Scenes of Kaua'i                                                                    

                                          

Hawaii Like You've
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Kapaa, HI 96746-1521

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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 novels are young Hawaiian men trying to figure out how to surivive when Western capitalists and religion sweep over the islands in the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Hawaiians fell to the bottom of the plantation-dominated world on Hawaiian land and many still feel that way. Kalani Tana becomes a warrior for Kamehameha during the wars to unite the islands and joins a conspiracy to overthrow the god Ku (Splintered Paddle, Conquest, End of the Gods). John Tana is chased off his inherited farm by men with whips on horseback in the Great Mahele era. To escape a thug hired to kill him he sails to Honolulu and then 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, 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. The murder of striking Phillipino plantation workers and Grant's father seem related. (Terrorism in Paradise)

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 island history, the viewpoint of native Hawaiians, Bill is invaluable.

Two historical novels, Splintered Paddle and Conquest, are set in the tumultuous years of the late 18th century when Kamehameha the Great began fighting island chiefs to unite the islands. Kalani Tana is the reluctant hero, sent to train as a warrior to protect his mother and sisters from slavery. He learns how to use Western guns, is repulsed by human sacrifice, treachery, and is rewarded with farmland when made a "black land chief". But domestic bliss ends with a firey attack. His hunt for the secret killers leads to Captain Vancouver, spying for Kamehameha, and the battle of Nuuanu at an Oahu cliff's edge. The author makes good use of his hobby, historic military battles.

The newest Kalani Tana novel, End of the Gods, NOW IN PRINT!  1819: Hero Kalani left the islands after his wife was killed and sailed on whaling ships. While in Chinese waters, he learns about Buddhism. It is time to return to the islands and reunite with his son and daughter. He finds a different world run by newcomers that entice whalers: bars, gambling, and women. He reunites with his son who manages the farm but cannot find his daughter. The god Ku now dominates life. Violate one of the many kapu (taboos) and instant death strikes. Kalani joins the conspiracy to overthrow the gods which leads to civil war. Meanwhile, six thousand miles away, Christian missionaries set sail in 1820 to bring Jesus to the savages.

About Bill

Bill Fernandez loves to talk about his barefoot days in Kapa'a, so please feel free to ask him about them!  People love kanikapila (singing) as he describes his special island world in a simpler time before television, when plantations ruled. Enjoy stories about hukilau, ocean adventures,rooster fights  the complicated multi-cultural world of the islands, delicious food, the movies, GIs,shamans, and storms. "E Komo Mai," come to his house. Read his stories. Mahalo and aloha!

His Life
When Bill was born, it was the heyday of the sugar plantations on Kauai. His part-Hawaiian parents operated a movie theater in thesmall, multi-racial town of Kapa'a. The town mirrored the rainbow society of Hawaii produced by the importation of foreign workers to work on the plantations. Everyone struggled, all shared. This small town boy became a judge in California.

Fishing, Bill Fernandez Hawaiian Author in Kapaa, HI

Barefoot and brown as a nut, Bill's family and friends were a mix of many colors, religions, and cultures. Kids in the neighborhood enjoyed Japanese noodle soup, Chinese char su pork, poi and kalua pig. His family ancestors include Native Hawaiian, French, Portugese, German, and Irish. Marriage brought in Japanese and Filippino. The Native Hawaiian aloha spirit means sharing in a loving way without expecting anything in return. It was an ideal world on an island of stunning beauty surrounded by a huge ocean. There was little money and no stores to spend it in, so he learned how to make do. His first surf board was an old ironing board. The war years brought many challenges, fear, racism, gas masks, rationing, and GI money for shining shoes and runnning errands. Pineapple picking taught him the need to get an education.

His Education & Work
Realizing the value of an education, his family sent him to the continental U.S. after he graduated from Kamehameha Schools for children of Native Hawaiian blood. Bill graduated from Stanford University with a law degree then settled in Sunnyvale, California, where he served as mayor. Bill soon was appointed a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County.

However, his success left a sense of emptiness within him. Native Hawaiians, who shared everything and never owned anything, were drowning in a new culture of capitalism and private property. His solution was to write novels depicting common Hawaiians' points of view as they struggled to adapt to changing times and politics. He recently started composing Hawaiian poetry in the form of oli (chants) even though he never spoke Hawaiian as he grew up. With his wife, Judith, he created talks explaining the Native Hawaiian history up to the modern Sovereignty movement. His oli and the slide show bring it all to life. People love his singing. 

Bill has served as president and member of the board of the Kaua'i Historical Society and was recently appointed by the governor to the Juvenile Justice State Advisory Commission. He also serves on the board of a family service agency on Kaua'i, Hale 'Opio and is on the board of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.

Bill presented lectures on Writing Memoirs, and Digital Marketing of Your Book at the Rose College, Oklahoma, Writers Conference in late Sept. 2013.

In June, 2019, Kamehameha Schools named him "A Most Distinguished Alumnus" at the annual June reunion. Bill is of the Class of '49 and was deeply honored by this.

Call or e-mail Bill Fernandez Hawaiian Author in Kapaa, Hawaii, for more information about his work as a Hawaiian author.