mystery book series?
My all-time favorite mystery series are Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, and Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I also love John Grisham, David Baldacci, John Gilstrap, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Thanks so much for taking the time for sharing this with my readers!
About the author
KELLY BRAKENHOFF is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. Her first novel, Death by Dissertation, kicked off the Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. She also wrote Never Mind, first in a children’s picture book series featuring Duke the Deaf Dog. She serves on the Board of Editors for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf publication, VIEWs. The mother of four young adults and two dogs, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.
Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.
Website – http://kellybrakenhoff.com/
Instagram – @kellybrak
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/kellybrak
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