Scenes of Kaua'i                                                                    


Hawaii Like You've
Never Read about It Before

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Kapaa, HI 96746-1521

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 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.

Hawaii in War and Peace

Kirkus Reviews: 

"A young teen at a Hawaiian military school near the end of World War II contemplates his future in Fernandez's Hawai'i in War and Peace,

 the second book in his autobiographical series. 

 After retiring in California, Fernandez's father sent his 15-year-old Hawaii-born son to military school in Honolulu. It was 1944 when the world

 was still at war. But even once the war was over, Hawai'i remained at unrest: a labor union--on hold due to implementation of martial law--

 launched  a worker's strike, while a tsunami hit Kauai and Hilo. Fernandez, who'd experienced racism in Hawaii, toured the mainland U.S.

 with his family and found a nation with unbridled prejudices and discrimination. His father wanted him to study to be a lawyer, leaving

 Fernandez,  who feared Hawaiians might have no future in their homeland, to consider his options. The author's memoir is a riveting account

 of his experience in a world in disarray, both during and after the war. WW II is aptly displayed, particularly the pervasive fear of nuclear

 weapons as well as the worry of communists infiltrating America. But what makes the grandest impression is the more personal side of the

 narrative. Fernandez, for example, is Portuguese-Hawaiian, but his brown skin and surname lead some to mistake him for a Mexican, mistreating

 him accordingly. Similarly, his family witnessed a hotel clerk reject service for a Jewish couple after seeing the man's last name. In Tennessee,

 Fernandez had to stop and think about which of the segregated bathrooms he could use, while the situation in Mexico proved equally appalling:

 just the lighter-skinned citizens, it seems, had jobs or money. Particularly regaling are Fernandez's descriptions of beaches surrounded by

 barbed-wire fences and fishing near the shore. Readers will be especially intrigued by events that brought Fernandez to his transformative

 decision to attend Stanford University. 

 Engrossing and identifiable."  (Emphasis added)


Stanford Alumni Review

 "Bill Fernandez, '53, JD '55...As World War II was winding to a close, the author found himself in a strict military boarding school

in Honolulu the idyllic Hawaii of his childhood gone. Read along as he faces the changing world and discovers who he is."  

      Stanford Alumni Review "Shelf Life", online version. Sept-Oct, 2016.  (Emphasis added)

                                                                            -------------------------------------------------------------- reviews:

            My favorite is by Len Edwards: "This is the best coming-of-age story I have ever read." (Emphasis added)


Kauai Kids in Peace and WW Two  

Hawaii  Book Blog

"Fernandez does a magnificent job...recalling the details of his childhood...hard not to smile reading descriptions of how toys and

games were crafted through resourceful childhood imagination...well written...providing a strong sense of setting...Many of these

tales of innocence are punctuated with life lessons...The second the midst of World War II...the downed Zero pilot...who landed

on Niihau...terrorized the intriguing memoir...crafts a tale of rich memories and unique experiences...perpetuating the history

of Kapaa and Kauai."   (Emphasis added.)


Reader review: "This book is truly a delight. If you've ever watched an eight-year-old boy getting himself into trouble and wondered,

"What could he possibly have been thinking?", this book will provide insight. Growing up on the Garden Island as told through the

eyes  of a young boy will have you alternately laughing and crying. Bill Fernandez recounts stories of fishing, friendships, having little

but sharing all, and the quest to find Santa Claus that took him and his pal through a burning sugar cane field. This book is a wonderful 

 mixture of island history coupled with personal experience and that of an extended family. The author describes the importance of the

 ocean to Hawaiian culture. He tells of the way that the bombing of Pearl Harbor severely affected island life, bringing GIs, bomb

 shelters, curfews, rationing, and the threat of Japanese-American internment to the paradise of  Kaua'i."  (Emphasis added.)


