Scenes of Kaua'i                                                                    


Hawaii Like You've
Never Read about It Before

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Kauai born and raised, Bill Fernandez writes memoirs and novels set in the islands as he enjoys the ocean breezes in the old house his mother bought with her pineapple earnings. His early years exploring the ocean, making kites, paddling tin canoes made from corrugated roofing, and shining GI shoes are brought to life in his memoirs: Rainbows Over Kapaa, Kaua'i Kids in Peace and WW Two, Hawai'i in War and Peace. In 1939, Bill's parents built Roxy, a large movie theater in Kapa'a, a center of entertainment for the thousands of GIs who came to protect against a feared Japanese invasion after Pearl Harbor. Old photographs are intriguing.

The heroes of his historical novels are young Hawaiian men trying to figure out how to surivive when Western capitalists and religion sweep over the islands in the 18th to early 20th centuries. Each novel is set in a true, specific time period affecting Native Hawaiians, well-researched by the author.  Hawaiians fell to the bottom of the plantation-dominated world built on Hawaiian land, a feeling still present today.

Splintered Paddle: When the minor chief Kamehameha sees Western weapons are better than spears, he slowly suceeds in uniting the islands under his rule. Hero Kalani Tana at the warrior school must join the forces to protect his widowed mother and sister from slavery. The author brings the intense battles to life. In Conquest, the complex battles with many chiefs on the island of Oahu climax on the top of a cliff. Decades later, the discovery during construction of many bodies below disproved the "legend" theory.

John Tana is chased off his inherited farm by men on horseback snapping whips in the Great Mahele era (mid 1800s when the King agreed to allow private ownership of land.) To escape a hired killer, he sails to Honolulu and later, to Kauai. Traditional religious beliefs do not blend well with Christianity. (Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai.) Despite trying to survive by seeking legal help, he loses his farm. The overthrow of the monarchy gives him a last chance for justice. (Hawaiian Rebellions).

In the 20th century, hero Grant Kingsley seeks justice when accused of ritual murders (Cult of Ku), and worries about the fate of the Hawaiian Joseph Kahahawai in the Masse cases (Crime & Punishment in Hawaii). Locals see that white people can kill locals and get away with it. In Hanapepe, on Kaua'i, the murders of striking Philippino plantation workers and Grant's father seem related. (Terrorism in Paradise).

Bill's newest novel, The Awakening, is a prequel to End of the Gods (the overthrow of the Ku religion). The combination of Western sailing ships and increasing Ku cruelty in the early 1800s  stirs some Hawaiians to seek an overthrow of the religion. In this prequel, a teen sandalwood slave saves his life by jumping off a cliff to escape Ku killers. On the way to Canton, China, he learns to read and speak English, and learns that people seek freedom from tyranny. After many adventures and narrow escapes, he returns to Hawaii where the Regent and High Priest are moving to eliminate the Ku religion.
End of the Gods reveals many do support Ku  which leads to a Civil War.


The Hawaiian islands are more than sandy beaches and stunning views. Ever since Captain Cook first stumbled upon the islands in 1778, native Hawaiians have struggled to adapt from their isolated lives to capitalism and Christianity. They learned quickly but succumbed to foreign diseases which left them powerless. Wooden clubs embedded with shark teeth were no match for metal weapons and ammunition. As you read the well-researched stories, you will feel the frustrations and injustices of the complex story of the islands. Many know Michener's book: Hawaii, written in an era when historical materials in the Hawaiian language were not available, and many early sources were out of print. In recent years the sources have been translated and reprinted. To understand the true island history, the viewpoint of native Hawaiians, Bill is invaluable.



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