Scenes of Kaua'i                                                                    

                                          

Hawaii Like You've
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Captain   The Kauai Made Products seal is awarded to products unique to Kauai, using Kauai products and made on the island.

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 Kapa'a, 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.

The heroes of his novels are young Hawaiian men trying to figure out and surivive when Western capitalists and religion sweep over the islands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hawaiians find themselves at the bottom of the plantation-dominated world on Hawaiian land. The struggles begin when the young Hawaiian man, John Tana  is kicked off his inherited farm by rugged men with whips.

The Hawaiian islands are more than sandy beaches and stunning views. Ever since the Hawaiian Islands were first stumbled upon by Captain Cook, the native Hawaiians have struggled to adapt from their isolated lives to world politics of capitalism and expansion of 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 experience the frustrations and benefits of the complex history of the islands. Many know Michener's book: Hawaii, which was 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 re-printed. To understand the island history, the viewpoint of native Hawaiian Bill is invaluable.

The most recent novels, Splintered Paddle and Conquest, are set in the tumultuous years of the late 18th c. 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.

A third novel in this Kamehameha series is End of the Gods, expected to be in print by mid-2021. When Christian missionaries arrive in 1820 they find whalers, bars, half-naked people, and the religious temples (heiau) and icons lying in ruin.



Each of my books was selected to participate in the Kaua'i Made Approved Products Program.

Splintered Paddle

Splintered Paddle, a novel of Kamehameha the Great

Set in 1790, on Hawaii Island when Kamehameha the Great seeks to unite the Hawaiian islands into one nation. For eight years he has not succeeded using traditional (and the only) weapons in close combat: stones, wooden clubs and spears, and shark teeth. Then Western sailing ships appear with metal cannon, muskets and gunpowder. When he sees the destruction "from afar" he knows he can win with these weapons. He chooses Kalani, a seventeen-year-old student in his military school, to be in charge. Sent to the school by his mother, he needs to become a great warrior and be awarded land as a "black land chief" to save his mother and sisters from slavery. As a commoner, his horizons are very limited. Kalani meets a slave boy who explains that religious human sacrifices are required before every battle. Kalani is horrified.

As Kalani fights in the historical battles in the mountains, ocean, beach, and even volcano, he must maneuver away from the treachery of men and women, including a royal wife and princess, and other women.

When he hears Kamehameha issue the Law of the Splintered Paddle ("Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety.") to end the brutality toward non-combatants, Kalani begins to hope that he can win land and end slavery.

Note: This law became part of the Hawaii State Constitution, and is the basis of social programs of the state.

NEW !!!        CONQUEST  - a novel of Kamehameha the Great 

This historical novel set in 1793, continues the saga of Kamehameha as he seeks to unite the chain of the Hawaiian Islands (Splintered Paddle). Hero Kalani and his wife have settled onto his farmland on Maui, seeking a peaceful life.

In the night, Kalani wakens to the horror of torch-carrying attackers setting fire to his Maui village. Those trying to escape are killed by tattooed, masked men. Burnt to death is his wife. His dream of a peaceful life free from battles is ended. Were the killers a fierce, secret warrior group, the pahupu? Kalani sets out to find and kill them.

To escape from murder by a high chief who acuses him of heresy and a false noble status - wearing a feather cloak and helmet - Kalani seeks the aid of one of Kamehameha's wives, a former lover. On a search to find pahupu, an English sea captain, Vancouver, takes a liking to him and asks him to find the killers of crew members. A twisted path unfolds as he searches for the killers of his wife and aids Vancouver. Peace in the islands is shattered by the king of Oahu. He threatens Kamehameha, leading to great battles in Waikiki and the cliffs of Nuuanu.Throughout the ordeals, Kalani realizes that his risky adventures in the past led to the deaths of people he loved.                                              Note: The battles are based on historical battles.