Publishers Weekly:

 "In this candid memoir, Hawaii native Fernandez (Rainbows Over Kapaa) describes his hometown and the effects of the war on his

 childhood on the ethnically diverse island of Kauai. The narrative, which weaves childhood adventures with historical references,

 begins in peacetime with Fernandez growing up blissfully unaware of global troubles outside of his island. On an island laden with

 natural beauty, people trust ancient beliefs in kahunas, spiritual experts with "magical powers that can shrivel your body or snatch your 

 soul." Growing up surrounded by more than 20 ethnic groups, Fernandez explains "the Hawaiian way" of sharing "what you had with

 friends or strangers", though, "Unfortunately, this tendency to give without expectation of reward had led to Hawaiians living in

 poverty." Colorful recollections of learning how to swim, searching for a skyrocket-flying Santa Claus, learning about life while 

 polishing shoes for American soldiers, and his parents' investment in a New York-style theater move the narrative forward. The

 latter half of the book depicts wartime changes in his hometown after the attack on Pearl Harbor: conflicts and tension between

 residents and their Japanese neighbors who feared internment; and the effect of soldiers in town...this is an honest retelling of

 one native's experience during the war, and will be of particular interest to those interested in Hawaiian history."  (Emphasis added.)


 Stanford Alumni Review:

 "When he was still a boy, Fernandez's native Kauai was effectively isolated, offering him a fantasy-like childhood. Pearl Harbor

 changed all of that, bringing not only the outside world but American GIs, military law and the every-present threat of internment." 

               Stanford Alumni Review, "Shelf Life", onlilne version, Sept-Oct, 2016 (Emphasis added.)


Author and Creative Writing Teacher, Bill Bernhardt:

 "Kauai Kids is a delightful memoir by a talented writer with a genuine gift for capturing the spirit of a time long past.

 Bill Fernande blends authentic history with tales of innocence maturing into wisdom in the Hawaiian Islands of the 1930s

 and  1940s. This story of childhood lost will resonate with readers of all ages and cultures."  May 2013 (Emphasis added)


The Cult of Ku

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Newspaper:

"Crime Novel Explores Racism and Class Strife in 1920s Honolulu"  by Misty-Lynn Sanico:

"Kapaa native Bill Fernandez, author of Kaua'i Kids in Peace and WW Two and other hanabata-day memoirs, tackles fiction with "Cult of Ku:

A Hawaiian Murder Mystery". This time the settinig is 1920s Honolulu, a town in transition to which his protagonist Grant Kingsley, a war

hero and recent law school graduate, returns home. The scion of a wealthy sugar plantation family, Kingsley's status is challenged after his

mother reveals on her deathbed that his real father might have been Native Hawaiian. 

His racist grandmother works to disinherit him, and when she is found dead in an apparent human sacrifice, he is incarcerated as suspect

No. 1. But when four more murders of wealthy Caucasian landowners occur, he is released. The murders, which Kingsley is

determined to solve, fuel further social discord in a community already strained by racial tensions following the overthrow of the Hawaiian

Kingdom and the end of World War I....Half-Hawaiian and a retired judge, Fernandez weaves ample doses of local history, culture and

social issues into the story...But overall, "Cult of Ku" is rich in setting and characters and provides a revealing portrait of race relations

and the stigma of being a half-caste Hawaiian among Hawaii's upper crust during the early 20th century.

            Honolulu Star-Advertiser Newspaper Review (Emphasis added.)


Kirkus Reviews

"Fernandez...incorporates Hawaiian history, folklore, and labor struggles into a 1920-set mystery packed with violence and murder...

The depth of the author's historical knowledge is evident throughtout this novel, and he offers many fascinating insights into the era...

An edifying novel that explores cultural conflicts in Hawaii between the world wars."

               Kirkus Reviews, February, 2016 (Emphasis added.)


Stanford Alumni Review:

"Bill Fernandez, '53, JD '55...Hawaiian native history and the long-lasting effects of imperialism simmer beneath the surface in this Pacific murder mystery, with war hero Grant Kingsley racing to identify who's behind the ritualistic killilngs and the Cult of Ku."

              Stanford Alumni Reviews: "Shelf Life", online version. Sept-Oct 2016 (Emphasis added).

                                                            --------------------------------------------- has several reviews.

"Wow. So many turns and twists. Kept me guessing until the end." 

"Bill Fernandez brilliantly weaves the very real ruthless labor tactics of Hawaii's sugar cane growers...and encouraging ethnic disharmony." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crime  &  Punishment  in  Hawai'i

"Bill Fernandez's weaving together of adventure and Hawaiian history is nothing short of brilliant. Highly recommended. 

