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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Miranda’s Novel Set In Ewa Beach

Tyler Miranda

Author Tyler Miranda may be living far from his childhood home of Ewa Beach these days, but judging by his recently published first novel, it seems that home has never been far from his mind.

Miranda, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, is returning to the Islands later this week for a series of five speaking engagements about the book, ‘Ewa Which Way, which was released this month by local publisher Bamboo Ridge Press.

A coming-of-age story, it centers on two brothers in a local Portuguese family growing up in the early 1980s. As a result of financial troubles, the family is forced to move to Ewa Beach from town. The boys learn to navigate their new lives while dealing with ethnic tensions, domestic violence and other problems at home.

“The main character is trying to (protect) his younger brother against some of that stuff,” Miranda explained. “As the story goes on, it gets more and more difficult for him to try to help his brother … And he himself is starting to have issues.”

Miranda’s speaking engagements include two West Oahu venues: 10:30 a.m. this Saturday at Kapolei Library and 12:30 p.m. at UH-West Oahu next Tuesday (April 23) in Room D-237.

Like his characters, Miranda is Portuguese and grew up in Ewa Beach, where he lived before moving to Wahiawa at age 13. Miranda said that the locale and some of the characters were inspired by his real life, but that the book is mostly fictional.

“The main character was inspired by my brother – a lot of the images of our childhood, and things he told me, and things I learned from him,” Miranda explained.

The concept for ‘Ewa Which Way dates back to the late 1990s, when Miranda took a creative writing class while earning his teaching certificate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“It opened a floodgate,” he recalled about the class.

Although he had moved out of Ewa Beach nearly 15 years prior to that, his writing brought him back there, and he composed a series of poems that were inspired by his old neighborhood.

“It was like (the passing time) had never happened, and I was just cranking out those poems.

“That right there was the genesis of beginning to know these characters that were ultimately going to come out into this book,” he said.

A Mililani High School graduate, Miranda taught at Leilehua High School for more than a decade before moving to Boise in 2011 to write full time.

While at Leilehua, he shared his passion for writing with his students, teaching courses that include English, Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, and Creative Writing.

Prior to ‘Ewa Which Way, Miranda had published poetry and short fiction in local literary journals, starting in 1999.

Most recently, he finished writing a second novel and currently is working on shorter pieces.

Miranda’s return to Hawaii this week will mark his first time back since moving to Boise.

At each event, he will be reading excerpts from ‘Ewa Which Way, as well as sharing new poetry and other works.

“Also I am hoping that people will have questions and that we can talk. That would be ideal – to talk about writing, talk about process,” he said.

“I am very excited … I will be reading, but I also will be hopefully talking, in the spirit of the true Portuguese, I guess,” Miranda joked, laughing.

In addition to the events at Kapolei Library and UH-West Oahu, fans also can catch him at 3 p.m. Sunday at Native Books in Ward Warehouse, 3:15 p.m. Monday at Kapiolani Community College (in the Lama Library Alcove).

At 3 p.m. April 24 at UH Manoa in Kuykendall 410, the new novelist will participate in a colloquium arranged and presented by the Department of English.

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