"...derring-do of a warrior...most tumultuous time in the history of Hawaii...historically true, offering rich details...engrossing..enjoy this hero's tale." (Emphasis added.) Kirkus Review

 

John Tana

John Tana, An Adventure Novel of Old Hawaii - a trilogy

A sugar baron kicks seventeen-year-old orphan John Tana off his farmland on Maui in the mid-1800s, forcing an abrupt confrontation with the dramatic change in Hawaiian Kingdom land control, the Great Mahele. Western capitalism and religion clash with the communal lifestyle of sharing among the common people. John sails to Lahaina on the south side of Maui to find distant relatives. Western whalers and seamen rule the town, torment him, and try to shanghai him. He meets a beautiful cousin but learns that the Western religion forbids a  relationship. The sugar baron sends a thug to kill him.

John escapes in his canoe to Oahu with the family and settles in Honolulu. Life is more complicated. He meets a future king, a Hawaiian lawyer, a French girl, joins a militia, studies the martial art of lua, and discovers the truth about the young woman he loves when her locket's story is revealed. The sugar baron's hired killer ambushes him.

After a dramatic fight, John knows that he must leave, and sets off once again in his canoe, heading for the island of Kauai to find peace.

Book Two of the John Tana trilogy, Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai 

Sugar plantations are expanding on the island of Kauai and need security to contend with the immigrant Chinese laborers stirring up trouble. John's lua skills qualify him but he needs to learn Western ways to be accepted by Caucasian sugar barons. He marries and settles down on a farm but must contend with his wife's loyalty to traditional Hawaiian beliefs in curses, kahunas, and other mysteries. When an octopus drags someone down into the water, family seeks a kahuna for guidance. A baptized Christian, John tries to convince his wife superstitions are not true. A boar hunt which ends when a pueo (owl) flies above ends in a death. John gets blamed. A brush with a shark makes John wonder about this world. He sees the isolation of many Hawaiians on the island of Molokai due to leprosy. A French friend explains America's plan of Manifest DestinyCan John settle into a peaceful life on this island?

Kauai is an island of swirling clouds among mountain peaks where birds dart and the echo of the pounding surf sounds like the gods talking, a place of mysterious happenings.

        

Book Three of the John Tana trilogy, Hawaiian Rebellions

This historical novel is set in the late 1800when plantations are devouring Hawaiian land and Hawaiian water. They create problems for John who seeks legal help. Sugar planters want annexation to America (and John's death).

Followers of the old religion attack, including tattooed warriors seeking sacrifices for the gods. When leprosy strikes thousands of Hawaiians, John learns the Board of Health imprisons the victims for life on a remote island, but some take refuge in a remote valley on Kauai. A violent military-style attack on them stuns John who feels pushed beyond his limits.

Not even a reunion with his beloved Leinani can ease his pain.

Then the monarchy is overthrown. He feels trapped between the old religion and new world.

           

Cult of Kua Grant Kingsley novel 

When a series of cult-like murders occur in 1920 Honolulu, police suspect the hero, Grant Kingsley, son of a prominent sugar baron. Arrested for the brutal murder of his grandmother who threatened to disinherit him because of his ancestry, then released, Grant seeks the killer's identity: A note at the scene from KU promises more murders.

The search reveals the criminal underworld, the hard life of imported plantation labor and efforts to form unions, and leads to a Euro-Asian scholar who helps him find the killer. Raised in an elite Caucasian world, Grant begins to meet Native Hawaiians when he surfs. As more murders of politically elite occur, with the same note from "Ku" promising more murders, Grant must solve the mystery before social pressure leads to his arrest again.

Set in a period when the overthrow of the monarchy and racism still sting, Grant searches for his own place in Honolulu society, torn by loyalty to his family and his discovery of his Hawaiian side.

Crime & Punishement in Hawaii, a Grant Kingsley novel

In 1931 Grant Kingsley and a friend are attacked by bootleggers while spearfishing. He tries to find the killers and gets entangled in a federal investigation of mob influence in the islands which leads to violence against his family. Honolulu during 1931-33 draws national attention due to two real life cases  known as  "The Massie Cases" when a Navy officer's wife, Thalia Massie, accuses five local minority men of rape. 

The image of Paradise turns ugly as racism in the islands and continental USA surfaces. When the jury cannot reach a verdict against the five men, a violent reaction across America leads to demands for martial law in the islands. Grant Kingsley's twelve-year-old son and his "local" friends worry about the safety of the accused men and their own as well. When one of the accused men, a Hawaiian named Joseph Kahahawai, is murdered, the young men recognize there is a two-tiered soceity with no justice for locals. The famous lawyer, Clarence Darrow arrives to defend the killers, the Massies. Grant and his family struggle with the urge for revenge on the bootleggers who attack his family. The Massie trial reveals the painful conflict between rule of law and revenge.

