On Writing and Life in Hawaii
It took me more than two years to write a book that told the whole story. Alan pushed me to write about my family and especially my Hawaiian mother’s experience on the Islands and mainland. Not many Americans really know the story of Hawaii and what happened to the indigenous people who lived there before the Europeans and Asians came to its shores. Most Americans think of Hawaii as a beautiful vacation spot with fields of pineapples and happy smiling natives. Sure, it’s one of the fifty United States now, but so different. They have that part right but as for the happy natives – well that’s a whole other story and my book tells the truth about that situation from the point of view of my mother and her mother and all of my many uncles and aunts and cousins.
I started visiting Hawaii and all of my relatives there when I was just a little kid. So although we lived mostly in southern California, being of Hawaiian origins was the most important thing about me: the way I looked, how my neighbors and friends felt about my family, the expectations my teachers had and what role was expected for me when I grew up.
But I changed all that.