Each month Kona Stories hosts an event with local and traveling authors. This event happens the First Tuesday evening of the month starting at 6 PM. Authors are available to talk story while you are getting your plate of appetizers and glass of complimentary wine. Authors then give a 15-minute talk about their book and themselves, the writing and publishing process or a short reading from the book. After all the authors presentations there is a time for individual questions and book signings.
Local author Donna Marie Barr’s new book, My View from the House by the Sea will take you to the Samoan Islands without leaving home. As Barr describes in the book’s subtitle, her memoir tells the story of A Life Transformed by Samoa and the Peace Corps.
Barr was fifty-seven and retired when she joined the Peace Corps in 2007 and left Hawai‘i for ‘Upolu Island. After immersion training, she lived in the seaside village of Poutasi across the sandy road from her host family’s small beach house (fale ‘i tai), where she wrote reflective and vividly descriptive journal entries. Along with her tales of life in Samoa – harrowing bus rides, challenging projects, rewarding relationships and the joys of living by the sea – the author will share how the experience changed her and continues to be a vital part of her life today.
Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, award-winning Samoan journalist, praises the book, saying: “This insight into rural Samoa through a Peace Corps volunteer provides a unique perspective on culture, family dynamics, and life in a village. I applaud Barr’s depiction of our people and the depth of her understanding of the FaʻaSāmoa.” And local writer, Tom Peek, author of the award-winning novel, Daughters of Fire, writes: “This intimate memoir is a great read filled with beautiful writing, fascinating cross-cultural insights, and wry humor.”
Kim Dawson Hodson is an occupational therapist, mother of six, grandmother of four, widow, author, farmer, and animal lover. She has lived on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi for 32 years and has a little farm with miniature goats, chickens, dogs, cats, a rabbit, guinea pigs, ducks, two rescue pot-bellied pigs, and one rescue sheep. She is also back in school, getting her certification as an animal-assisted therapist. She has been on a long journey for the past seven years. This journey has been one of painful loss, almost insurmountable grief, coupled with healing and new self-discovery. The healing began when she started to listen to subtle "promptings" or "gut-feelings." As she began to listen to these, she had a deep realization that they are truly a gift providing her with hope. She has had many adventures, large and small, ranging from life and death to saving an animal who is in trouble to witnessing the amazing birth of an animal on her farm. It’s as if those "promptings" are bread crumbs to guide her through this thing called life. As she continued on this journey, she knew that she needed to share her true-life miracle stories, so she began to write them down. As she started to write them, she began to learn even more about how to really "look" and "listen" to the "promptings" or "gut-feelings." These signs are all around us. She has written this book to bring a message of hope to everyone who reads it, and maybe, just maybe, they can learn to hear "promptings" too. Kim's book is called From the Soul of my Rubber Boots and you can watch Kim's Book Intro here.
In March 2020, like the rest of the nation, Hawai‘i unknowingly stood on the edge of a precipice. The COVID-19 virus had just begun appearing in the US, and as of yet no one knew that the virus would rage through the country and the rest of the world, shutting down the economy and creating an unimaginable health disaster. As a clinical infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Jonathan Dworkin had a more of a clue than most. He started meticulously tracking the virus and emerged as an early voice offering straight-forward information and analysis to the people of Hawai‘i during the crisis. In Plague Doctors: How Hawai‘i Battled the Pandemic—a new release from Watermark Publishing hitting bookstores in December—Dworkin’s front-row seat and hands-on involvement provide invaluable insight into how the state handled—or mishandled—the first eighteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authors Kirk Caldwell and Georgette Takushi Deemer believed that “it would be unfortunate for us as a community not to record what happened in Hawai‘i as COVID-19 reached our shores. It is important to write our history—to tell our stories, particularly when they revolve around significant and extraordinary times in our state, our country, and the world. We wanted to preserve a record of what happened and why.” In Our Beaches Were Empty, Our Hospitals Full: Leadership Stories from Hawai‘i’s Unique Pandemic Response, Caldwell and Deemer document a remarkable collaboration by top leaders in government, business, education and healthcare—told in their own words. The book’s co-authors, who conducted these interviews throughout 2021, were themselves active participants in this collaboration—Caldwell as mayor of the City and County of Honolulu and Deemer as his deputy managing director. “Never before in Hawai‘i,” Caldwell and Deemer write, “had there been such an open and honest discussion among competing institutions in such a collaborative style. This represents the core values of who we are as a community—at our very best, a people who practice aloha and embrace our kuleana, our responsibility, even in the worst of times.”
June 2023 Author Talk
June 2023 Author Talk