Grant wonders how he can make the future of his son and friends better than the hard life and poverty of plantation work. 

Terrorism in Paradise,  a Grant Kingsley novel

The true story of the Hanapepe Massacre of striking Filipino plantation workers in 1924 is the background of this fast-paced novel.

The early 1900s saw protests by workers world-wide, inspired by Communism. Hawaii Plantations imported thousands of workers, many from Asia. Cheap pay and long work hours created big profits. Protests began against low pay, unsanitary lilving conditions,  and miserable, long hours in the hot sun.They were met with violence.

When hero Grant Kingsley's plantation owner father is killed in an explosion during a period of tense Filipino worker strikes, he and Detective Asing rush to find the killer(s). Then the homes of some owners are bombed.

Grant wonders if it is the work of strikers related to the Hanapepe Massacre, or a loner with other motives. More explosions occur. Plantations demand that all Japanese workers be arrested. The "divide and conquer" control over workers by importing workers speaking different languages has worked in the past. 

Grant begins to wonder who are the real terrorists.

            

Hawaii in War and Peace, a memoir

My high school years in Honolulu at Kamehameha Schools (1944-1949) exposed me to streets crowded with GIs and all the chaos that brings. The animosity between the GIs and locals surprised me, my school uniform and shoes irritated me. But I learned a lot about world politics, girls, and dove for coins when the Lurline arrived.

Spearfishing adventures provided relief and a desire to be a fisherman. My parents had other ideas. While on a driving trip on the continent, I witnessed racism which made me wonder about my place in life. Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, the South, Mexico - the insulting treatment of non-whites and Jews made me feel unsafe. I wondered if I could handle being at Stanford University.

My last summer before college was filled with glorious spearfishing and hiking. I began to consider running away to Alaska. But life had other plans and I found myself trudging up Palm Drive heading to my dormitory. Within minutes, I met a man I had only read about. I had made the right decision.

Old photographs include the author, age 17, on the steps of the United States Supreme Court.

Kauai Kids in Peace and WW Two,  a memoir

My first ten years on Kauai were barefoot and spent exploring the reefs, making kite, and surfing on an old wooden ironing board. Then in 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor  changed our lives: fears: of invasion, internment, military rule, rationing, blackouts, and learning to use a gas mask. Pineapple picking taught me to work hard from age 13.

My parents' big theater, Roxy, in Kapaa, was a failure until 40,000 GIs landed to protect us and for jungle warfare training. I developed entrepreneurial skills as a shoeshine boy and ran errands buying cigarettes and candy for GIs. My pals and I mimicked the machine gun nest at the reef near my home - we dug a hole in the sand and placed large palm branches for a roof. The islands were 40% Japanese originally imported for plantation labor. They proved their loyalty to America by enlisting in the military and earning more medals for units of their size than any other. Part II is dedicated to the Nisei soldiers. My story closes when I am sent to Honolulu to attend Kamehameha Schools for children of Hawaiian ancestry. I didn't want to go.

Many old photographs.

Rainbows Over Kapaa, a memoir

Kapaa,Kauai in the 1930s and 1940s was a small mixed-race town on a plantation island - no radio or tv, few cars - a simple life.

But I lived next to the Pacific Ocean which was my playground. My Hawaiian-Portuguese-French family built one of the largest movie theaters in the islands in 1939, Roxy. The theater and my small island life created a unique childhood shared with many friends. We challenged sugar trains, fought off imaginary enemy soldiers, surfed, flew kites made with poi, and ate ono (delicious) food.

The small community of Kapaa wasn't big enough to fill the 1,050 seat theater. My family had a strong desire to succeed as half-native Hawaiians in a plantation-controlled society on an island, Territory of the United States.  As the bank started to foreclose in 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and within a few months, the island was filled with GIs  seeking entertainment. My friends and I had many adventures during those years despite the fears and stress. The story of the Roxy ends when Hurricane Iniki strikes in 1992.

Filled with old photographs.