I’m excited to announce that I have finished the first draft of my newest novel, Aloha Spirit! It begins in Honolulu in 1922 and follows the main character to California through 1960. Inspired by the life of my husband’s grandmother, Carmen Dolores Medeiros, the novel shows how one woman overcomes difficulties to find her own aloha spirit.
The story is told in three parts. In the first part, a young girl is left with a Hawai’ian family. Her mother is dead, and her father and brother are going to California to find work. She doesn’t encounter much loving attention in her large new family, but she learns the value of hard work and makes a good friend. Her friend is also Catholic, so our young girl develops a strong foundation of Catholic faith and Hawai’ian superstition. When the friend marries, our girl arranges to leave with her and improve her life.
Part two begins with her marriage at age sixteen. Her three daughters delight her, but her husband becomes abusive. Only her husband’s nephew, who is her age, can protect her. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, her life changes. Fearing for her life and that of her daughters, she flees with them to California.
Part three follows her reunion and estrangement from her brother, and her reunion with her husband when he joins them. His nephew follows, too, and they fall in love. She is torn between the strictures of her faith that prevent divorce and the tenets of aloha that call for embracing others with no thought of obligation.
This is my fifth novel, and I am familiar with the empty feeling of being done. The story rushes through my brain and out my hands like a torrential flood. When it’s finished, I feel drained. Next I will take a few days to let the story settle before beginning rounds and rounds of revision. The first part has been revised a couple of times already, and the second part once. The last part is pretty rough, so it will be awhile yet before it’s ready to publish. I will keep you posted, and I hope you’ll read it when it’s done!