Colorado Springs, Colorado — Former Hawaii Realtor Madge Walls’ debut novel Paying the  Price received the coveted Honolulu Advertiser’s Ka Palapala Po’okela Reader’s Choice Award at the Hawaii Book Publishers Association annual awards ceremony on Friday, October 29, 2006 in Honolulu. The book received about 10 percent of the votes cast, both within Hawaii and from across the country.

Paying the Price vividly illustrates the daily life of a Realtor in Hawaii. Add a heaping helping of mother-daughter conflict, plus a quirky seller and bossy buyers, and the sum is a lively read on an armchair trip to the Valley Isle.

On the day Maui Realtor Laura McDaniel makes the most difficult sale of her career, her 19 year old runaway daughter Annie returns, distraught and pregnant. When Annie disappears again after giving birth, Laura faces the overwhelming possibility of raising her granddaughter alone while trying to stay afloat in an all-consuming profession. As the surprises keep coming, you’ll cheer Laura all the way to closing.

Walls was inspired to write this novel when a search for novels in which a Realtor is a main character, not to mention a likeable person, resulted in a discouragingly short stack.

“You rarely find a Realtor as a main character in fiction, yet in real life they get involved in all kinds of outrageous professional situations,” she says. “The occasional Realtor in fiction is over dressed, overly made-up, overly jeweled, nasty and ill behaved - generally a sleazeball.

“Other stories don’t give a realistic picture of the real estate business itself, Jane Smiley’s Good Faith being a welcome exception. I just know that over a million members of the National Association of Realtors are waiting for a story in which a Realtor is a good, hard working person.”

But the heroine’s profession doesn’t limit the book’s appeal. The genre is mainstream fiction. In the tradition of Jacqueline Mitchard's Deep End of the Ocean, prayers are answered when a missing child returns, but by then it’s too late — everyone is irrevocably changed.

Laura’s conflicted relationship with her daughter and her sudden need to care for her abandoned granddaughter add to the tension of working with impossibly difficult buyers and sellers. Grandparents raising grandchildren is an alarming issue these days, says Walls, with so many young parents incapacitated by drugs, jail or irresponsibility.

As a licensed Realtor on Maui for 14 years, Walls knows first hand the joys and difficulties of the profession. She was associated with The Prudential Locations during most of her Island real estate career. The market in Hawaii is lively, extremely highly priced, and attracts an international clientele.

As for the novel's Island setting, Walls found that people on the mainland are endlessly fascinated by her tales of growing up in Hawaii, where her grandparents settled in 1923.

“Life is wonderful and different amid the swirling cross-cultural currents,” she says. “I portrayed it as I lived it: the good, the bad, and the exotic. The setting creates a compelling sub-texture without overwhelming the story. No, there are no menehunes or kahunas — just regular people working through life’s challenges in a very special place.”

And Pidgin English? “Of course, but not too much,” says Walls. “Growing up barefooted in Hilo and Honolulu, this was everyday stuff. Laura wouldn’t be true to life without some dialogue in Pidgin. When the novel is recorded, it will have to be by someone local.” A glossary of commonly used Hawaiian words and “local” expressions is included.

For five years Walls was a freelance writer for the Maui News. She has written three non-fiction books of Island interest, including her Hawaii Real Estate Exam Book: A Study Guide to the State Section of the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam. In 1997 she won the grand prize in the Maui Writers Guild’s "Solid Fiction" Short Story Contest, chaired by Liz Engstrom, faculty member of the Maui Writers Conference. A second novel, a sequel to Paying the Price, is in the works.

Walls is the granddaughter and namesake of Madge Tennent, Hawaii’s celebrated artist who was recently recognized by the Honolulu Centennial Celebration Commission as one of the 100 notable people who made contributions to the city of Honolulu over its 100-year history. She relocated to Colorado in 2001 to be closer to her grown children and grandchildren and where she worked for a builder of new homes in Colorado Springs. In 2009 she relocated to Wilsonville, Oregon, again following the children and grandchildren. Here she’ll stay, she says.

From Mac Lowson, president of the Hawaii Association of Realtors, 2005: “Madge Walls’ Paying the Price is a must read for all Real Estate Agents, prospective buyers and sellers. While enjoying a good story, you will learn more about buying and selling real estate than any course you could take.”

Kathy Brandt, author of Dangerous Depths, an Underwater Investigation, writes: “A real life heroine, finely drawn characters, and the cutthroat world of real estate set in a Hawaiian paradise make Paying the Price an impressive debut! Walls writes a compelling story about the challenges of parenting and the heartbreak of letting go.”

Paying the Price also received an EVVY Award of Merit from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) in 2006.  CIPA is based in Denver with national outreach, and provides education, encouragement and support to independent publishers and authors.

Paying the Price is available at

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