This is a terrific novel!"   Bill Bernhardt, author of the Ben Kincaid series. (Emphasis added).

  Kirkus  Reviews

"An attorney finds trouble in paradise in this crime novel set in 1930s diving with his friend [who] is killed...Kingsley

is left wih an enemy who vows to harm his family...the local news is abuzz with...a different case...The wife of an officer in the U.S.

Navy claims she was raped by local men...the Massie Affair...trials would bring attention to racial unrest on the islands...combines the

factual and the fictional and seasons them with healthy doses of gunfire and Hawaiian history. While Kingsley and his family are

invented, the Massie Affair is a real event...vivid picture of discord in what the uninformed might assume was a tropical wonderland

before the attack on Pearl Harbor...this book delivers plenty of enticing history."  (Emphasis added.)   


John Tana, an  Adventure  Novel  of  Old  Hawai'i

Kirkus  Reviews:

"Set in 19th-century Hawaii, a historical novel stars a handsome young hero. The story begins...when 17-year-old John Tana, an orphan,

is thrown off his land by the evil sugar baron Robert Grant. John finds himself on the run, not only from Grant's henchmen, but also

from the vengeful Capt. Julius Shaw and the murderous whaling crew...friends and relatives abound, including his beautiful cousin Leinani..

He escapes to Maui with Shaw in hot but futile pursuit...eventually flee to Honolulu (Oahu). Along the way, readers meet many, many others...

a social backdrop that has the Caucasians (Americans) at the top of the heap, then the native Hawaiians, then the Chinese...The story

chronicles a hatefully racist time and place in which the Chinese, especially, live in fear of the next mob to bubble up. And don't

forget missionary Christianity versus the native religion. John is adept at the ancient Hawaiian martial art of lua, which stands him

in good stead as combat has become a crucial part of his daily survival. Fernandez...a native Hawaiian, is an authentic voice for John

and the Pacific archipelago's turbulent history. Plot twists come thick and fast, and there is always the seductive undercurrent of

John's love for Leinani, a romance that at times seems doomed. The author expertly moves the plot along...and the vivid and

intriguing details of Hawaiian daily life in the 19th century ring true...the striking ending is not tidy, a plus...For the setting and

era alone, the ripping adventure yarn offers sufficient rewards."   (Emphasis added.)


Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai, a John Tana novel

Kirkus Reviews

"The handsome resourceful Hawaiian John Tana is back...set in 19th c. Hawaii. John has fled the corruption and dangers of

He's lost his great love, Leinani, but...marries a good woman...the evil, powerful sugar baron Robert Grant is still his sworn enemy, and Hawaii

is at a political tipping point...the end of the Kingdom of Hawaii...complicated by...racial tensions...John has converted to Christianity, but...

others still follow the old religion, gods, and superstitions...a festering wound....As a Hawaiian, he wants the respect that he feels he deserves.

..he gets it and begins to prosper...bits of derring-do are well-done...[The author] introduces the reader to Hawaiian history and by Judith Fernandez that lend an effectively primitive charm to the story and bring to mind Antoine de Saint-

Exupery's sketches for The Little Prince."


Hawaiian  Rebellions,  a John Tana novel

Kirkus Reviews:

"...historical fiction series starring a 19th-century Hawaiian freedom fighter...old loves endure, and familiar hatreds flare."

" installment of trilogy...wife...terrified by threats of old native religion...danger is real...kidnapped...severely

traumatized...mother and son escape to a beautiful valley...that the lepers have made their safety in this Eden...

the author keeps the plot moving briskly and believably...John is a well-rounded character...action scenes are Fernandez's

forte...broken revolutions are well-handled...tension between John's Christianity and the native religion...trapped between the world...and the realm...he was born into and that will always be pulling at him...The whole trilogy is worth a read."

(Emphasis added.)

Reader Reviews:

"You made me interested in reading fiction again! I couldn't put the book down."  Joe

"Your book was wonderful, Bill. The pace was so fast I couldn't put it down. I've thought about John Tana's life so muchsince I read it.

