I'm making steady and happy progress on my next novel, The Spirit of the Voyage. It's an adventure novel for young adults and concerns two boys who escape the Japanese invasion of Guam in a small sailboat at the outset of WWII. The spirits of the ancestors, the taotaomoana, are with them as they struggle to survive and as they seek to learn the secrets of traditional navigation. Here's an excerpt:
The boy was deep in the jungle when he heard the planes and then the distant thunder of bombs. The earth shuddered beneath his feet and the quiet, moist air seemed to bend, and stretch, and then split open with the power of the concussions. For the first time in his life he felt the sharp, searing pain of fear tear through his heart. The war is here, he thought, no matter what his uncle had said; it had started. It had been everywhere else in the world and now it had found them even on this tiny island in the middle of the great blue ocean.
He did not run. He had been told that he must come home if anything happened, come home immediately. His uncle was a gloomy, solemn, religious man who worked at the trans-Pacific cable station where all the important communications came into the island from around the world. Despite what many others thought, he insisted the war would never come to the island, that the Japanese would never dare attack the United States—and the island of Guam was American territory. The boy, whose name was Joseph, had not believed him because his uncle had built a crude air raid shelter inside their small house. It was a tiny room inside another tiny room and it had thick walls and was filled with food and jugs of water. It was a stifling hot place and Joseph hated to go in it when his uncle held air raid drills.
So now instead of going home, he moved deeper into the forest. He could not see the sky through the thick, intertwining branches above him. The shadows cast by the trees protected him and the long, winding branches embraced him. Could the pilots see him? Of course not; he was, he knew, safer here than out in the open running through the village streets or even in his uncle’s air raid shelter.