The Magic of Hawaii and Polynesia
Hawaii has been my part-time residence since 2008. When exploring the mystery and beauty of the islands I found special places which inspired events in The Kingdom of Oceana series.
The Singing Forest
Ailani and Nahoa’s hike through the Singing Forest at the beginning of the Book 1 was inspired by the Pipiwai Trail through Haleakula National Park, Maui. When I come here I like to find a remote spot and listen as the dense thicket of towering bamboo sways in the early morning breeze. As the hollow trees rub against each other they perform a haunting symphony that sounds like a thousand bass-toned flutes playing slightly out of key.
Waimoku Falls is the payoff at the end of the hike (often through a steady rain) through the bamboo forest along the Pipiwai Trail. As I stood at the bottom of this spectacular 400 foot (120 meter) waterfall I had a writer’s “what if” moment. It was a vision of Prince Ailani tumbling from the summit, pushed by his brother, Nahoa. I pictured Ailani in my mind’s eye falling in slow motion, wondering if he would live or die. This vision became the opening sequence of Book 1.
The Lua Pao (Burial Cave)
The Lua Pao, or burial cave, was inspired by the grotto behind the waterfall at Twin Falls in the Ho’olawa valley, Maui. Twin Falls is one of my favorite swimming holes. I like to come here and swim beneath the waterfall and then sit in the grotto and watch the sunlight stream through the cascading water.
Hawaii and Maui are the only two tropical islands on the planet that get frequent snow. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, is the site of The Kingdom of Oceana’s most sacred temple, where magic pearls are safeguarded and kahunas hone their supernatural powers without the meddling of the royal family. The mountain pass known as Saddle Road which traverses between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa is legendary for paranormal activity including haunting by the unihipili, (Night Marchers) the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors.
The Royal Fishponds
The ruins of ancient fishponds can be found on most of the Hawaiian Islands. My favorites are scattered along the southern shore of Molokai. Visiting Molokai is like going 100 years back in time. The island is very rustic with no big hotels, fancy restaurants, or developed tourism. A few years ago, the locals voted against a major hotel and golf course development to maintain their traditional way of life. When I sat on this lava rock wall I thought of Puhi, the young sorcerer in training, conjuring an entanglement of yellow belly sea snakes from the deep.
Teahupo’o, named for a village on the southwest coast of Tahiti, is considered one of the greatest and most dangerous surfing breaks in the world. I was awestruck as I watched videos of legendary surfers Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater being towed into the wave by a jet ski and then race down the massive face. Their performances inspired me to have dolphins tow Ailani, Nahoa and Momi into the giant waves.