You really made it all come to life for your reader. Everyone on Hawaii should read it...I've recommended the whole series to several

people. Keep going, Bill. You're truly good at it."     Donna


Terrorism in Paradise, a Grant Kingsley novel

Kirkus Review:

"A historical novel focuses on murder and turmoil in the 1920s Hawaii. Grant Kingsley...son of a sugar plantation owner...labor relations in the sugar industry are not exactly amicable...A recent strike ended with deadly force...the unthinkable happens: An explosion...Who would perpetrate such an act?

"Japanese dynamiters are the culprits"...Grant feels otherwise...decides to investigate...Many different ethnic groups...have a reason to be upset...

The book's excitement stems...from the many facets of Hawaii's past that play...into the bigger story. 

Many readers may not know much about the uneasy meltingpot that was Hawaii at the time...much to learn...the historical tidbits are weaved into the tale in entertaining ways...complex story of Miguel. How exactly does one become a devout, murderous communist in early-20th century Philippines?...this terrorism tale expertly draws on portions of Hawaii's history."  (Emphasis added.)

 SPLINTERED PADDLE, a novel of Kamehameha the Great


"A historical novel...stars a fierce yet tenderhearted young warrior determined to bring security to his family...1790...sent by his attend

...military training academy...daunting challenges...makes one fast friend...and one very dangerous enemy...entangled in a risky romantic

liason that will cost him tale, Bill Fernandez...has done his research...narrative is rich in small details of island life before

the impact of Western civilization...endless intrigue...action-packed adventure a wealth of rich historical and cultural minutiae,

and an engaging protagonist." (Emphasis added.) 2019

Reader Reviews:

"...superb would be an understatement...deep knowledge of the history, context, cultural tapestry and chivalry...captured the soul of...

characters and woven them into a thematic whole that is truly truly moved me...the text and subtext are truly inspiring

...Your books are an indelible legacy to your very existence."    D. Bal, Kaua'i


REVIEW OF THE FIRST TEN BOOKS BY AUTHOR BILL FERNANDEZ, January, 2020: (the reader bought all and read all in short period)

"With your writing, I can picture everything in my mind. Thank you for each of them."  "I was so touched by the earliest books,

since they sounded like the life my older brothers the ethnically mixed neighborhood of Kaimuki...I loved the John Tana

and the Grant Kingsley books. It was amazing to follow and learn about these characters as you walked them through history...

The Grant Kingsley books were great in telling of the life around and of the plantations. It is sad however that this is the first

I learned or read about the very difficult lives of the immigrant workers."

Linda, born and raised Kaimuki


Conquest, a Kamehameha novel

Kirkus Reviews"This novel presents the trials and derring-do of a warrior set against the backgrop of the most

tumultuous time in the history of  Hawaii, the end of the 18th century.

Readers meet Kalani Tana when marauders steal into his compound in the early hours, set fire to buildings, and slaughter those

who try to escape..Kalani's pregnant wife, Nani, burns to death. Who was behind this? Kalani vows enlisted to

spy for Kamehameha...Capt. George Vancouver, who is trying to broker a peace...Kalani, who is bilingual, becomes very

important in the negotiations...Rival kings plot against Kamehameha...Kalani is still trying to get to the bottom of his

wife's murder...brutal warfare...This is literally a bloody book that is also historically true, offering rich details...Kalani

like a superhero...engrossing story, Kalani is an appealing figure...against human sacrifice...supports the decent treatment of

the powerless...

Afficionados of Hawaiian history and those who lust for battle will enjoy this hero's tale." (Emphasis added.)



Kirkus Reviews:

"Fernandez's novel of Hawaii deals with the struggle to find a humane belief system.

We open with a kind of origin story,. Centuries ago, life on what would become Hawaii was truly Edenic...Then came Paoa, a High priest from Tahiti who declared that the Tahitian gods, most notably Ku, the war god, would be in charge...human sacrifice. Fast-forward to the early 19th century. Kalani Tana is a chief.

Spiritual seeking is in the air: There has to be something better than this insane cruelty...Confucianism? Christianity?

Fernandez tells a good story and Kalani is an admirble hero, complex and thoughtful...

Fernandez is a Hawaiian Native who came home after his retirement from being a judge in California...

An excellent, well-told primer on Hawaiian history."

((Emphasis added.)