Character Interview: Jennifer Akihara from On the Pineapple Express
You recently found yourself in a precarious situation dealing not only with nature but with some very dangerous and evil men? Care to tell us what led you into this fight?
My name is Jennifer Akihara. Soon to be Jennifer Brandt. I’m Japanese Hawaiian, raised in the Islands. When Lee Brandt and I met, I was preparing to start my PhD work in Computing Security. But meeting Lee seven months ago changed my plans, my life, my eternal destiny and—I’m getting off track. After a cyber espionage investigation brought us together, Lee and I started courting. Then I took a job as a research scientist with NSA. They wanted me to apply my Internet forensic skills to wireless communication, and that’s when I accidentally intercepted the phone call revealing human trafficking. These people were selling girls from a remote spot on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I heard a young girl crying for help. It was like she was crying out to me, pleading with me. We didn’t have enough information to convince the FBI to stop the next scheduled sale of girls, so Lee and I went to get the needed evidence. We got a little more than we bargained for — heavily armed international criminals and a 100-year storm.
As I read, I kept asking myself why you and Lee didn’t listen to the authorities in this situation. Care to tell us why you and Lee would risk your lives and go against the advice of the FBI?
Look, I told Agent Peterson everything I knew. He said it wasn’t enough. He couldn’t guarantee the FBI would stop the next sale of girls. With the desperate cries of a girl echoing in your mind, begging you for help, what would you do? We had to locate the girls to get the authorities to intervene. I couldn’t have just done nothing and lived with myself. Lee knows me. He understood. And we both knew what we were risking by doing this … our future together. But, you know something; we’re an awesome team when we both commit to accomplish something.
Yes, you are. I can’t imagine facing the danger you did without having a solid faith. Can you tell your readers how you leaned upon your faith in order to do the job you felt the Lord was leading you to do? Is there scripture or a biblical concept that helped you through your ordeal?
Some people would call Lee and I fools. And that would be true if we weren’t sure God was leading us. His word says more than 400 times, “Do not be afraid.” However, even recognizing His leading doesn’t remove all the fear, but it does provide the courage to act in spite of our fears. I struggled with that several times. The worst time was when both paths before us led to certain death. How do you choose between—I’ll let you read the story, because I can’t begin to describe what happened, and some of it I don’t even remember.
So, do you plan to get yourself into such a horrendous position in the future?
Are you kidding? Right now, I just want to marry Lee and go on a long, relaxing honeymoon. Did I tell you he’s going to take me to Maui for our honeymoon? Watching the Moon over Maalaea Bay, soaking up sun, walking miles of sandy beaches, snorkeling with colorful, tropical fish swarming around us — what could possibly go wrong in a romantic island paradise like Maui?
Jennifer, I think you may be surprised. I bet you and Lee will find lots of trouble. Thank you for visiting with us today.
More about On the Pineapple Express:
In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled … permanently?
Also available Hide and Seek:
A computer security breach within a US defense contractor’s firewalls leads investigators, Lee Brandt and beautiful, brilliant Jennifer Akihara, onto the cyber-turf of terrorists, where they are detected and targeted for elimination. Lee leads them on a desperate and prayer-filled flight for survival into the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Will Jennifer’s pursuit of truth about the conspiracy, and the deepest issues of life, lead her into the clutches of terrorists, into the arms of Lee Brandt, or into the arms of the God she deems untrustworthy?
H. L. Wegley served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who, while working as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever he gets a chance, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published one non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the ’50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.