Hi! I’m Stephen Shender, author of Once There Was Fire, A Novel of Old Hawaii.

Once There Was Fire is my first book. I started writing it on Nov. 16, 2004 and published it 12 years, 20 days later, on Dec. 6, 2016 . By the time I began writing my novel, I had already worked for some 30 years as a writing professional, beginning in 1971 as a congressional press aide in Washington, D.C. In 1973, I relocated with my family to California, where I worked for newspapers for the next 19 years. During those years, I wrote for and edited a weekly paper in Monterey County and was a staff writer for two small daily papers in  Santa Cruz County. in 1993, I left journalism and (briefly) California, returning to Washington to write speeches for then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. I moved back to California in 1995 to take a corporate communications job at a Southern California utility company. In 1999, I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I wrote audit proposals for a large public accounting firm in San Francisco, and then press releases and trade publication articles for a telecom equipment maker in Palo Alto.

Throughout my checkered career writing for others, I always wanted to write a novel. For those who may be asking, “What took you so long?” I can only reply: better late than never.

I encourage you to sample Once There Was Fire here and decide whether it was worth the wait.