In addition to writing historical novels from the perspective of a native Hawaiian, Bill enjoys giving talks about Hawaiian history with anyone wanting to learn more about this great state and native Hawaiians. You're welcome to contact Bill to set up a time and date. No charge. A beautiful PowerPoint slide show plus a chant and some singing create a lively talk.
Rainbows Over Kapaa, From Poi to Pineapple, Hawaiian Sovereignty, Kauai Kids in Peace and WW II, Hawaii in War and Peace, and the novel series of Grant Kingsley (Cult of Ku, a murder mystery; Crime & Punishment in Hawaii; and (new) Terrorism in Paradise), and John Tana (An Adventure Novel of Old Hawaii; Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai; and Hawaiian Rebellions); Splintered Paddle, a novel of Kamehameha the Great, and Conquest, a sequel. DVDs of the talks are available at $20 each at the Kauai Historical Society, Lihue. Contact Bill to arrange a talk for your group.
"I saw a side of Kauai tourists never notice," said one reader.
"I learn so much about the Hawaiian story while reading his novels because Bill weaves the history into the fast-paced stories."
"Bill's voice is so deep and beautiful, I loved his singing, and his chanting made my skin tingle."
Bill served as President of the Kauai Historical Society, is a member of the State of Hawaii Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, and serves on the board of Hale Opio, a social services agency, and the Kauai Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. He was honored by his high school, Kamehameha Schools, as Most Distinguished Alumnus in 2020.
Forbes Magazine designated Kapaa as "Among the 15 Prettiest Towns in America" in Sept. 2013.
A Word from the Author
I was lucky to be born on a tiny dot in the Pacific Ocean called Kauai, Hawaii. I graduated from Kamehameha High School and Stanford University and its law school, then practiced law and became a judge in California.
I'm back home living in my mother's old house by the ocean. My wife, Judie, and I have a lot of fun creating the books and talks. I love history. My formative years were impacted by the Pearl Harbor bombing and living on an island with thousands of GIs under martial law. My first three published books are memoirs describing the pre-war and war years in the islands.
Rainbows Over Kapaa describes my family's movie theater, Roxy, built in 1939. More than 1,000 seats, on a tiny island, it was a big risk. Just before foreclosure, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and months later thousands of GIs arrived. Bored on this tiny island, they kept Roxy hopping. I learned to shine shoes, buy candy and cigarettes for the soldiers. They opened my eyes to the big world out there as they were from Brooklyn and described city life. The fear of invasion, blackouts, beaches blocked by barbed wire, and gas masks replaced my carefree ocean play. Lots of old photographs.
My barefoot stories and the family movie theater bring laughter and good times as you learn how to make a tin canoe or challenge the sugar cane trains on the bridges. Kauai Kids in Peace and WW Two makes me wonder how I survived challenging sugarcane trains, learning to surf, kite fighting, and dodging the armed military patrols as I sneaked onto the beach at night. Part II, is serious, dedicated to the courageous Nisei soldiers. My Japanese-American friends and family faced racism and possible internment. The story closes when I fly to Honolulu to attend Kamehameha Schools in 1944.
When I land in Honolulu, my next memoir begins: Hawaii in War and Peace. My high school years in Honolulu during World War Two challenged me. The military regimen at Kamehameha Schools for children of Hawaiian ancestry was stressful. The city full of thousands of GIs and sailors was tense. Many of them did not like mixed race locals, unllike life on Kauai. Beaches were off limits (fear of Japanese invasion) and Hawaiians were unwelcome in Waikiki. I learned about the Honolulu Harlot, politics, racism, and how to maneuver in a complicated world. A family driving trip around the continental U.S.in 1948 caused me to wonder where I belonged when I witnessed anti-Semitism and the segregated South. But there were also wonderful moments diving in the ocean which convinced me I should stay home and become a fisherman. My parents had other ideas. I headed to Stanford University in 1949.
I turned to writing novels - three series: Grant Kingsley, John Tana, and Kalani (Kamehameha era).
The Grant Kingsley series: Hero Grant Kingsley is the son of a prominent Caucasian sugar planter who has led a comfortable life as one of the island elites. The youngest of three children whose mother was half Hawaiian, some notice he is different from the first two.
