Bill brings the story of Hawaii alive in his history talks
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, Kaua'i Kids in Peace and WW II, Hawai'i in War and Peace, and Cult of Ku, a murder mystery. DVDs of the talks are available at the Kauai History Society office in Lihu'e for $20 each. Contact Bill to arrange a talk for your group.
"I saw a side of Kaua'i tourists never notice," said one person.
"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 Kaua'i Historical Society, is a member of the State of Hawai'i Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, and serves on the board of Hale 'Opio, a social services agency.
Forbes Magazine designated Kapa'a 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 Kaua'i, Hawaii. I graduated from Kamehameha High School and Stanford University 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, and 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 Kapa'a describes my familiy'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. Kaua'i Kids in Peace and WW II 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. I end this book as I fly off to Honolulu to attend Kamehameha Schools in 1944.
When I land in Honolulu, my next memoir begins: Hawai'i 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 as they didn't like locals. It was a complete contrast to my life on Kaua'i. We could not use the beach and 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 and I headed to Stanford University in 1949.
My first novel, Cult of Ku, features gruesome murders of the political elite in Honolulu in 1920. The hero, Grant, is accused of murdering his grandmother after she threatens to disinherit him. Released from jail he knows 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 marial 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.
Soon after finishing Cult of Ku, I began to think about what would happen to the characters later...so I am busy writing a sequel set in the 1930s Honolulu based on the true murder of an innocent Hawaiian man accused of rape.
John Tana, An Adventure Novel of Old Hawai'i is the first in a series featuring the impact of the Western world on the indigenous people, the Hawaiians. My hero, age seventeen, is an orphan farming on his Maui kuleana, inherited land. A man on horseback arrives, cracks his whip,and tells him a sugar baron now owns the land. This begins his struggle to understand and try to adapt to Western capitalism and religion. He paddles his canoe to Lahaina where sailors and whalers harass him. He befriends a Chinese man, meets a beautiul cousin, and learns about Christian mores. When the sugar baron's henchman hired to kill him arrives, John realizes he must leave, and paddles to Oahu. There life is more complicated. He eventually seeks peace by paddling to Kaua'i where the book ends. Sequel to follow.
Oh, and I also give talks where I chant an oli (Hawaiian chant I composed), show a slide show, and get the audience to sing a little. Lots of fun.
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 breezes, trying to write about it all. How blessed!
Me ke aloha pumehana - May you be surrounded by love.
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