Cult of Ku, Gruesome murders strike the political elite in Honolulu in 1920 when Grant returns from serving in the Army and after law school.. Grant, is accused of murdering his grandmother after she threatens to disinherit him. He must find the real killer or face trial for several murders of the powerful Caucasian elite. The history of anti-unionism of the plantations, the multi-cultural society, and ancient Native Hawaiian rituals and martial arts plus the advancing winds of war carry the reader into a complex world. A dramatic ocean-side fight at an ancient temple reveals the murderer and the motive.
Crime & Punishment in Hawaii, the second novel in the Grant Kingsley series, is set in 1930s Honolulu when two dramatic real life criminal cases were in the news. The verdict and leniency afterward shocked the local population: whites could even murder a local and get away with it. Woven into the true life cases is a fictional story of Grant Kingsley and his family who become targets of bootleggers.
Terrorism in Paradise, interweaves real plantation violence against striking Filipino workers in 1924, the Hanapepe Massacre, with the fictional murder of Grant Kingsley's father. Grant must find the killer's identity before the plantations convince the police to arrest all Japanese plantation workers. The violence of plantations in Hawaii and the Philippines makes Grant wonder who the real terrorists are.
My second noveI series: John Tana, a trilogy about the impact of Westernization on native Hawaiians.
John Tana, An Adventure Novel of Old Hawaii, opens the series. In the mid-1800s, the seventeen-year-old orphan hero is kicked off his inherited farm, a kuleana, by a sugar baron. He struggles to understand why and tries to adapt to Western capitalism and religion. After many misadventures and temptations, John sails his canoe to the island of Oahu where he finds Honolulu is challenging. He complicates his love life. To avoid a killer, John sails to Kauai.
Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai, Book Two of the trilogy: John seeks a peaceful life but finds Kauai is a mysterious, ghostly place of wild boars, sharp mountain peaks hidden by clouds, roaring surf, and traditional Hawaiian beliefs in curses and kahunas. He encounters immigrant Chinese plantation workers, the powerful white elite sugar barons, learns about leprosy, and marries. His Christian beliefs are not accepted by his new family.
Hawaiian Rebellions, Book Three of the trilogy: set during the last years of the 1800s as plantations are devouring land and Hawaiian water. John encounters two frightening groups following the old ways. Tattooed men attack, seeking human sacrificial victims and bring a worse scourge: disease. Thousands of Hawaiian leprosy victims are being sent to a remote island for life. Some hide in the remote Kauai valley Kalalau. When John's lawsuit brought to recover his farm water ends, he reaches his limits. How can he survive? Then the businessmen overthrow the monarchy.
Two novels (plus one more) are set during Kamehameha's battles to unite the islands in the late 1700s.
Splintered Paddle, a novel of Kamehameha the Great: 1790: Kamehameha's efforts to unite the islands is at a stalemate. He witnesses the metal cannon and muskets on Western sailing ships destroy "from afar" and realizes he can win with those weapons. This novel opens when Kalani, a seventeen-year-old orphan, is sent to the warrior school in order to earn the award of being a "black land chief" and save his mother and sisters from slavery. When Kamehameha selects him to be in charge of the western weapons. The battles are fictionalized historical battles at various dramatic parts of the islands of Hawaii and Maui: mountains, ocean, plains, and a volcano. Human sacrifice shocks him, and he learns about the treachery of men and women.
Conquest, a sequel to Splintered Paddle: Kalani and his wife are settled on farmland awarded to him by Kamehameha when a night-time attack by tattooed warriors who set everything afire and kill those escaping. Kalani vows revenge. A chief tries to kill him, a former lover rescues him, he is asked to spy for Kamehameha, and meets British Captain Vancouver in the period when Oahu becomes the next battlefield to unify the islands. Many twists and turns occur with treachery threatening him until the final, dramatic battle as warriors advance to the cliffs of Nuuanu.
The End of the Gods, third in this series, is expected to be published in late 2021.
So, as I look back on my late teenage years when I wanted nothing more than to be a fisherman, I realize that facing the challenge of Stanford, its law school, the practice of law in California, and then serving as a judge, led to my development as a person, and to a legal career where I believe I benefited society. All in all, it was a very wise decision to listen to my parents and attend college, an opportunity they never had. I learned so much about the world and people. Now I am back home near the ocean and enjoy a relaxed life with my wife, Judie.
Me ke aloha pumehana - May you be surrounded by love.
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